Ran into the African Book Centre online today. Apparently a real place in London’s Covent Garden, but closed just now for a “planned three-year redvelopment plan.” Mail order service continues.
The scary thing about it is that the site has a list of Africa’s 100 best books (actually closer to 80 if you count them, but still). I was appalled at how few of these authors I had even heard of (we won’t even discuss how many I’ve actually read). I counted 13 – Chinua Achebe, Mariama Ba, Nadine Gordimer, Cheikh Hamidou Kane, Camara Laye, Naghib Mahfouz, Okot p’Bitek, Alan Paton, Nawal Al Saadawi, Tayeb Salih, Leopold Senghor, Aminata Sow Fall & Wole Soyinka. (Note: I feel one shouldn't really get credit for Mahfouz, Al Saadawi and Salih, as they are also part of the Arab canon and so are twice as exposed.)
Don’t know who compiled this list, but, hey, this is a book-selling site, and a fairly niche one, too, so one is surely safe in assuming that a hefty degree of consensus/mainstreamness went into the compilation.
Note: I typed “African canon” into Google and got not much, apart from this Google query: “Did you mean to search for: American canon?”
That would be no, Google. (At least it didn’t say: “Did you mean: Western canon?”)
Other note: I searched Asian canon, and only found this entry, entitled Re-writing the Asian canon. At least there’s one to re-write. Go, Asia. Come on, Africa.