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*African Studies Research Guide: Literature & Theater

Covers major background sources, databases and web sites related to African Studies

African Writers

Things Fall Apart by by Chinua Achebe, 1962, launched the Heinemann African Writer's Series

Africa Writes Back celebrates the 50th anniversary of the African Writer's Series


Fully searchable electronic version of African Writer's Series

Literature & Theater


  • See Also:

    Ref. PL8010 .E63 2003 Encyclopedia of African Literature edited by Simon Gikandi. London: Routledge, 2003 and

    Cambridge Companion to the African Novel and the Cambridge History of African and Carribean Literature and other relevant titles available through Cambridge Histories Online and Cambridge Collections Online

For a bibliography of works on African literature published in English see the series below produced by Bernth Lindfors. Lindfors focuses on scholarly commentary found in books, periodicals and elsewhere.

Ref. Z3508 .L5L56 Black African Literature in English: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale, 1979.

Ref. Z3508 .L5L56 Suppl. Black African Literature in English, 1977-1981 Supplement. New York: Africana, 1986.

Ref. Z3508 .L5L562 1989 Black African Literature in English, 1982-1986 New York: Hans Zell, 1989.

Ref. Z3508 .L5L5623 1995 Black African Literature in English, 1987-1991 New Jersey: Hans Zell, 1995.

Ref. Z3508 .L5L5624 2000 Black African Literature in English, 1992-1996 Oxford: Hans Zell, 2000.

Ref. Z3508.L5L5625 2003 Black African Literature in English, 1997-1999. Oxford: Hans Zell, 2003.

Also of interest

PR9341 .A9 2009  A-Z of African Writers: A Guide to Modern African Writing in English. Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal: Shuter, 2009.

A still useful guide to African oral naratives is

Ref. Z3508 .L5S3 Bibliography of African Oral Narratives by Harold Scheub Madison, WI: African Studies Program, Univ. of Wisconsin, 1971.

At Emory

The Postcolonial Studies website (PS) is a project in progress at the English Department at Emory University. Begun in Spring 1996, it is intended to serve primarily as a resource for students of postcolonial literature and theory at Emory University. Another important objective, however, is to provide a site on the Web where people from around the country and around the world can come for an introduction to major topics and issues in Postcolonial Studies. The information provided is not intended to be either exhaustive or authoritative, but rather to furnish a scaffolding for more intensive explorations into a field that is rapidly becoming very important. Covers a number of African writers.

Electronic Resources:


African Writers Series contains the full text of the Heinemann African Writers Series founded in 1962 to publish works by black African writers for an African readership. This series provides seminal works from the canon of African literature of the twentieth century, covering such authors as Steve Biko, Ama Ata Aidoo, and Buchi Emecheta. Texts are fully searchable and richly indexed. Author biographies are included.


Black Drama 1850-date
Provides the full text of 1200 plays by over 200 authors, including many African playwrights, many for the first time. Also has production details and biographical information on the playwrights.

Cambridge Histories Online and Cambridge Collections Online include full-text searchable versions of a number of Cambridge University Press publications related to African literature including the Cambridge Companion to the African Novel and the Cambridge History of African and Carribean Literature.

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