‘Oral Literary Performance in Africa Beyond Text’ To Be Officially Released Today

After an earlybird availability for pre-order, the highly anticipated literary volume, edited by Nduka Otiono and Chiji Akoma, in celebration of Professor Isidore Okpewho will be officially released today, June 17, 2021.

The book release comes amidst a flurry of well-deserved praises by some of the most influential scholars of African (oral) literature, opening a new chapter in expanding the narrative around African Oral literature and performance.

About the Book

‘Oral Literary Performance in Africa
Beyond Text,’ delivers an admirably comprehensive and rigorous analysis of African oral literatures and performance.

Gathering insights from distinguished scholars in the field, the book provides a range of contemporary interdisciplinary perspectives in the study of oral literature and its transformations in everyday life, fiction, poetry, popular culture, and postcolonial politics. Topics discussed include folklore and folklife; oral performance and masculinities; intermediated orality, modern transformations, and globalization; orality and mass media; spoken word and imaginative writing. The book also addresses research methodologies and the thematic and theoretical trajectories of scholars of African oral literatures, looking back to the trailblazing legacies of Ruth Finnegan, Harold Scheub, and Isidore Okpewho.

Ambitious in scope and incisive in its analysis, this book will be of interest to students and scholars of African literatures and oral performance as well as to general readers interested in the dynamics of cultural production.

See praise for the book below:

“Of impeccable scholarship, this readable and thoroughly up-to-date book is an important contribution to the field.” — Ruth Finnegan, OBE FBA FAFS FRAI, Emeritus Professor at The Open University, United Kingdom

“Vital and deeply engaging, this book brings to date 50 years of scholarship in African oral literature and performance, presenting with fresh eyes key issues, debates, and developments in the field. Otiono and Akọma offer a rich platter of exciting studies which every lover of African oral arts, teacher or student, would be happy to dip into to taste its varied intellectual delights. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding African oral literary performance from traditional perspectives to its intermedial transformations in the global digital moment. It honors and continues the intellectual legacy of my former colleague Isidore Okpewho and his amazing breakthrough scholarship on African oral literature.” — Carole Boyce-Davies, Frank H.T. Rhodes Professor of Humane Letters, Cornell University, USA, and Former President of the African Literature Association

“Reading Oral Literary Performance in Africa: Beyond Text, edited by Nduka Otiono and Chiji Akọma, one is impressed by the comprehensive nature of the contributions from some of the most important oral performance scholars. This is a robust addition to the literature on African oral literary performance and takes its place alongside the best works of Ruth Finnegan and Isidore Okpewho. Simply, intensely historical and artistic; a job well done!” — Molefi Kete Asante, author of An Afrocentric Manifesto and Professor and Chair of the Department of African American Studies at Temple University, USA

“The publication of Oral Literary Performance in Africa: Beyond Text, edited by Nduka Otiono and Chiji Akọma marks a seminal moment in the project of rethinking Africa and African knowledge in the 21st century. With its eminent range of contributors, its interdisciplinary approach, and its keen attentiveness to the dynamic relation between oral literary performance and everyday life, this collection fills a crucial and indispensable gap in African literary and cultural history. The book returns us to forgotten moments of literary expression in Africa and shifts the center of our debates and reflections on the nature and meaning of the literary.” — Simon Gikandi, Robert Schirmer Professor of English, Princeton University, USA

“In this book, Nduka Otiono and Chiji Akoma curate some of the major scholars, themes, and highlights of Africa’s fascinating oral literary performance tradition. Beyond the engaging thematic focus and scholarship, the book celebrates the exemplary work of the doyens of the study of African oral literature—chiefly, our departed dear colleague, Isidore Okpewho, to whom the book is dedicated. The essays in this collection invoke with reverence, Africa’s past oral performance heritage, summon its complex present, and shine light on its future trajectory. A remarkable achievement.” — Mbye B. Cham, Professor and former Director of the Center for African Studies, Howard University, USA

“This is a most relevant book on orality and the modern electronic age, a compendium of great authors, exceptional research and methodological lessons. It is a great source for those who seek to update their knowledge on African oral performance studies in the global century.” — Abdul-Rasheed Na’Allah, author of African Discourse in Islam, Oral Traditions, and Performance, and Vice-Chancellor of University of Abuja, Nigeria

“Oral Literary Performance in Africa: Beyond Text presents dynamic and innovative discussion on oral literary nomenclature. This is skilfully done against the backdrop of how ‘orality’ manages to interact with globalisation, modernity, transition and transformation, as reflected in the four sections of the book . . . This collection of essays on African oral literatures and performance is ground-breaking and unique. It belongs in every library. It is a ‘must-read’ for anyone interested in African Oral Literature and its conceptualisation—from past to present.” — Russell H Kaschula, Senior Professor, African Language Studies Department, University of the Western Cape, South Africa

“Scholars of African oral literature and performance on both sides of the Atlantic will find in Oral Literary Performance in Africa: Beyond Text manifestations of unimpeachable legacies of their mentors and founding fathers. For half a century, African Literature has been waiting for this book!” — Ernest N. Emenyonu, Professor Emeritus of Africana Studies, University of Michigan-Flint, USA; Editor, African Literature Today

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