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CALL FOR PAPERS (article first published : 2006-01-15)

The Centre for African Literary Studies, in conjunction with the 9th annual Time of the Writer international writers festival in Durban, is hosting a conference on The Changing Face of African Literature from March 21 to 23, in Pietermaritzburg.

“African literature does not look as it did when it was first established as a field of academic study in the 1960s,” say the organisers. “Africa itself has changed enormously since the first generation of writers appeared just before and after independence, and the needs and concerns of its writers have changed greatly as a consequence. Africans have undergone terrible ordeals and have developed resourceful strategies to deal with them.

“A younger generation, the literary grandchildren of Senghor, Achebe, and Soyinka, have moved onto the stage with very different concerns than their predecessors, yet too often academics talk as if the die had been cast by the first generation of postcolonial writers. There are more women writing than ever before, but they are still outnumbered. There is more writing in African languages but the danger of being swamped by English and French is also greater than ever before. Colonization has receded into the past, yet globalization and neo-colonialism pose challenges of their own at least as great. All the old certainties of nation-state and Pan-Africanism have been challenged; all are still with us. Whereas the first generation of writers and academics had to prove Africa was capable of high literature, there is now more freedom to explore popular culture. There is an African film industry. And there are new challenges that literature is only tentatively beginning to explore: such as AIDS, child soldiers, the triumph of global capitalism, the destruction of the natural environment, and the rise of religion as a political force.

“We invite papers (of about 20 minutes in length) dealing with aspects of what is new in African literature since 1990 or discerning the lineaments of African literature today. We are interested in literature from all of the continent south of the Sahara, written in English, French, and Portuguese as well as in languages that originated in Africa.”

Papers may deal with single texts, single authors, or with larger themes explored across several texts. Papers are invited about pedagogy as well as literary criticism. Paper Proposals should indicate a Title, Name and Affiliation of proposer, Contact Address (including e-mail and fax), and should be accompanied by a short (one paragraph) abstract.

The deadline for proposals for papers is January 20, 2006.

Proposals should be submitted to Bernard DeMeyer or Neil ten Kortenaar Centre for African Literary Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg, Scottsville 3209, or by e-mail to demeyerb@ukzn.ac.za or to TenKortenaar@ukzn.ac.za

The Time of the Writer festival runs from March 20 to 25. For more information visit www.cca.ukzn.ac.za




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