This issue of New Internationalist is rather different from the magazine you normally expect, in that its central section is devoted to four short stories. There is one from each of the anthologies of stories from around the world that we have published over the past year: Cooked Up, a lively compilation of fiction with food-related themes; Water, a new collection from Short Story Day Africa; The Daily Assortment of Astonishing Things and Other Stories, the latest anthology of the prestigious Caine Prize for African Writing; and One World Two, a follow-up to our successful book One World in which the writers’ geographical origins and cultural perspectives are even more diverse. The stories we have chosen are by: Krys Lee from South Korea; FT Kola from South Africa; the Cuban-American Ana Menéndez; and Efemia Chela, who hails from Zambia and Ghana. They can be seen as part of a new kind of ‘world writing’ that is emerging in the 21st century and are introduced by a conversation with Professor Elleke Boehmer of Oxford University – herself an acclaimed novelist – who explains how stories such as these are breaking down national and literary boundaries.
Chris Brazier for the New Internationalist co-operative.
Chris Brazier interviews Elleke Boehmer, Professor of World Literature in English at Oxford University.
When we talk about ‘world writing’, what exactly does that mean?
It’s becoming quite an established term now in literary studies, particularly in comparative literary studies – working between different language literatures. It’s seeing some interesting push-pull contestation with what is still called postcolonial literary studies and there are different critical interest groups that are motivating both. And then there’s probably a third stream that is, as it were, arbitrating betwe...