Queer Africa: Selected Stories

“Africans controlling their narratives and telling their own stories to the world without the foreign-correspondent filter has resulted in a rich seam of work in which we on the African continent can hold up mirrors to ourselves and react to what we see . . . The truth is often said to be stranger than fiction but this sterling collection contains exquisite writing that again and again has the ring of truth.”

Chiké Frankie Edozien, Introduction, Queer Africa: Selected Stories

The stories brought together in this collection survey the African continent and present diverse depictions of queer African lives. Edited by Makhosazana Xaba and Karen Martin, this collection of stories details the varied and intimate lives of Black queer subjects from across Africa. Existing in all strata of civic and social society, the characters showcased in these stories of African queerness crisscross geographic regions, pray to different gods (or none at all), and give vision and voice to experiences varied by age, class, and gender identity. The intricate and intimate stories gathered in this collection not only sheds light on the capacious ways of living as a queer subject on the African continent, it does this by centering writers who live and work from that social and political particularity.

Eschewing voyeurism and outsider perspectives, these stories from Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, South Africa, Botswana, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe celebrate the diversity and fluidity of queer and African identifications and expressions. Giving compassionate and complex portrayals of African peoples’ negotiation of queerness, public space, social life, and love, the narratives so lovingly housed in this collection document fiction lifeworlds for queer Africans. Navigating public and private expressions of desire and selfhood, these stories demonstrate the prowess, precarity, and power of living as a queer African. In multifaceted tales of love, desire, and self-expression, the writers included in this collection document the multiple worlds that queer Africans must inhabit and how they strive to create their own space and places of being.