Namwali Serpell: “Africa contains more countries, languages, ethnic groups, and genetic variation than any other continent. We are united solely by our history of division. Yet African novelists are inevitably stuffed next to each other on panels and bookshelves. We are asked bafflingly broad questions about ‘African literature,’ ‘African history,’ and ‘African politics,’ or lazy and predictable ones about poverty, disease, and war. It’s a gift, in some ways. Who wouldn’t want to be compared to greats like Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka, rather than the latest batch of contemporaries? Who wouldn’t want to feel relevant to real world issues? But it gets old.”

Half of the authors on this year’s Man Booker prize shortlist are American.

“Although Freudian theories are no longer a part of mainstream science, Freud is still incredibly well-known, a figure with name recognition on par with Shakespeare. Just think of how his theories have entered into the contemporary vernacular: Mommy and Daddy issues. Phallic symbols. Death wishes. Freudian slips. Arrested development. Anal retentiveness. Defense mechanisms. […] How does a man whose ideas have been widely debunked by his successors hold onto this much cultural influence?”

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