"For a long time, when people spoke of contemporary African literature, they were mostly talking about just two countries. South Africa, of course, with its canonical authors like J.M. Coetzee and Nadine Gordimer. And Nigeria, whose prolific literary scene grew from the pioneering work of Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe.
"But in recent years English readers have been bombarded by voices from all over the continent, bracingly enlarging our popular conception of Africa. Just recently we had both the redemptive, made-for-TV-movie fare of Ishmael Beah's Radiance of Tomorrow, about post-civil-war Sierra Leone, and the subtle and elegant metaphysics of Mia Couto's The Tuner of Silences, unpacking the legacy of Mozambique's wars for independence. Last year NoViolet Bulawayo's jagged and fragmentary We Need New Names gave an impressionistic glimpse of Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe, and Taiye Selasi's Ghana Must Go—one of the best books of 2013—was an ebullient drama of emigration and birthright."You might also want to keep your eyes peeled this Friday, when The Tuner of Silences goes head to head with The Good Lord Bird in The Morning News's Tournament of Books. Fingers crossed!