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Contemporary Literature of the Immigrant Experience in the United States: Sub-Saharan Africa


“Dear Non-American Black, when you make the choice to come to America, you become black. Stop arguing. Stop saying I'm Jamaican or I'm Ghanaian. America doesn't care.”  -- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah

Recommended Literature

Relevant Books & Articles

Goyal, Y. (2017). We need new diasporas. American Literary History 29(4), 640–663.

Hova, M. (2015). Redefining the African diaspora: Migration, identity, and gender narratives in diasporic West African women's fiction (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (Order No. 3739560).

Toyin Ojih Odutola in Conversation with Yaa Gyasi and Texas Isaiah, Whitney Museum, 2018

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, International Authors' Stage, 2014

Relevant Databases & Journals

Africana Age

An open-access resource from the New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Africana Age provides background on the social, political, economic, and cultural transformations that have taken place in Africa and the African diaspora world over the last 100+ years. Through essays, images, multimedia, and maps, the database provides context for the immigrant narratives portrayed in our recommended novels and short stories.

African Diaspora

Available on-site at NYPL, African Diaspora is a bilingual journal (English and French) publishing groundbreaking research writing that seek to re-conceptualize the African diaspora, illuminating the complexity and fluidity of this concept on a global scale. 

African and Black Diaspora: An International Journal

Published by the Center for Black Diaspora at DePaul University, African and Black Diaspora is a biannual journal at the intersection of African Black Studies and Migration and Diasporic Studies. Articles in the journal cover ideas related to race, cultural assimilation, gender, and more, from both historical and contemporary perspectives. 

Relevant Organizations

African Literature Association
The African Literature Association is an independent nonprofit organization for scholars, teachers and writers around the world. It promotes the work of African and African diaspora writers and artists, as well as constructive interaction between scholars and artists. The ALA publishes the Journal of the African Literature Association (JALA), as well as holding conferences and sponsoring awards.

African Writer
Founded in 2001, this website showcases the work of African and African diaspora writers. African Writer publishes fiction and poetry from both established and emerging writers, as well as essays, criticism, and reviews.

Dinaw Mengestu, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, 2007