The richness and variety of writing by African authors was the focus of the recent International Conference on African Literatures, hosted by the Spain’s University of Oviedo in cooperation with the cultural foundation El Pájaro Azul.
African literature has regained global interest recently, in the wake of the Tanzanian-born novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah’s winning of the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Gurnah’s victory was not the motivation for the conference, whose topic was chosen months before. Still, it was cause for celebration.
“There is a welcome among Spanish cultural circles for Gurnah’s winning the Nobel this year,” said Ahmad Abdulatif, a Madrid-based Egyptian translator and novelist who participated in the conference. “First because he is a good novelist, and secondly because he is an African writer, who belongs to a marginalized continent.” (See a related article, “Abdulrazak Gurnah: ‘Arab’ Nobel Laureate Is Little Known to Arabs.”)