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I am an African writer: NoViolet Bulawayo

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Smeeta Mahanti; Reagan Arthur Books

From The Atlantic:

In an interview with The Guardian, fellow Zimbabwean novelist Petina Gappah, often referred to as “the voice of Zimbabwe,” rejected the role. “I get irritated by the term ‘African writer,’” she said, “because it doesn’t mean anything to me. Africa is so big.” In her essay “What Makes a ‘Real African?’” Ethiopian writer Maaza Mengiste expressed a similar sentiment: “The question is problematic,” she wrote. “It assumes a static and compressed definition of Africa. But Africa is a continent of 55 recognized states, with a population of over one billion and more than 2,000 languages. There are so many possible responses.”

Bulawayo, by contrast, embraces her role as an “African writer” and, as her novel reveals, doesn’t let expectations circumscribe her. “For me, I always insist that I am an African writer because it is true,” she said. “I am an African. If I deny that label, my work will scream otherwise.”


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