The new edition of African Literature Today (ALT) focuses on the contentious topic of writing African literature in African languages. This 41st special edition is titled African Literature in African Languages and set to publish on December 19 by James Currey, an imprint of Boydell & Brewer.

Considered the oldest international journal of African literature still being published, ALT was founded in 1968 by Professor Eldred Durosimi Jones. The annual volumes were edited by Eldred and Marjorie Jones, and Professor Eustace Palmer. In 2003, Professor Ernest N. Emenyonu took over as editor and continues in this role. All volumes are now available in print.

This special edition of ALT is edited by Professor Emenyonu, Professor Emeritus of Africana Studies at the University of Michigan-Flint, and guest edited by Nduka Otiono and Chiji Akoma. The book examines African literature in African languages today, and the continuing interfaces between works in Indigenous languages and those written in European languages or languages of colonizers.

Read the full synopsis below:

Sixty years after the Conference of African Writers of English Expression at Makerere University, the dominance in the global canon of African literatures written in European languages over those in indigenous languages continues to be an issue. This volume of ALT re-examines this central question of African literatures to ask, ‘What is the state of African literatures in African languages today?’ Contributors discuss the translation of Gurnah’s novel Paradise to Swahili, and Osemwegie’s Ọrọ Epic to English, and Wolof wrestlers’ panegyrics. They analyse Edo eco-critical poetry, and the poetics of Igbo mask poetry, and morality in early prose fiction in indigenous Nigerian languages. Other essays contribute a semiotic analysis of Duruaku’s A Matter of Identity, and the decolonization of trauma in Uwem Akpan’s Say You’re One of Them. Overall, the volume paints a complex image of African cultural production in indigenous languages, especially in the ways Africa’s oral performance traditions remain resilient in the face of a seemingly undiminished presence of non-African language literary traditions.

The volume is a comprehensive account of this long-discussed topic and we are especially interested in the literary supplement section of the book, featuring poetry by Amaka Blossom Chime and Blessing Ezinne Okah.

Guest editor Nduka Otiono announced the news of the publication on his social media, and was excited by this rich collaboration:

It has been a labour of love working with the series editor Professor Ernest Emenyonu and the production team to put this rich special issue together. The beautiful cover motif spotlights the eco-poetic overtone of the collection.

Otiono is an Associate Professor and Graduate Program Coordinator at the Institute of African Studies, Carleton University. Akoma is an Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Global Interdisciplinary Studies, Villanova University. They have both co-edited Oral Literary Performance in Africa: Beyond Text (2021).

Read the Table of Contents of African Literature in African Languages below and hit the preorder link here.


African Literature in African Languages: Orality and the Burden of Modernity – Chiji Akoma & Nduka Otiono


The Swahili Mtapta: Exploring Translation in Abdulrazak Gurnah’s Paradise – Ida Hadjivayanis

Pictures of Materialism in the Benin Ecological Worldview: Eco-Critical Poems of Osemwengie Ero – Kola Eke & Edafe Mukoro

The Panegyric of the Champion: How Wolof Wrestlers Borrowed from Female Oral Genres to Win in and Outside the Arena – Marame Gueye

Ikponmwosa Osemwegie’s Ọrọ Epic and Translation: The Past and Prospects of Edo Literature – Uyilawa Usuanlele

‘A People’s Firewood Cooks for them’: The Contextual Prosody of Igbo Mask Poetry and Mbem Poetics – Chike Okoye & Juliet Ifunanya Okeyika

Early Nigerian Prose Fiction – Sophia Obiajulu Ogwude

Literary Supplement

Five Poems – Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto

‘Monologue Written after Watching a Robin Lift from a Tree Branch’

‘I Am on a Road and My Mouth is Full of Questions’

‘What the Lord Said’

‘Uriah in the Bardo’

‘Witness as a Foot Mat’

Three Poems – Amaka Blossom Chime

‘Lockdown in Biafra’

‘The Prison Door’


Four Poems – Blessing Ezinne Okah


‘Shake It Off’


‘Ahoa, 2022’

‘Pulse on Martin Niemöller’ (Poem) – Alexander Opicho

Two Poems – Stepher O. Solanke

‘Eons Before’


‘Wild Grief’ (Poem) – Aisha Umar

‘Ties that Gag’ (Short Story) – Felicia Moh

Featured Articles

Costume as Mystico-Metaphoric Communication in Toni Duruaku’s A Matter of Identity: A Semiotic Analysis – Ukachi Wachuku

Decolonizing Trauma Studies: The Recognition-Solidarity Nexus in Uwem Akpan’s Say You’re One of Them – Chijioke Onah


Akachi dimora-Ezeigbo, Do not Burn My Bones & Other Stories – Kufre Usanga

Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo, Broken Bodies, Damaged Souls&Other Poems – Kufre Usanga

Al-Bishak, Black Papyrus: Global Origins of Writing and Written Literature Traced to Black Africa – Iniobong I. Uko

Olu Obafemi, Ajon! (The Legend Who Made a King/Dom) – Kufre Usanga

Christopher N. Okonkwo, Kindred Spirits: Chinua Achebe and Toni Morrison – Chiji Akoma

Preorder African Literature in African Languages here.