Next up on the slate of fascinating talks on all aspects of genre for the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies is Nuzo Onoh’s presentation on African horror. As the press release for the talk states:
“This lecture aims to introduce students to the African Horror literary genre. While African Horror films have made great strides in recent years, thanks to the Nollywood film industry and the South African Horror Film Festival, African horror literary fiction is still to take its rightful place in the commercial horror market. We shall examine the term “African Horror”, and how it is portrayed by the popular media before discussing its place as a bona-fide literary genre, similar to other regional horror genres and its classification by distributors. We shall also discuss what constitutes African horror, and what makes it different from horror fiction written by people of African descent.
With over 4000 African tribes and counting, it would be impossible to study African Horror under one uniform blanket as each tribe has its own unique culture and lore. Therefore, I shall focus on the West African (specifically, Nigerian) region in discussing the evolution of African Horror from folk tales under the moonlight to early written works such as Amos Tutuolas’s The Palmwine Drinkard (1952), Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa’s Indaba, My Children: African Folktale (1964), to later African Horror works such as Ben Okri’s The Famished Road (1993) and Nuzo Onoh’s The Sleepless (2016). We shall also examine the mythos of African Horror, the lore, the superstitions that surround death, burial rites and the afterlife in African communities and the role colonialism, Christianity, politics, poverty and globalisation have played in creating situations that give rise to evils such as the harvesting of Albino body parts, the killing of child witches and the kidnapping of humans for witchcraft or political motives. These true-life horrors have all been bred by superstition, and these superstitions form the ethos behind most African Horror literature.”
Diabolique Magazine briefly caught up with Onoh, ahead of her talk,
She says of her background, “I was born in Enugu, in Nigeria and ended up in a Quaker boarding school in York, England, before finally getting my law degree and subsequent masters degree in writing, both from Warwick University. I published my first African horror book, The Reluctant Dead, in 2014, and have since published three more books as well as numerous short stories for anthologies, including the first Lovecraftian-inspired African Cosmic horror, Guardians, published by Nosetouch press in The Asterisk Anthology volume 2. (2018)”
When asked what she thinks people will take away from her talk, she stated, “Hopefully, they will have a better understanding of what makes a story African horror fiction, understand the people and their culture/beliefs better and most importantly, understand the role superstition plays in both the lives of many Africans, as well as in African literature”.
According to the author, her presentation will cover, “The on-going conflict between the African culture/religions and the Western values inherited from colonisation, as well as the impact of globalisation and social media on the social fabric of the people, and how they influence crimes and African literature. Needless to say, superstitions and their influence on Africans and African horror fiction will be the dominant theme of the lecture”.
You can read more details and find out where to purchase tickets here.