African Voices

Auf DeutschEn français„It is very important that 'African Voices' are heard outside Africa", said Youssouf Amine Elalamy from Morocco, after a public reading in November 2009.

Since the monthly presentation of African Voices started in spring 2009 in Allerweltshaus in Cologne, we were able to invite many interesting African authors, presenting their books to an ever increasing audience. For example Fatou Diome. Having arrived in a hurry, she was sorry when it was over: „I appreciated very much the audience, it was open, sympathetic and eager to discuss. I could have continued for hours." Also Samson Kambalu from Malawi was enthusiastic: „It was phantastic! I would like to repeat it."

The enthusiastic feedback is mainly due to the direct contact between authors and audience. Usually the reading and following dialogue about the books presented initiate a very lively exchange about everyday life, social and political matters in a globalized world, a dialogue benefitting both parties: „The discussion was stimulating and I have learnt a lot," said Winfried N'Sondé from Congo-Brazzaville.

„It is wonderful what you are doing here," is the opinion of someone attending regularly these events. And therefore we continue the series in 2012 and 2013. Our aim is to demonstrate and publicize the variety, quality and power of African literature and thus to convey a differentiated picture of the African continent.

The series „African Voices" is sponsored by Stiftung Umwelt und Entwicklung Nordrhein-Westfalen (Foundation Environment and Development Nordrhein-Westfalen).


The Africa library in Allerweltshaus

Allerweltshaus in Cologne hosts a library with emphasis on books from and about Africa, translated into German, and contains about 300 books, fiction as well as non-fiction. It is probably the biggest collection of this kind in Cologne, and maybe in the region. Even if the books from African authors translated into German represent only a small selection of African literature, the library is able to convey a lively picture of the richness and variety of it. The library also offers an impressive collection of African classics for children and youths.

The library also collects teaching materials and booklets on methods of global learning. The series „African Voices" with its public readings by African authors draws attention to recent translations into German which are also part of the collection. Due to close cooperation with publishers and the Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Literatur aus Afrika, Asien und Lateinamerika (Society for the Promotion of Literature from Afria, Asia and Latin America) we are able to enlarge and update our collection continuously. Additionally, we publish an online-catalogue of „Africa's 100 best books of the 20th century", with abstracts, reviews, recommendations and the appropriate age group, as well as the titles of the series „African Voices".

Special thanks go to Frau Dr. Anna Stelthove-Fend who has tremendously contributed to the establishment of the Africa library, by donations and extraordinary personal commitment.



Christa Morgenrath

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