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ALA Latest News & Updates

Nelson Mandela

The African Literature Association, as so many throughout the world, celebrates the life and example of President Nelson R Mandela even as we are deeply saddened and we mourn his joining of the ancestors.

Remembering Mr. Mandela:
Statement from Dr. Soraya Mekerta,
President of the African Literature Association

Photo: South Africa The Good News /, via Wikimedia Commons

noteConference update: The ALA Treasury encourages all those interested in participating in the 40th ALA conference in Johannesburg to send in their membership fees before the conference. However, if for any reason you plan to make your payment on-site in Johannesburg, please note that payments will only be accepted in US dollars. This is to avoid problems associated with currency conversion.

noteWhen Chinua Achebe's death was announced on March 22, the response of African literary scholars and practitioners was palpable. This book is a tribute to Achebe, his life and work, his place in Africa's history and his role in reclaiming the dignity of that history. These poems, short essays and letters extol one of Africa's greatest novelists, who was also a teacher, a colleague, and a noted and respected elder who understood his times. Once in a millennium, someone of princely bearing comes along to light the way for a people. In these entries, Professor Achebe's generous spirit shines like a guiding spirit: warm, urging, steadying.

noteA newly expanded award menu is available for the ALA 2013 award year. Please read the categories and guidelines (pdf) and send in your nominations. Keep the ALA vibrant by enthusiastically giving honor to whom it is due! Awards will be presented at the 40th Annual Conference coming up on April 9-13, 2014, at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. Please note carefully the submission deadline for each of the awards.  If you want to donate to or endow an award, or know a donor who wants to or could be persuaded to, please email: Tejumola Olaniyan at

noteMembers of the ALA share these words in joining the world's literary and academic communities to mourn the death of Professor Chinua Achebe. A memorial service was held for him at this year's conference.

noteExecutive letters are now available in the documents section, including letters exchanged between the ALA and Barack Obama, as well as a more recent exchange with Sweden's Minister of Culture, Lena Adelsohn Liljero.

note The editor of JALA invites submission of essays, reviews, and review-essays that reflect the range of primary materials, critical methodologies, and the many contending and complementary movements in African and African diaspora literatures and cultures. Deadlines for submissions are February 1 for the spring/summer issue and June 1 for the fall/winter issue. For more information, please read the JALA Submission Guidelines (pdf).

note The ALA stands with the people of Haiti and extends heartfelt sympathy over the massive earthquake that has hit the country with such tragic devastation and caused incredible loss of lives. Hope will never die among the living even as we mourn the lives lost. May the people of Haiti transcend the current, natural sense of grief and overwhelming hopelessness, and emerge more capable and resolute to put the pieces of their lives together and rebuild their country for a greater future.

We encourage our members to please donate generously to legitimate relief bodies and organizations accepting relief funds for Haiti and the victims of the earthquake (see list below). No amount is too little; every dollar counts. An official letter will go out presently to the Haitian authorities.

Websites for some relief funds organizations:

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