In a new documentary for the BBC, Nigerian-British historian and filmmaker David Olusoga looks into the steady rise of African literature and its continuing relevance on the world stage. Titled ‘Africa Turns the Page: The Novels That Shaped a Continent’, the 59-minute-long documentary is an overall take on African literature, with a special focus on its transitioning from mere anthropological studies to gaining mainstream readership as well as recognition.

The program documents the lives of 1950s African authors Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka and Ngugi wa Thiong’o whose writings were fundamental to the decolonization project and, later, struggles. It further highlights the talents that came after these pioneering voices, writers such as Buchi Emetcheta and Ben Okri who conceptualized the idea of the literary African diaspora.

The documentary features interviews with the best known contemporary African authors including Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Booker Prize-winning author Bernardine Evaristo and Sierra Leonean author Aminatta Forna.

The documentary can be found on BBC iPlayer.

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