Annie Gagiano

Annie Gagiano lectures in the English Department of the University of Stellenbosch, specialising in the area of the African Anglophone novel. She is the author of the study Achebe, Head, Marechera: On Power and Change in Africa (Boulder/London: Lynne Rienner, 2000).

Opgedateer/Updated: 2006-09-01
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The African library: Vagabonds! by Eloghosa Osunde

Annie Gagiano Books and writers 2022-12-08

"The author here focuses particularly on (mostly lesbian) women and counters the tide of disgust by depicting such characters as joyous and beautiful and free in enjoying 'illicit' sexuality, but this is contrasted with many vignettes depicting states of terror, shame, denial of selfhood and forms of love that have been sullied and branded by the reigning disapproval and condemnation ...."

Why the African Library column? An interview with Annie Gagiano

Naomi Meyer, Annie Gagiano Interviews 2022-11-16

"Of course I admire, study and read books from other continents, but African writing is to my mind still hugely underrated and far too little known, when there are brilliant novels of great depth and complexity produced all over our continent."

The African Library: An imperfect blessing by Nadia Davids

Annie Gagiano Books and writers 2022-11-07

"Published by Umuzi, its extended narrative provides a vividly localised image of community life in Walmer Estate, an area of Cape Town that is set on the slopes of Table Mountain, most of whose adult and older occupants have haunting memories of District Six ..."

The African library: Men don’t cry by Faïza Guène

Annie Gagiano Books and writers 2022-08-29

"Men don’t cry is her fourth novel and the hilarious moments do not disguise the poignance of what is at heart a family tragedy, exploring the inevitable generational cultural split in that sector of society in which parental values and cultural preferences are all too often abandoned and disrespected by their offspring, who wish to 'make it' in the setting of an economically and educationally extremely different setting from the one in which their parents were raised and attained maturity."

The African Library: The Jungo: Stakes of the earth by Abdel Aziz Baraka Sakin

Annie Gagiano Books and writers 2022-07-05

"The narrative of The Jungo is not a tale of victory, either, but an extremely interesting one, and the people known by this name do remain unbowed despite hardship."

African library: Season of crimson blossoms by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim

Annie Gagiano Books and writers 2022-04-26

"Narrative closure is ruthlessly sudden, but this was in many ways inevitable from the start. The tragic tale has also been a story of the liberation of deep feelings – perhaps more valuable than their terrible cost."

African Library entry: The actual true story of Ahmed & Zarga by Mohamedou Ould Slahi

Annie Gagiano Books and writers 2022-02-28

"Ahmed and Zarga educates its readers concerning the reverence in which camels are held in this context, as it does in making clear the basis of this Bedouin attitude towards their beasts. Slahi’s novel’s natural, informal style and the impression of oral narrative that it establishes are extremely appealing, as well as elegant and aesthetically admirable."

The African Library: Aya Dane by Mhani Alaoui

Annie Gagiano Books and writers 2021-12-22

"Reading this novel and its record of great suffering and the profound emotional dislocations brought about by exile and migration, is arduous, often harrowing and disturbing; but as a narrative, Aya Dane is an immense and lasting achievement."

Afterlives by Abdulrazak Gurnah: book discussion

Annie Gagiano Books and writers 2021-10-28

"It is a pleasure and a lucky chance to have chosen Gurnah’s latest novel as the topic of this entry’s profile days before his selection as a winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature was announced. ... As an aesthetic achievement, it roundly confirms Gurnah’s worthiness as the world’s – and our continent’s – latest recipient of literature’s highest accolade."

African library: Silence is my mother tongue by Sulaiman Addonia

Annie Gagiano Books and writers 2021-08-30

"Compelling and written with tenderness and fury, this beautiful novel will resonate in readers’ minds with its clarity of vision, empathy and depth of insight. It is likely to become a classic for its undeniable literary stature."

African Library: Dogstar rising by Parker Bilal

Annie Gagiano Books and writers 2021-06-28

"An engrossing reading experience awaits readers, who will find in Dogstar rising an enlightening, bracing and gripping way of spending the leisure time that lockdown restrictions on social gatherings have made available. Readers can also follow it up by getting hold of the five other texts in this series."

The African Library ‒ Timothy Ogene: The day ends like any day (2017)

Annie Gagiano Books and writers 2021-05-03

"This debut novel by acclaimed poet Timothy Ogene bears the traces of the author’s lyrical talent, his Nigerian origins, his expansive reading of world literature and his life-cherishing attentiveness to natural and human phenomena, both physical and spiritual. The text is, nevertheless, unpretentious in every way; as a narrative, perhaps a bildungsroman, the predominant tonal quality is a sort of quietness, a retrospective serenity."

African library: Chasing the tails of my father’s cattle by Sindiwe Magona

Annie Gagiano Books and writers 2021-03-01

"What she conveys (sometimes emphatically and sometimes more obliquely) in this text is a conviction that a culture needs both growth and pruning – as a living thing that should adapt to its surroundings. If tradition stalls and hardens into ideology, it stultifies rather than nurtures both communal and individual life."

African library: The Lotus people by Aziz Hassim

Annie Gagiano Books and writers 2020-12-14

"The impressive and morally valuable account that Hassim has produced should, in my view, be honoured as a classic of anti-apartheid literature. It is a complex work rich in meaning and serves as an act of commemoration, but one which never preaches or flags in its breathtaking pace."

The African Library: Barracoon: The story of the last "black cargo" by Zora Neale Hurston

Annie Gagiano Books and writers 2020-11-05

"In this entry, the established pattern of profiling contemporary or classic African works of fiction is broken. Kossola (more often referred to as Cudjo in the USA) was the last surviving captured African on the last ever American slave ship. The five and a half years of Kossola’s slave labour in Alabama is not presented as the main focus of his narrative; rather, Barracoon is the life story of a man with vivid memories of his life in a Yoruba settlement in West Africa."