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African jewels

A timely anthology of short stories reveals the strength of contemporary African fiction—and, writes Ruth Franklin, the growth of globalised, “post-national” literature

By Ruth Franklin   September 2011

The Granta Book of the African Short Story edited by Helon Habila (Granta, £25)

Africa in the 21st century, carved into an ever-shifting kaleidoscope of countries (the latest being South Sudan), is no longer the empty space that once served to represent it on European maps. But African literature, to many outside the continent, tends to be a blank page, or at least a sparsely written one. In his introduction to The Granta Book of the African Short Story, the Nigerian writer Helon Habila laments the number of times he has attended a lecture on African literature that “begins and…

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