This paper will explore the intertwining literary and material contexts that shaped African literary production in the years surrounding the independences of 1960. Drawing on findings from research in French publishers’ archives, I will focus on a novel by Senegalese writer, Malick Fall, entitled La Plaie (1967 – The Wound). By considering this ground-breaking text in relation to debates concerning literary technique and political engagement, such as the emergence of the nouveau roman, I will ask to what extent and with what effect the archival traces of editorial mediation can be written into postcolonial literary history.
Dr Ruth Bush joined the University of Westminster as Research Fellow in French and Francophone Studies in March 2013 after completing her DPhil in Modern Languages at Wolfson College, Oxford (“Publishing Africa in France 1947-1968”). She has published in the Journal of Postcolonial Writing, the Bulletin of Francophone Postcolonial Studies, and has an article forthcoming in the Journal of Commonwealth Literature. She has recently completed a Heritage Lottery Funded web history of the UK’s first radical black bookshop and publishing house, New Beacon Books.