© 2018

Remapping African Literature


  • Challenges current approaches to African book history by setting up a dialogue between literary production and the texts themselves

  • Covers previously unexamined material from the African Writers Series

  • Provides an interdisciplinary study of African literature and history


Part of the African Histories and Modernities book series (AHAM)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. Olabode Ibironke
    Pages 1-20
  3. Olabode Ibironke
    Pages 21-52
  4. Olabode Ibironke
    Pages 185-234
  5. Olabode Ibironke
    Pages 235-281
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 315-336

About this book


This book is an exploration of the material conditions of the production of African literature. Drawing on the archives of Heinemann’s African Writers Series, it highlights the procedures, relationships, demands, ideologies, and counterpressures engendered by the publication of three major authors: Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, and Ngugi wa Thiongo. As a study of the history and techniques of African literary texts, this book advances a theory of reciprocity of effects - what it terms 'auto-heteronomy' - to describe the dynamic of formalist activism by which texts anticipate and shape the forces of literary production in advance. It serves as a departure from the 'death of the author' thesis by reconsidering the role of the author in African literature and culture industry, as well as the influence of African publics on writers’ aesthetic choices, and on the overall processes of production. This work is a major contribution to African literary history, literary criticism, and book history. 


African Writers Series Golden Age of African literature Decolonisation of Africa Literary production Postcolonial book history

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Rutgers UniversityNew Brunswick, NJUSA

About the authors

Olabode Ibironke is Assistant Professor of English at Rutgers University, USA.

Bibliographic information


“What is exciting about Ibironke’s approach, and is something shared by Wa Ngugi, is that, refreshingly, these publishing histories are integrally linked to literary analysis and used to open up new close readings of African literary texts. Another strength of the study is in its dialectical approach to cartography and knowledge production … .” (Kate Wallis, Wasafiri, Vol. 34 (3), 2019)

“Remapping African Literature makes a significant contribution to the decolonizing discourse in African literature … . It is noteworthy that this observation of the dialectical relation of authorial decolonizing responses reproduced in the process of constraining imperial schemes remains a valid entry-point for a wide range of postcolonial literary experiences.” (Henry Obi Ajumeze, African Studies Review, Vol. 62 (3), September, 2019)

“Given the astounding amount of intellectual labour expended and the remarkable historiographic and archival nous displayed in the book, Remapping African Literature recommends itself to both the expert and the neophyte in the burgeoning field of African literature, both in its creative and critical spheres.” (Chris Anyokwu, The Nation,, July 20, 2019)