The benevolent West, traditionally avuncular to African writers is getting impatient with the attitude of African writers and is fighting back, beginning with The Economist’s recent review of Binyavanga Wainaina’s new book “One Day I Will Write About This Place.”  The imperially dismissive review snorted with derision: “[It] would be cheering to report that his first book… is worth the wait. It is not. Mr. Wainaina should not have been encouraged to write in the form of a memoir… Too many African writers are co-opted by the American creative-writing scene only to be reduced by prevailing navel-gazing. Separately, much of the African writing culture that remains on the continent… is propped up with cash from the Western donors that African writers purport to excoriate.”

The Economist is right. Quite a few African writers of stature have been supercilious and condescending in their engagement with the West. They feel entitled to…

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