Many African countries are caught up in perennial or recurrent political conflicts that often culminate in devastating wars. These flaring conflicts and wars create harrowing economic hardships, dire refugee problems, and sustain a sense of despair in such countries.
By their nature, these conflicts and wars affect writers in profound and sometimes paradoxical ways. On the one hand, literature - whether fiction, poetry, drama, or even memoirs - is animated by conflict. On the other hand, the sense of dislocation as well as the humanitarian crises unleashed by wars and other kinds of conflicts also constitute grave impediments to artistic exploration and literary expression.
Writers and artists are frequently in the frontline of resistance to the kinds of injustices and abuses that precipitate wars and conflicts. Consequently, they are often detained, exiled, and even killed either by agents of state terror or by one faction or another in the tussle for state control.
The book is divided into two broad categories: in one, several writers speak directly, and with rich anecdotal details about the impact wars and conflicts have had in the formation of their experience and work; in the second, a number of scholars articulate how particular writers have assimilated the horrors of wars and conflicts in their literary creations.
The result is an invaluable harvest of reflections and perspectives that open the window into an essential, but until now sadly unexplored, facet of the cultural and political experience of African writers.
The broad scope of this collection - covering Darfur, the Congolese crisis, Biafra, Zimbabwe, South Africa, among others - is complemented by a certain buoyancy of spirit that runs through most of the essays and anecdotes.
The book can be bought here .