Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, OBE, editor, critic, and broadcaster, is former deputy editor of Granta magazine, series editor for the Kwani? Manuscript Prize, and the deputy chair of the Caine Prize for African Writing. She served as a judge for the 2015 Man Booker Prize panel. She lives in London, England.
Illuminating African narratives for readers both inside and outside the continent.
A Nigerian immigrant to Senegal explores the increasing influence of China across the region, a Kenyan student activist writes of exile in Kampala, a Liberian scientist shares her diary of the Ebola crisis, a Nigerian journalist travels to the north to meet a community at risk, a Kenyan author travels to Senegal to interview a gay rights activist, and a South African writer recounts a tale of family discord and murder in a remote seaside town.
In a collection that ranges from travel writing and memoir to reportage and meditative essays, editor Ellah Wakatama Allfrey has brought together some of the most talented writers of creative nonfiction from across Africa.
A promising tradition of creative nonfiction is nascent in Africa. Fresh ways of writing African experiences are afoot. This publication signals the gestation of something enormously exciting and genuinely new.
Not so much timely as long overdue, this collection of essays and short memoirs directs the focus inward, leaping from blade-sharp observations of contemporary life around the African continent to a striking consideration of the continent’s cultural and political future. Safe House transports the reader beyond the tired narrative of news reports through individual stories and into worlds of hidden complexities. Stimulating reading.
The stories in this anthology provide a form of connective tissue to contemporary life on the African continent in Cape Town, Nairobi, Dakar, and Kano. As a whole, it is both microscopic and panoramic, and strongly argues for an annual take of the same. As an editor who regularly commissions nonfiction I am full of envy.
It’s that perspective and degree of specificity, as well as the quality of the writing, that make this a wonderful and refreshing collection.
This collection of creative nonfiction is to be welcomed, and let’s hope there are many more volumes to come.