Walter Allen, Amos Tutuola, Ulli Beier
Mr. Nkosi begins his survey of African writers in London where he talks to Walter Allen, English critic who has reviewed a number of African books for the British Press. Next the viewer is taken to Nigeria where he meets pioneer novelist Amos Tutuola whose The Palm-Wine Drinkard (correct spelling) was published in 1952 by the English company, Faber and Faber. Tutuola, a master story-teller in the true African oral idiom, talks of his past and of the story-telling of the old people in his village, storytelling which was the basis of his inspiration to write. After reading the opening passage from The Palm-Wine Drinkard, he says that what influenced his first novel was a book in the Youroba folklore tradition, thus dispelling the myth that behind his colloquial, often ungrammatical style lies a more sophisticated background. This program ends with a conversation between the host and Ulli Beier, German-born editor of the African Literary Magazine, Black Orpheus, published in Nigeria. Beier talks of coming to Nigeria in the early fifties when there was no such thing as Nigerian literature. In 1956 when he started his magazine he was forced to rely on translation from the already-established and popular French African writers. In this literary wasteland, Tutuola was the remarkable exception. But in the past few years there has been an explosion of interest in writing. In Nigeria, for example (partly through the encouragement of Mbari, a club where writers and artists meet, exhibit, publish, and discuss aesthetic standards) an enthusiastic group of writers is growing steadily. For whom do they write? Up to now, according to Beier, writers have been gearing to the European public because Europe is where, for the most part, they have been read and published. But the real challenge, he feels, will now be to create a real African audience
National Educational Television
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