University of Michigan’s African Literature Today calls for submissions in form of papers, articles and interviews that engage with African speculative fiction and science fiction for a special issue. Guest-editors are Chimalum Nwankwo and Louisa Uchum Egbunike.
According to the press release;
“In ancient Greece, The hierophants of Apollo drank from the sacred spring of Colophon for the efficacy of their rituals. The water, supposedly came from the tears of the goddess who wept for Thebes. Vitruvius was a mystic, so was Pythagoras. There were no Universities where theories were spawned or spun for the clarities of science or the ontologies or epistemologies which drove what historians regard as the glory of Rome or Greece. It was a world of speculation and rational or empirical projection. The medieval darkness of the West relied extensively on lights from what one may call advanced speculations and inchoate rational projections, on proto-sciences like alchemy and Metempsychosis. Eighteenth-century enlightenment epistemology powered the familiar advances which are generally taken for granted today. It is necessary to keep all that trajectory in sight or in mind while laboring to understand the African mind and its deeper foundational drivers. A lot of those drivers are quite visible in the complex architectures of a lot of modern African literatures.
How can one read and fully appreciate Chinua Achebe without the Igbo pragmatism which defines the imaginative kinship with novels in Igbo language such as Pita Nwana’s Omenuko (1933) and Leopold Bell-Gam’s Ije Odumodu Jere (1963)? And how can one fully appreciate Wole Soyinka’s complex and intriguing Yoruba Ogun-ism without affirming its kinship with D. O. Fagunwa’s classic novel (1938) in Yoruba language – Ogboju Ode ninu Igbo Irunmale (The Forest of a Thousand Daemons: A Hunter’s Saga)? The deep past of African world and its complex and mysterious foundations still register in burgeoning modern African Literary productions.
It would be hard to believe that literary criticism has exhausted those strands in the makings of the magical design of Okiri’s The Famished Road, Syl-Cheney Coker’s The Last Harmattan of Alusine Dunar or indeed, Achebe’s Arrow of God, Soyinka’s Madmen and Specialists and Gabriel Okara’s esoteric The Voice.
But while we look back through the gamut of history, the present generation should also engage our critical lens and attention because their works too, bubble with intense mental adventurism. Writers including Nnedi Okorafor, Namwali Serpell, Tendai Huchu, Akwaeke Emezi, and Tomi Adeyemi are but a few examples. Recent discussions around the “rise of science-fiction and fantasy” in Africa have led to a push-back in which writers and scholars have suggested that science fiction/ fantasy is not a new phenomenon in African literature. The need to recalibrate ways of reading and categorizing literature has underpinned suggestions that African classics such as Amos Tutuola’s The Palmwine Drinkard (1952), Buchi Emecheta’s The Rape of Shavi (1983) and Kojo Laing’s Woman of the Aeroplanes (1988) are read as part of the continent’s tradition in writing speculative/science fiction.
In recent years, debates have ensued about the appropriateness of the term ‘Afrofuturism’ in relation to African writing, given that it is a term which invokes a particular cultural aesthetic and tradition rooted in African speculative arts. One of the impulses for this special issue of ALT is to explore the ways in which we approach the study of speculative works, thinking through our use of language, terminology and the genealogy of these works.”
- Africans, both those on the continent and those in the diaspora.
- There is no submission fee.
How to Submit
- Submit an article/essay that deftly examines a contemporary work of African speculative/ science fiction.
- Or an article that offers a rereading of a classic.
- Or an article that shines light on the terminology and language in contemporary African speculative/ science fiction or the classics.
- Or an interview with a writer of African speculative/ science fiction.
- The article should not exceed 5000 words.
- It should be submitted as a word document to either of the two guest-editors: Chimalum Nwankwo (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Louisa Uchum Egbunike (email@example.com).
- You can also submit literary supplements (poems, short stories, novel chapters, personal essays) or feature articles. These should be sent as a word document to the Series Editor: Ernest N. Emenyonu (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- You can also submit books to be considered for review. To submit, send two copies of the book to:
The Book Reviews Editor, Obi Nwakanma, English Department, University of Central Florida, 4000 Central Florida Blvd, Orlando, FL 32816.
- Book reviews, not exceeding 2000 words, to be considered for the Reviews Section, should be sent to: Book Reviews Editor, Obi Nwakanma (Obi.email@example.com).
- The deadline for submissions is November 16, 2020.
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