HOW TO WRITE ABOUT AFRICA IN FIVE EASY STEPS

Just in over the wires. If you're in NYC and can make it, check this out:

The Africana Studies Program , The Department of Social and cultural Analysis and Africa House Invite You to a Celebration of and Readings from the Special February Issue of Granta Magazine on New African Writing:

HOW TO WRITE ABOUT AFRICA IN FIVE EASY STEPS
  1. ALWAYS TREAT AFRICA AS IF IT WERE ONE COUNTRY. Don’t get bogged down with the precise descriptions. Africa is big: fifty-four countries, nine hundred million people who are too busy starving and dying and warring and emigrating to read your book.
  2. USE BROAD BRUSHSTROKES THROUGHOUT. But describe in detail naked breasts or mutilated genitals, or enhanced genitals. Or any kind of genitals. And dead bodies. Or, better, naked dead bodies. And especially rotting naked dead bodies.
  3. ADOPT A SAD, I-EXPECTED-SO-MUCH TONE. Establish early on that your liberalism is impeccable, and how much you love Africa. Africa is to be pitied, worshipped or dominated. Whichever angle you take, be sure to leave the strong impression that without your intervention and your important book, Africa is doomed.
  4. TREAT ANIMALS AS WELL ROUNDED, complex characters. They speak (or grunt, while tossing their manes proudly) and have names, ambitions and desires. They also have family values: see how lions teach their children? Elephants are caring, and are good feminists or dignified patriarchs. Elephants may attack people’s property of destroy their crops, and even kill them. Always take the side of the elephant.
  5. ALWAYS INCLUDE A STARVING AFRICAN, who wanders the refugee camp nearly naked and waits for the benevolence of the West. She must never say anything about herself in the dialogue except to speak of her (unspeakable) suffering. Moans are good too.

Featuring Adekeye Adebajo, Philip Alcabes, Daniel Bergner, John Ryle & Binyavanga Wainaina

Thursday, February 23
19 University Place
7:00-9:00, followed by a Reception