African Women Writers: Part 2 of 4

To celebrate Women’s History Month, Enkare Review has been sharing profiles of phenomenal women writers on our social media pages herehere and here. We are going to share these profiles on our website as well. This is the second part of a four-part series.

Tsitsi Dangarembga (b. 1959) is a Zimbabwean writer and filmmaker. Dangarembga studied medicine at Cambridge University and later psychology at the University of Harare where she discovered her passion for theatre. Some of her published works include the short story The Letter (1985), the play She No Longer Weeps (1987), the novel, Nervous Conditions (1988), its sequel The Book of Not (2006), and The Mournable Body (due for release in 2018). Dangarembga studied film direction at the Deutsche Film und Fernseh Akademie in Berlin, where she was involved in the production of various narrative and documentary films.  In 2002, Tsitsi also started the International Images Film Festival encourage the sharing of multicultural stories from all over the world through a female lens.

Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor (b 1968) is a Kenyan writer. Owuor studied English at Kenyatta University, pursued an MA in TV/ Video development at Reading University and later an MPhil in Creative writing from the University of Queensland, Australia. Owuor’s short story, Weight of Whispers, won the Caine Prize for African writing in 2003 and her book, Dust, was published in 2014. Taiye Selasi had this to say about Dust: “I wish to understand something about my country, one that murders the best of its own. What kind of nation gets terrified of a great imagination? What kind of people annihilate holders of a persistent and transcending dream?”

Nadine Gordimer (1923 – 2014) was a South African writer, political activist and recipient of the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature. Gordimer’s works include novels, short stories, and essays often addressing moral and political dilemmas of living in a racially divided country. The characters she builds in her writing present nuanced points of view, revealing more through the choices her characters make than through their claimed identities and beliefs. Some of her published works include The Lying Days (1953), Occasions of Loving (1963), July’s People (1981) and No Time Like The Present (2012).

Ahlem Mosteghanemi (b 1953) is an Algerian poet and novelist. In 1973, Ahlem became the first Algerian woman to publish a compilation of poetry in Arabic titled Ala Marfa al Ayam (To the Days’ Haven). Writing in Arabic offered her a sense of liberation as studying Arabic was banned under the French colonial regime. Ahlem transitioned from poetry to prose publishing 4 novels in Arabic between 1993 and 2012. Some of her books available in English translations include Zakirat el Jassad (Memory of Flesh), Fawda el Hawas (Chaos of the Senses) and El Aswas Yalikou Biki (Black Suits You so Well).

Andrée Blouin (1921 – 1986) was an activist and writer from the Central African Republic. Andrée was raised in an orphanage in Congo Brazzaville and later lived in Guinea where she began her revolutionary activities. In 1960, became Chief of Protocol in Patrice Lumumba’s government. Shortly before Lumumba’s assassination by Mobutu, she was expelled from Congo and moved Europe. She eventually settled in Paris where she became active in protesting against French policy in Africa. Her autobiography My Country, Africa: Autobiography of the Black Pasionaria was published in English in 1983.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (b.1977) is a Nigerian writer and 2008 awardee of the MacAuthor Genius Grant. Adichie is famed for her novels Purple Hibiscus (2003), Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), Americanah (2013); the short story collection The Thing Around Your Neck (2009) and Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions. (2017). Her 2009 TED talk, “The Danger of a Single Story” that addresses the oversimplification and dangers of stereotypes, has been viewed over three millions times. Some of her online writing can be found at https://www.chimamanda.com/read-online/.


Namwali Serpell (b 1980) is a Zambian writer and associate professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley. She won the 2015 Caine Prize for her story, “The Sack,” which first appeared in Africa 39, a project of the Hay Festival. Other short stories by Serpell include Muzungu(2010), Double Men(2016) and Account (2017) published in Enkare Review. Her first novel, The Old Drift, is forthcoming with Hogarth Press (Penguin Random House) in 2018.
About the Writer:

Rosie Olang’ smiles with her eyebrows, is eternally grateful for caffeine and believes that in a parallel universe she is an elephant. She’s constantly thinking about the intersections of visual arts, poetry and literature.

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