A. Oed / C. Matzke (eds.): Life is a Thriller – Investigating African Crime Fiction – To the memory of Ben R. Mtobwa [PDF]


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MBA Mainzer Beiträge zur Afrikaforschung Volume 30

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246 pp.
1 colour photograph, 4 colour figures, 7 b/w figures, Appendix: Conference Programme

Text language: English

African crime fiction has only recently been recognised as a field of scholarly enquiry. Yet all popular genres and crime fiction in particular seem to have an astonishing capacity to absorb and reflect on their reader’s everyday concerns in a highly engaging manner. A comparative investigation of African crime fiction pro­vides clues as to how African writers and intellectuals respond to the challenges of modernity.

This collection represents the unique coming together of international scholars and practitioners at the 9th International Janheinz Jahn Symposium on African Literatures at the Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany, in the attempt to investigate African crime fiction in its broadest possible scope, and from a multiplicity of per­spectives. Contributions range from general national overviews to close readings of individual works; analy­ses include narratological, political, linguistic and cultural studies approaches.

Together these papers cover crime narratives in seven languages – Afrikaans, English, Ewe, French, Portuguese, Swahili, and Yorùbá – by writers such as Muhammed Said Abdulla, Kólá Akínlàdé, Boubacar Boris Diop, F. Kwasi Fiawoo, Monica Genya, Rodwell Musekiwa Machingauta, Tony Marinho, Deon Meyer, Ben R. Mtobwa†, Pepetela, and Adaora Lily Ulasi. Also included are interviews with Deon Meyer, Ben R. Mtobwa†, Angela Makholwa, and Meshack Masondo.


Anja Oed / Christine Matzke: Introduction

Southern Africa
Ranka Primorac: Nation, detection and time in contemporary Southern African fiction
Matthias Krings: Meet Lance Spearman – your favourite crime-buster
Geoffrey V. Davis: ‘Old loyalties and new aspirations’ – the post-apartheid crime fiction of Deon Meyer
Doris Wieser: Parody in Angolan crime fiction – Pepetela’s Jaime Bunda

West and Central Africa
Matthew J. Christensen: Violable states – postcolonial sovereignty, neoliberalism, and generic failure in Tony Marinho’s biothriller The Epidemic
James Gibbs: Crime and punishment in fact and fiction in the Gold Coast during the 1940s – F. Kwasi Fiawoo’s Tɔkɔ Atõlia
Susanne Gehrmann: On crime without justice – investigative patterns and the quest for truth in Boubacar Boris Diop’s novels
Anja Oed: ‘The world has changed’ – modernity in Kọ́lá Akínlàdé’s detective novel Owó Èjè
Katja Meintel: Francophone crime novels from Sub-Saharan Africa – generic conventions and the legitimisation of violence
Manfred Loimeier: Life is a thriller – crime fiction in Nigeria

East Africa
Mikhail D. Gromov: Generic innovation in recent Swahili crime fiction by Ben Mtobwa and Aristablus Elvis Musiba
Said Khamis: Is Abdulla’s Bwana Msa in Mzimu wa Watu wa Kale Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes in disguise?
Uta Reuster-Jahn: Police and judiciary corruption in Tanzanian crime novels
Alina Rinkanya: Rewriting gender in Kenyan crime fiction
Karola Hoffmann: Crime fiction as a means of political propaganda and ideologisation


Christine Matzke: Of guns, ghosts, and gangsters – a preliminary checklist of African and African-Diasporic crime novels in English


Manfred Loimeier: Interview with Deon Meyer
Mikhail D. Gromov: Interview with Ben R. Mtobwa (†)
Manfred Loimeier: Interview with Ben R. Mtobwa (†)
Christine Matzke: Girls with guts: writing a South African thriller – Angela Makholwa in conversation
Manfred Loimeier: Interview with Angela Makholwa
Manfred Loimeier: Interview with Meshack Masondo
Appendix: Conference programme

Notes on contributors

Under these links you will find further text collections and analyses of African oral and written literature:

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