Size / / /

by Geoff Ryman

Winner of the British Science Fiction Association Award Best Non-Fiction 2016

About that title...

100: Because it’s easy to remember. More like 120 or 130 writers, but many I won’t get to meet. I’ll list as many as I can by location, by social scene. Because people, even writers, succeed in groups.

AFRICAN: Meaning mostly people with African citizenship in Africa, but I’m not going to be draconian. Writers like Nnedi Okorafor and Sofia Samatar are beacons to young Africans. They take an active role in African publishing projects—Nnedi with Lagos 2060 and AfroSF and Sofia with the Jalada Afrofuture(s) anthology, which she helped edit. “African” itself is a dubious concept. I will try to use more precise terms—nations, cities, and peoples.

WRITERS: Will include filmmakers, poets, and comics artists. Not all of them have published frequently. Some have only published themselves, but given the lack of publisher opportunities, I think that’s enterprising. They’re still writers.

SFF: Stands for science fiction and fantasy. I use the term in its broadest sense to include generic SF and fantasy, horror, alternative histories, speculative fiction, slipstream, variations on Kafka, fables, nonsense, and more.

How this is structured

Each chapter will focus on a different location.

After a snapshot of local cultural life, there will be a series of interviews with writers, arranged in alphabetical order by first name. This will help give them voice, leave the reader free to also make connections, and also back up some of the conclusions I make for myself. Where appropriate the sections each begin with an extensive quotation from the writer's work.

Occasional mini articles "About…" will help set context.

I expect to write 12 or 13 chapters in total.

I hope academic colleagues find ore to mine. I hope readers of SFF get the basic idea: some of this stuff is entirely off the wall. And well worth finding.

Part One: Nairobi

Nairobi, River Road

Part Two: Writers in the UK

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

Three: Cape Town—The Editors

Part Four: Malawi


Part Five: Interview with Sofia Samatar

Photo credit: Peter A. Duffy

Part Six: Cape Town—The Writers


Part Seven: Kampala, Uganda

Part Eight: The Ake Festival (Nigeria)

Part Nine: The Ake Festival (The Editors)

Part Ten: Abuja

Part Eleven: Durban and East London

100 African Writers of SFF - Part Eleven: Durban and East London

Part Twelve: Grahamstown

Part Thirteen: The Travelers

Photographer: Kennet Iwelumo 

An Obituary for Binyavanga Wainaina

Part Fourteen: The Great Walls of Lagos

Part Fifteen: Ghana

(All photo credits Geoff Ryman, unless otherwise specified.)