Kwani? Out & About
Call For Papers ‘Interrogating the African Literary Renaissance’

Kwani? Out & About

Call For Papers ‘Interrogating the African Literary Renaissance’

Deadline: 9th June 2017

Conference: 5th July 2017

Kwani?’s Managing editor and writer Billy Kahora will present a keynote address at the Université Paris, Campus de Villetaneuse on July 5th 2017 on the idea of a ‘Literary Reinaissance’ in African Writing. As messy and artificial any attempt at literary periodisation may seem one cannot deny that the turn of the 21st century witnessed a boom in African writing in English, with writers gaining visibility on the international literary scene. Parallel to this literary journals (such as Kwani?, Saraba, or Chimurenga), publishing houses (Cassava Republic, Kachifo, Kwani Trust or Storymoja) or writers’ organisations flourished and seemed to point to newfound creativity.

The aim of the workshop is to question the notion of ‘literary renaissance’ applied to contemporary literature from Africa. The following questions could be raised: are the concepts of change and novelty enough to account for the great variety of works produced since the beginning of the 21st century, without falling into the trap of a monolithic vision? Is it possible to highlight new forms, new genres and thematic directions? If so, within those changes, can ‘simultaneities of the residual and the emergent’ be identified and their relationship analysed? Moreover, focusing on emerging literary institutions (publishing houses, journals, prizes) and networks on the continent in a context of increased global cultural flows, what can be said of the evolution of the ‘space of possibilities’ for writers?

Papers are invited exploring the following (the list is neither comprehensive nor exclusive):

Emerging themes (sexuality, gender, radicalisation, terrorism) or themes that are re-invested withmeaning or re-inscribed within specific contexts (the city, migration, history / memory writing);

Stylistic and formal experimentation (postmodernism, forms linked to new technologies: SMS, blogs, etc.);

‘Minor’ and emerging genres (Afro-futurism, science-fiction, fantasy, crime fiction, romance, etc.);

Evolutions in contemporary literary practices: emerging literary institutions and networks, new forms of literary sociability; literary prizes, legitimation and canonisation; production, circulation and reception of literary works, etc.


Please send your abstract (400 words maximum) and a short biography to,,, by June 9th, 2017.


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