Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 5,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

Writing Zong!

SHARE THIS

This is Marlene Nourbese writing towards the end of Zong!, in an epigraph of sorts:

To not tell the story that must be told, I employed a variety of techniques:

—I white out and black out words (is there a difference?).

—I mutilate the text as the fabric of African life and the lives of these men, women, and children were mutilated.

—I murder the text, literally cut it into pieces, castrating verbs, suffocating adjectives, murdering nouns, throwing articles, prepositions, conjunctions overboard, jettisoning adverbs: I separate subjects from verbs, verbs from objects–creating semantic mayhem until my hands bloodied from so much killing and cutting, reach into the stinking, eviscerated innards, and like some seer, sangoma or prophet who, having sacrificed an animal for signs and portents of a new life, or simply life, reads the untold story that tells itself by not telling. 193-194

No one has to tell you that whatever work of art comes out of such a project would be both strange and wondrous. To find out what the finished product looks like? Click here.

To learn more about the Zong story, click here.

 

Tags: , , , ,

Ainehi Edoro is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches African literature. She received her doctorate at Duke University. She is the founder and editor of Brittle Paper and series editor of Ohio University Press’s Modern African Writer’s imprint.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

Laila Lalami’s Forthcoming Memoir Conditional Citizens Recounts Her Journey from Moroccan Immigrant to U.S. Citizen

EORh13JU8AEElAk

Moroccan-American author Laila Lalami has a new book forthcoming on April 28, 2020 from Pantheon Books. Titled Conditional Citizens, the […]

Neighbors (A Quarantine-Themed Fiction) | E. C. Osondu

christian-stahl-8S96OpxSlvg-unsplash

My neighbor Vinny Capriani is a great neighbor. I’m happy to have him as one. I live in a state […]

Tope Folarin and Nnamdi Ehirim Longlisted for the 2020 VCU Cabell First Novel Award

Untitled design - 2020-03-25T235109.687

Tope Folarin and Nnamdi Ehirim are both on the longlist of the 2020 VCU Cabell First Novel Award. The annual […]

Credo Mutwa, Celebrated South African Healer and Author, Dies at 98

Untitled design (2)

Credo Mutwa, celebrated South African traditional healer and author of several books, died following a period of ill health on […]

What We Are Reading This Week | A Feminist Guide to Living and Thinking Sensuously

Untitled design - 2020-03-25T095936.723

In the final week of women’s history month, we are celebrating a writer whose work has inspired us for years. […]

Midas & The Prodigal Daughter | Isabelle Baafi | Two Poems

keila-hotzel-R8tIWN5616g-unsplash (1)

Midas the legend was not always true there was a time when empires were built on dreams and prophesies and […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.