Friday, 28 January 2011

The other English: Some African reflections

The other English: Some African reflections

Mon 28 Feb 2011, 18.30 - 20.00
Conference Centre, British Library, London

Price: £6 / £4 concessions. Tickets available at, by calling 01937 546546 (9am-5pm Mon-Fri) or in person at The British Library.

The story of the coming of English to Africa is surrounded by two dominant mythologies. For some of its harshest critics, English was the language of imperial power, violently and willfully imposed on the colonised. For its strongest advocates however, English was the unwitting gift of the coloniser to the colonised, the instrument of the Africans entry into modern life. This lecture by Simon Gikandi will explore these mythologies and try to establish how English entered the lives of the colonised and the work it was asked to perform in the areas of translation, conversion, and African self-making.

Simon Gikandi is Professor of English at Princeton University. Among his many published works he is co-editor (with Abiola Irele) of The Cambridge History of African and Caribbean Literature; easily the most comprehensive survey of its subject, and key studies of African novelists: Chinua Achebe and Ngugi wa Thiong'o.

The event will be introduced by James Currey, perhaps the most influential of all publishers of African writing, both as head of the African Writers Series, the Caribbean Writers Series and Arab Authors at Heinemann from 1967 to 1984, and since under his own imprint.

The Other English; Some African Reflections is part of the events programme accompanying the British Library exhibition Evolving English: One Language, Many Voices (running to 3 April), a major survey of English through history and around the world, told through books, letters, manuscripts, sound and images.

For more information please see:

No comments: