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Pigeonholing books and authors

The best thing about been in a book club is the mind blowing discussions that make me question my reading capability. The hullabaloo that got even the silent ones talking was on what is African Literature. There’s this merry go around we do where we read an African book for one month then the next month we do a non-African. The confusion started when a reader suggested we do Helen Oyeyemi  but i was quick to interject she is a British writer. Then to prove me wrong one said she was born in Africa and migrated to the UK at the age of 4. Correct i said, but been born African doesn’t qualify one’s work into been African Literature.

To make it even more debatable, readers went ahead to pin point African authors who live abroad and non-African authors who write African content. Pigeonholing also cropped up where many half cast African authors have frequently been asked to classify their writing or where audience is felt outside than in Africa. An article by Taiye Selasi on the Guardian Pigeonholing  aroused me even more.

Who is an African author? Which book qualifies to be an African book? Why do you read African books? It is because of the poverty porn displayed by authors, the different themes displayed, the style that showcases real life experiences or because it made it to been the best seller in some other continent? Not only Africa, does the same happen in other continents?

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