Published in March 2013 by Lynne Rienner Publishers
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-1-58826-862-4
Softcover ISBN-13: 978-1-58826-887-7
African Lives is a pan-African collection of autobiographical writings by Africans of various ethnic groups, from Ibn Battuta to Binyavanga Wainaina. The book is organized by geographical region.
The stories range from bittersweet to violent, wistful to seductive, leaving a deep emotional impression.
This volume is full of memorable anecdotes and images right through the final entry.
The anthology is heavy with writers recalling their empowerment through writing. 'I had always told stories,' declared Laila Lalami, a Moroccan journalist and novelist, 'but now I wanted to be heard.' Wisner ensures that the continent's multi-hyphenated rainbow of nonfiction writing, old and new, at all edges of the continental compass, gets that chance.
Todd S. Burroughs, Ebony.com
It is an amazing anthology ... African voices in splendid diversity as vast as the continent itself. Geoff Wisner has made a wonderful contribution to the emerging tradition.
World Literature Today
This anthology will appeal to anyone who has an interest in African literature and history or who would like to understand them better through the perspective of true-life narrative.... Wisner's introduction is brief but thought provoking, raising questions regarding identity and the commodification of creativity. Recommended.
CHOICE, American Library Association
African Lives thoughtfully identifies the voices and visions that have shaped a continent. By skillfully weaving these personal narratives into a coherent collection, Wisner has provided a compelling and accessible resource for understanding Africa's history makers.
Carl LeVan, American University
For too long, others have spoken for Africans. Wisner's work represents an important contribution as it collects and expresses the voices of some of Africa's greatest literary and political lights. This work will be much appreciated by Africanists throughout the world.
Warigia Bowman, American University in Egypt
With material from a large number of countries and attention to varied themes such as liberation, conflict, gender relations, and spirituality, the book represents a unique resource for courses. Most importantly, the first-person accounts will offer an avenue for students to build intimate connections with aspects of African culture and history addressed in classrooms, profoundly enriching their intellectual experience.
Peter VonDoepp, University of Vermont
Published in 2007 by Jacana Media
From the desert of Algeria to the savannahs of Kenya and the jungles of Equatorial Guinea, this quintessential reader's guide includes reviews and excerpts from notable books for each of Africa's 54 countries.
A Basket of Leaves explores many of the best-known works on Africa, such as Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (Nigeria), All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes by Maya Angelou (Ghana), The Viceroy of Ouidah by Bruce Chatwin (Benin), Age of Iron by J.M. Coetzee (South Africa), Gorillas in the Mist by Dian Fossey (Rwanda), and When Rain Clouds Gather by Bessie Head (Botswana).
The clever and simple idea behind Geoff Wisner's A Basket of Leaves is to give readers a
sense of Africa by introducing them to 99 Books that Capture the Spirit of Africa ... He does a
very good job, and it is what he writes in A Basket of Leavesand not the ninety-nine excerpts
he offersthat make this a good and useful overview of and introduction to Africa ... he packs an
enormous amount of variety and information into such a manageable book.
The Complete Review
A Basket of Leaves is an invaluable resource for anyone thinking of visiting Africa,
as well as a practical demonstration of the continents astonishing diversity.
London Review Bookshop
All [the books included] are enticingly described and should inspire some
budding Africanists to engage in some fascinating reading.
American Library Association
A Basket of Leaves is accordingly an unusually revealing book about
Africa, seen from the perspective of many great writers, and a must-have for all
who take an interest in African literature, history and contemporary affairs.