Friday, June 11, 2010


A former professor of mine and all-around great guy, Abdourahman A. Waberi (or, if you can't read French, check out his Wikipedia page here), is getting ready to head off to Salvador do Bahia, Brazil for an amazing literary project called Pilgrimages.  In the words of the project's organizers:

"The Chinua Achebe Center for African Writers and Artists has chosen to celebrate Africa’s first world cup by sending 13 African writers to 13 cities for two weeks during the World Cup. Each writer will produce a book of nonfiction prose, Travel Literature, of 30,000 words, for publication in Africa and abroad.

Using multiple forms of media, the writers will first blog their journeys and create momentum online and on mobile phones while the World Cup is taking place. A media website will be created, with local correspondents introducing their cities to fellow Africans online. The climax of this process will be the launch of this new collection of thirteen books in four African cities in January 2012, during the African Cup of Nations Tournament.

The collection will be the most significant single addition to the continent’s archive of literary knowledge since the African Writer’s Series founded in the 1960s.

At a moment in time when the whole continent is more visible to its inhabitants and to the rest of the world than at any other since independence, PILGRIMAGES will reintroduce Africans to the literary world in the same form that so many outside writers have employed to create a distorted idea of us to the world."

Abdourahman Waberi will be the only writer not traveling to an African city.  Other contributors to Pilgrimages include such prominent African literary figures as Alain Mabanckou (his Wikipedia page in English here), Binyavanga Wainaina (or check out his blog here and his Wikipedia page here), and Chris Abani (Wikipedia page here), among others.

For more on Pilgrimages, visit their website here.