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ProQuest African Writers Series Digital Collection

Posted Sep 1, 2007
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The Product: The African Writers Series Digital Collection

The Company: ProQuest LLC

P.O. Box 1346

Ann Arbor, MI 48106

Phone: (800) 521-0600


ProQuest’s African Writers Series offers a digital collection of key texts in 20th century African literature. The online material features works by major contemporary authors, classic texts, and new writing. Among the included authors are Steve Biko, Ama Ata Aidoo, Nadine Gordimer, and Buchi Emecheta.

The collection is based on the print volumes of the Heinemann African Writers Series. Founded in 1962 with the aim of publishing writing by black African writers for an African readership, the series grew as African nations won independence and leading writers began to forge distinctive national literatures throughout the continent. The online publication of this collection restores access to a substantial body of work that was out of print and accessible only in special libraries.

The African Writers Series Digital Collection currently contains more than 2,200 poems, prose works, and plays. The novels, short stories, drama, and poetry are fully searchable and indexed. Author biographies are included. When complete, the online series will provide access to more than 300 volumes from the original print edition.

A variety of search and browse capabilities are offered to support research and teaching. Authors are indexed by gender, nationality, and birth and death dates. Texts are indexed by details of initial publication (date, place, publisher, and language).

Beginning in December, the Digital Collection will include Nelson Mandela’s No Easy Walk to Freedom, a collection of articles, speeches, letters, and trial transcripts documenting Mandela’s life and imprisonment. Originally published by Heinemann in 1965, the material was reprinted in the African Writers Series in 1973. At the time, Mandela was still in prison and his works were banned in South Africa. The global publication of his work was an important part of publicizing and gathering support for the anti-apartheid movement abroad.

The African Writers Series is available as a stand-alone product with an interface that includes a new Cover Gallery with links to full-color images of Heinemann’s original book cover designs. The Series is also available fully integrated within ProQuest Literature Online, where the content can be cross-searched with more than 350,000 works of English and American literature.

A free trial is available with online registration.

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