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EN2C4/EN3C4 Studies in Postcolonial Literature

Nine writers compete for the 2015 OCM Bocas Prize • Bocas Lit FestAfrican Literature

Convenor: Dr Mike Niblett

Module Delivery: 1 x 1hr lecture and 1 x 1hr Seminar


Writers from the Anglophone 'postcolonial' world today confront a (prospectively) global audience. This module aims to introduce students to the diverse and exciting range of contemporary work being produced by writers from locations such as the Caribbean and the Africa continent, and to situate it in terms of the historical circumstances that have engendered it and to which it constitutes a response. The module will examine the various ways in which different writers negotiate and represent social conditions -- local and global -- in their work, and the ways in which they incorporate and work with domestic and foreign literary forms and conventions. The works will be read comparatively, in relation to one another, and as contributions to particular literary and cultural traditions. Social issues under review will range very widely: for example, race, violence, and resistance, land, ‘development’ and the environment, sex and gendered identity, nation and state, memory, trauma and prolepsis, and cultural/linguistic imperialism.

Method of Assessment

Intermediate Years:
2 x 3500-word essays (50% each)

Final Years:
2 x 4000-word essays (50% each)

Essays will be due Term 2, Week 1; Term 3, Week 1.

Attendance: Attendance at each seminar is mandatory. If for some reason you need to miss a seminar, please do email your seminar tutor to let them know your reason before the seminar.

Seminar Participation: Seminars generally succeed or fail because of the quality of group participation. This means that you must keep on top of the required readings—reading thoroughly, carefully and in a timely manner. In order to prepare for the seminar, you should a) attend the lecture to formulate a question or response to any aspect of it; b) formulate a question and a point for discussion for each reading. One useful way to do this is to focus on a specific part of the lecture or a reading.

Indicative syllabus, 2024/25

TERM ONE: The Caribbean

Week One: Introduction to the Module

Week Two: Olive Senior, Excerpts from Gardening in the Tropics (1994) / Diana McCaulay, "Bridge over the Yallahs River (2022)

Week Three: Erna Brodber, Myal (1988)

Week Four: Dionne Brand, Inventory (2006)

Week Five: Nalo Hopkinson, The Salt Roads (2003)


Week Seven: Nicole Dennis-Benn, Here Comes the Sun (2017)

Week Eight: Shivanee Ramlochan, Everyone Knows I Am a Haunting (2017)

Week Nine: Xavier Navarro Aquino, Velorio (2022)

Week Ten: Karen Lord and Tobias S. Buckell, eds. Reclaim, Restore, Return: Futurist Tales from the CaribbeanLink opens in a new windowLink opens in a new window(Caribbean Futures Institute, 2020)

TERM TWO: Africa

Week 1: Introduction to the Term

Week 2: Tsitsi Dangarembga, Nervous Conditions (1988)

Week 3: Nadine Gordimer, The House Gun (1998)

Week 4: Mia Couto, Confession of the Lioness (2012)

Week 5: Film: Tsotsi (dir. Gavin Hood, 2005) Available for streaming on Talis AspireTsotsi film


Week 7: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun (2006)

Week 8: Ivan Vladislavic, Portrait with Keys (2007)

Week 9: NoViolet Bulawayo, We Need New Names (2013)

Week 10: Zoe Wicomb, Playing in the Light (2006)