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African Literature: Reference Material

Selected Reference Resources

Ref. PL8010 .E63 2003

Cambridge companion to the African novel [electronic resource] / edited by F. Abiola Irele.Online


PR9340.5 .O96 2008 One of a number of important Columbia Guides (see list to the right).


PR8014 .W372 W66 2005 One of a series produced by the Feminist Press of CUNY.  See other titles to the right.

Selected Reference Resources

"Modern African Literature in European Languages," by Evan Mwangi. Oxford Bibliographies Online: African Studies A major resource which leads researchers to the most important publications:  bibliographes, reference works and major journals, issues such as censorship and  language choice, plus a review of African literature from early european writers through anti-colonial authors to modern writing. Identifies the most important authors, titles and relevant scholarly critiques. Will be updated annually. Mwangi teaches 20th c African Anglophone Literature at Northwestern. An excellent way to start research on African literature.

Other related entries in Oxford Bibliographies: African Studies are

Also of interest The Image of Africa which includes citations to primary sources that reflect the image of Africa in various literatures.

Other Useful Reference Guides


Another  good starting place for an overview of works dealing with African literature/theater is Reference Guide to Africa: A Bibliography of Sources by Alfred Kagan (Ref. Z3501.K15 2005). Other places to look at are African Oral Tradition, History, and Literature (Columbia), African Literature on the Internet  (Columbia) and African Literature &Writers on the Internet (Stanford)

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

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

  •  Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism This full-text searchable database is a historical survey of literary theory and criticism.  Includes entries for African Literary Theory and Criticism, Post-Colonial Studies and selected African authors.  Updated annually.

    Literary Research Guide A selective, annotated guide to essential reference sources for the study of British literature, United States literatures, and other literatures in English including African. You can search a variety of ways including author and country.

     Reference Works on African & Caribbean Literatures in European languages (with some exceptions) Listing of print sources on African literature at Stanford University. Prepared by John Rawlings. Useful but dated.


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.

PR9340 .C65 2000 The Companion to African Literatures / editors, Douglas Killam & Ruth Rowe ; consultant editor, Bernth Lindfors. Bloomington: Indiana University Press., 2000. 

Also of interest:

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

PL8010 .H38 Ref. African Authors; a Companion to Black African Writing, 1300-1973. Washington : Black Orpheus Press 1973. Covers 594 authors and their work.

PR9390.5 .R59 2008 The Columbia Guide to Central African Literature in English since 1945. New York : Columbia University Press, 2008 .

PR9340 .G55 2007 Ref. The Columbia Guide to East African Literature in English since 1945. New York : Columbia University Press, 2007.

PR9350.2 .C67 2010 The Columbia Guide to South African Literature in English since 1945. New York : Columbia University Press, 2010.

PR9340.5 .O96 2008 The Columbia Guide to West African Literature in English since 1945. New York : Columbia University Press, 2008.

PL8010.6 .T43 2009 Teaching the African Novel. New York : Modern Language Association of America 2009.

PL9345 .W66 2003 Women Writing Africa, Vol 1 Southern Region. New York: Feminist Press, 2003.

PR8014 .W372 W66 2005 Women Writing Africa, Vol. 2 West Africa and the Sahel. New York:  Feminist Press, 2005.

PL8014 .E22 W66 2007 Women Writing Africa: vol. 3 The Eastern Region. New YorK: Feminist Press, 2007.

PN849 .A3552 W66 2009 Women Writing Africa: vol. 4 The Northern Region. New York:  Feminist Press, 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.

TIP:  Also check under" Major Indexes: Literature" in Articles Tab.  Many of the databases listed cover reference sources as well as journals.


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