This book examines a selection of prison memoirs by five renowned African writers: Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Ruth First, Wole Soyinka, Nawal El Saadawi and Jack Mapanje. Detained across the continent from the 1960s onward due to their writing and political engagement, each writer’s memoir forms a crucial yet often overlooked part of their wider literary work. The author analyses the varied and unique narrative strategies used to portray the prison, formulating a theory of prison memoir as genre that reads the texts alongside postcolonial, trauma, life-writing and prison theory. The book also illustrates the importance of these memoirs in the telling of their historical moment, from apartheid South Africa to post-independence Kenya, Nigeria, Egypt and Malawi.
Achebe, Chinua 17, 96–7, 99, 155,
Agamben, Giorgio 90–2, 96, 98, 110
autobiography 1–14, 182
Biafran War 91–2
docile body 124–5, 131, 137
Eakin, Paul John 6
Fanon, Frantz 18–19, 40, 134–8, 185
Foucault, Michel 23, 124–5, 136–8
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