1st Edition

Magical Realism in Africa Literary and Dramatic Explorations

Edited By Sarali Gintsburg, Kenneth Usongo Copyright 2025
    218 Pages
    by Routledge

    Magical realism has deep roots across many African languages and regions. This book explores African magical realism from a transregional and inclusive approach, drawing on contributions from different literary genres across the continent.

    The chapters in the book constitute a sustained and insightful reflection on the salient components of this literary genre as well as evaluating its connections to themes of conflict, violence, women’s rights, trauma, oppression, culture, governance, and connecting to the African self. As well as theorizing magical realism, the book engages with African expressive performance across various formats, novels, plays, and films. The book investigates African magical realism through from its origins up to the present day, where local oral traditions link indigenous cosmogonic stories with Western literature, as well as with the specific narrative traditions of Arabo-Islamic literature. The rich analysis draws on works from across the continent, including Egypt, Sudan, Mauritania, Cameroon, Kenya, Tanzania, Angola, and Mozambique.

    This book is a timely contribution to debates within African literature, cultural anthropology, ethnography, and folklore.

    1. Worldview, Traditions, and Trends in African Magical Realism

    Théophile Ambadiang Omengele


    2. Narrating the War and its Aftermath: Perceptions of Liminality in Mia Couto’s Terra Sonâmbula and José Eduardo Agualusa’s Barroco Tropical

    Jessica Falconi & Kamila Krakowska Rodrigues


    3. Behind the Magical Veil: Interrogating Cameroon’s Politics and History in Bole Butake’s Lake God

    Kenneth Usongo


    4. Magical Realism in Modern Swahili Literature

    Mikhail Gromov


    5. Female Plight and Magical Realism: A Study of Rebeka Njau’s The Sacred Seed and Okwiri Oduor’s Things They Lost

    Alina Rinkanya


    6. The Local Roots of Magical Realism in Sudanese Fiction

    Xavier Luffin


    7. African Magical Realism Goes Visual: Two Short Films from African Folktales Reimagined (Netflix-UNESCO, 2023)

    Sarali Gintsburg


    8. The Return of the Repressed: Magical Realism in Salwa Bakr’s The Golden Chariot and Ibrahim Al-Koni’s The Bleeding of the Stone

    Abida Younas & Kawthar Yasser N Al-Othman


    Sarali Gintsburg (Ph.D. 2014) is a researcher at the Institute for Culture and Society (University of Navarra, Spain). She published on the subject of contemporary Arabic literature, comparative literature, folklore, and spatiotemporal aspects of Arabic narrative. Geographically, her research interests include North Africa and the periphery of the Arab World.

    Kenneth Usongo received a Ph.D. in English from the University of Denver, U.S.A., and a doctorate in English Literary Studies from the University of Yaoundé, Cameroon. In addition to his books Character and the Supernatural in Shakespeare and Achebe, The Cultural and Historical Heritage of Colonialism, Politics and Romance in Shakespeare’s Four Great Tragedies, Art and Political Thought in Bole Butake, The Rising Sun and Boma, and Ruminations of Ipome, he has also published 32 essays on British, postcolonial, and African American literature in various journals and edited collections. He has been a professor at several universities and colleges in Cameroon and the United States and now teaches at Colorado Academy.

    Africa was literary. Africa is now literature. Magical!

    Gonzalo Fernández Parrilla, Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, author of Al sur de Tánger

    This work adds to the mature and growing analyses of Africa's great literary tradition. Every student of global literature and/or African Studies should add it to their library.

    Douglas Thomas, Associate Professor and Chair African and African American Studies, State University of New York at Brockport