Course description

This course will explore recent and current developments in African literature. Under the heading ”After Achebe: Trajectories in African Literature”, it will engage with key works by African writers in a number of genres and provide another generational outlook on literature from Africa than that provided by, say, Chinua Achebe or Ngugi wa Thiongo. A central aim of the course will therefore be to expand the discussion of African literature beyond simplified notions of ”writing back” and instead focus on the multiple ways in which writers address conflictual experiences of gender, race, history, war and futurity. Throughout, the question of time and the articulation of entangled temporalities will loom large. The main readings will consist of novels and short stories, but also poetry. We will read work by, among others, Yvonne Vera, Shailja Patel, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Lauren Beukes.


Stefan Helgesson has written and taught about various aspects of African literature for almost 20 years, and has published widely on issues relating to postcolonial theory, world literature and translation. He is currently leading the major research programme ”Cosmopolitan and Vernacular Dynamics in World Literatures”, that will run from 2016 until 2021.

Syllabus and application