african writing + the internet

One of the great things that technology will give us is an outlet for our own critical perspectives which will help moderate skewed Western perspectives. An example: recently the Guardian had someone do a blog piece on Ben Okri's "The Famished Road" and he said the book was a waste of space - within minutes respondents from across the globe were taking him to task, letting him know that he didn't understand the context or the subtext, and because of this he found he had to moderate his tone. Something as simple as that can change the way the world reads, and can expand the readership for writing from Africa. In the "print only" days, that Guardian piece would not have had those responses and would have become "law" in print, with everyone heralding it as authoritative; with the web, it became dialogue.
- Nii Ayikwei Parkes, as part of a two-part Roundtable Discussion on African Writing and the Internet that we've been running over at One Ghana, One Voice.

The discussion has had a number of highlights, including a reference to Sturgeon's Law (90% of everything is crap), which I hadn't heard of before, and plan to use liberally in my future defences of poetry. You can read part one of the Roundtable here, part two here, and participant bios here.

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