Thursday, November 15, 2007


Africa's 100 best books of the 20th CentURY

The ASC Library, Documentation and Information Department has compiled a dossier on Africa's 100 Best Books of the 20th Century project. It consists of an introduction, the top twelve list, the top hundred list, and a selection of Web resources.


Ali Mazrui AFRICA'S 100 BEST BOOKS OF THE 20TH CENTURY project was first suggested at the 1998 Zimbabwe International Book Fair in Harare. Ali Mazrui came up with the idea of a list of Africa's 100 best books in order to direct the world's attention on the achievements of African writers who have had their work published during the 20th century.

A jury, chaired by Njabule Ndebele, considered over 500 nominations from the original list of 1,521 nominations proposed by individuals and institutions all over the world. The nominations were subjected to rigorous criteria which included, inter alia, an assessment of quality, the ability to provide new information or insight, a continuing contribution to debate, and the extent to which a book broke down boundaries. The final list had to reflect a balance of regional representation, gender, historical spread and genres of writing.

The top 100 list was launched in Accra, Ghana, on February 18, 2002 and the Awards Presentation Gala took place in Cape Town on 28 July. The 2002 Zimbabwe International Book Fair (30 July-3 August) was devoted to the Best Book project. Its theme was the impact of African writing on world literature.

Having selected the top 100 list, the jury then choose the best twelve African books of the twentieth century. The books - in African and European languages or in Arabic - were divided into three categories: children's writing, non-fiction/academic writing and creative writing.
Many of the books are in the ASC library, but children books and work in African languages or
Arabic do not meet the criteria of collection development and are unfortunately not available. In some cases, a title is available in translation.

Please visit this website and bring a hard copy of Africa's Best 100 books.
Due on Saturday, November 17, 2007.

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