Long Drums and Cannons: Nigerian Dramatists and Novelists, 1952-1966
Margaret Laurence's Long Drums and Cannons is a fascinating study of African postcolonial writing, written by Laurence after her early years in Africa. Laurence writes that the most enduring interesting aspect of Nigerian literature is the insights it gives not only into immediate and local dilemmas, but through these, into the human dilemma as a whole. Her comments on the early writings of well-known Nigerian authors-Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, John Pepper Clark, Amos Tutuola, and Cyprian Ekwensi-also provide insights into her early African writings and her later Canadian works. She also explores the works of then little-known authors, including Flora Nwapa, Nigeria's first woman novelist, Gabriel Okara, T.M. Aluko, Elechi Amadi, Onuora Nzekwu, and Nkem Nwankwo. This new edition of Long Drums and Cannons, originally published in 1968 and long out of print, also contains Laurence's previously unpublished essay Tribalism As Us Versus Them, which provides Laurence's own postscript to her book. A Foreword by her colleague, Douglas Killam, a Preface by Christian Riegel, a new Introduction by Nora Foster Stovel, and a commentary on Nigerian Literature by Abdul-Rasheed Na'Allah place Laurence's work in a contemporary context. Up-to-date biographies with a list of works for each of the writers, detailed annotations to the original text, and a glossary complete this edition. Long Drums and Cannons is a classic of early postcolonial criticism, of interest to Laurence's wide readership and to anyone interested in African literature. I am happy to see a reissue of this important book by a great ambassador of literary culture. -Chinua Achebe Nora Foster Stovel, the editor, is Professor of English at the University of Alberta.