Binyavanga wainaina how to write about africa granta books

He advises writers to feature "naked warriors, loyal servants, diviners and seers, ancient wise men living in hermetic splendor," and warns against including any "ordinary domestic scenes, love between Africans unless a death is involvedreferences to African writers or intellectuals, mention of any children not suffering from yaws or Ebola fever or female genital mutilation. His writing is full-bodied and rich, describing a present-tense world in sensual, emotional, and psychological detail.

Binyavanga wainaina how to write about africa granta books

An AK, prominent ribs, naked breasts: If you must include an African, make sure you get one in Masai or Zulu or Dogon dress. In your text, treat Africa as if it were one country. It is hot and dusty with rolling grasslands and huge herds of animals and tall, thin people who are starving.

Or it is hot and steamy with very short people who eat primates. Make sure you show how Africans have music and rhythm deep in their souls, and eat things no other humans eat.

Throughout the book, adopt a sotto voice, in conspiracy with the reader, and a sad I-expected-so-much tone. If you are a man, thrust yourself into her warm virgin forests. If you are a woman, treat Africa as a man who wears a bush jacket and disappears off into the sunset.

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.

Your African characters may include naked warriors, loyal servants, diviners and seers, ancient wise men living in hermitic splendour. Or corrupt politicians, inept polygamous travel-guides, and prostitutes you have slept with.

The Loyal Servant always behaves like a seven-year-old and needs a firm hand; he is scared of snakes, good with children, and always involving you in his complex domestic dramas. The Ancient Wise Man always comes from a noble tribe not the money-grubbing tribes like the Gikuyu, the Igbo or the Shona.

He has rheumy eyes and is close to the Earth. The Modern African is a fat man who steals and works in the visa office, refusing to give work permits to qualified Westerners who really care about Africa. He is an enemy of development, always using his government job to make it difficult for pragmatic and good-hearted expats to set up NGOs or Legal Conservation Areas.

Or he is an Oxford-educated intellectual turned serial-killing politician in a Savile Row suit. He is a cannibal who likes Cristal champagne, and his mother is a rich witch-doctor who really runs the country.

Among your characters you must always include The Starving African, who wanders the refugee camp nearly naked, and waits for the benevolence of the West.

Binyavanga Wainaina: Talking About Writing About Africa

Her children have flies on their eyelids and pot bellies, and her breasts are flat and empty. She must look utterly helpless. She can have no past, no history; such diversions ruin the dramatic moment.

She must never say anything about herself in the dialogue except to speak of her unspeakable suffering. Also be sure to include a warm and motherly woman who has a rolling laugh and who is concerned for your well-being. Just call her Mama. Her children are all delinquent. These characters should buzz around your main hero, making him look good.

Your hero can teach them, bathe them, feed them; he carries lots of babies and has seen Death. Bad Western characters may include children of Tory cabinet ministers, Afrikaners, employees of the World Bank.

When talking about exploitation by foreigners mention the Chinese and Indian traders. But do not be too specific. Broad brushstrokes throughout are good. Avoid having the African characters laugh, or struggle to educate their kids, or just make do in mundane circumstances.

Have them illuminate something about Europe or America in Africa. Describe, in detail, naked breasts young, old, conservative, recently raped, big, small or mutilated genitals, or enhanced genitals.

Or any kind of genitals. Or, better, naked dead bodies.This really good article by the Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina on ‘ How to Write about Africa ‘ was recently shared with me.

It was published by Granta magazine. One will be surprised to see that this is exactly the way Africa is depicted in Western televisions, magazines, news, and books.

Wainaina's satirical essay "How to Write About Africa", published in Granta magazine in , attracted wide attention. [8] In , he was given an award by the Kenya Publisher's Association, in recognition of his services to Kenyan literature.

by Binyavanga Wainaina, published in Granta: The Magazine of New Writing 92 (). How to Write About Africa.

binyavanga wainaina how to write about africa granta books

by Binyavanga Wainaina, published in Granta: The Magazine of New Writing 92 (). Whichever angle you take, be sure to leave the strong impression that without your intervention and your important book, Africa is doomed. Africa is big: fifty-four countries, million people who are too busy starving and dying and warring and emigrating to read your book.

The continent is full of deserts, jungles, highlands, savannahs and many other things, but your reader doesn’t care about all that, so keep your descriptions romantic and evocative and unparticular. This really good article by the Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina on ‘ How to Write about Africa ‘ was recently shared with me.

It was published by Granta magazine. One will be surprised to see that this is exactly the way Africa is depicted in Western televisions, magazines, news, and books.

This was a fun read. A ridiculously fun read. Under "irony" in the dictionary, there's a little picture of Binyavanga Wainaina. It's a very short, tongue-in-cheek reflection about Africa and the people who write about Africa. A few posts down my Instagram feed I went on a long rant about African literature focusing on the same generalizing themes/5. by Binyavanga Wainaina, published in Granta: The Magazine of New Writing 92 (). How to Write About Africa. by Binyavanga Wainaina, published in Granta: The Magazine of New Writing 92 (). Whichever angle you take, be sure to leave the strong impression that without your intervention and your important book, Africa is doomed. Binyavanga Wainaina’s essay, “How To Write About Africa,” published in , remains the most forwarded article in Granta’s history. The laugh-out-loud-funny satire captured every recorded stereotype that has been used by journalists, novelists, and historians when writing about Africa and its myriad countries, peoples, languages, and .

Binyavanga Wainaina’s essay, “How To Write About Africa,” published in , remains the most forwarded article in Granta’s history. The laugh-out-loud-funny satire captured every recorded.

Granta: 'How to write about Africa' by Binyavanga Wainaina