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Miskatonic LDN – African Horror: Shades of Superstition
April 11 @ 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
AFRICAN HORROR: SHADES OF SUPERSTITION
with instructor Nuzo Onoh
This lecture aims to introduce students to the African Horror literary genre. While African Horror films have made great strides in recent years, thanks to the Nollywood film industry and the South African Horror Film Festival, African horror literary fiction is still to take its rightful place in the commercial horror market.
We shall examine the term “African Horror”, and how it is portrayed by the popular media before discussing its place as a bona-fide literary genre, similar to other regional horror genres and its classification by distributors. We shall also discuss what constitutes African horror, and what makes it different from horror fiction written by people of African descent.
With over 4000 African tribes and counting, it would be impossible to study African Horror under one uniform blanket as each tribe has its own unique culture and lore. Therefore, I shall focus on the West African (specifically, Nigerian) region in discussing the evolution of African Horror from folk tales under the moonlight to early written works such as Amos Tutuolas’s The Palmwine Drinkard (1952), Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa’s Indaba, My Children: African Folktale (1964), to later African Horror works such as Ben Okri’s The Famished Road (1993) and Nuzo Onoh’s The Sleepless (2016).
We shall also examine the mythos of African Horror, the lore, the superstitions that surround death, burial rites and the afterlife in African communities and the role colonialism, Christianity, politics, poverty and globalisation have played in creating situations that give rise to evils such as the harvesting of Albino body parts, the killing of child witches and the kidnapping of humans for witchcraft or political motives. These true-life horrors have all been bred by superstition, and these superstitions form the ethos behind most African Horror literature.
We shall discuss the relevance of African horror to the genre pool, especially as relates issues of negative stereotyping of the continent and the prevalence of poverty and other true-life horror situations in the continent which has led some critics to question the relevance of African Horror genre amidst these real life problems. I shall illustrate with video clips, images and press articles in an interactive session with the students. It is my hope that the students will accompany me on this unique journey into the deep mysteries of African culture and understand this emerging horror genre and the various shades of superstition that drive the African Horror narrative.
Nuzo Onoh is a British writer of African-Igbo heritage. Popularly known as, “The Queen of African Horror”, Nuzo holds a Law Degree and a Masters Degree in Writing, both from The University of Warwick, Warwickshire.
Nuzo has been championing African Horror and has featured on multiple media platforms promoting this unique horror genre. She is the first African Horror writer to have featured on Starburst Magazine, the world’s longest-running magazine of cult entertainment and science fiction. She has also made the front-cover of Paranormal Underground Magazine and features in the reference book, “80 Black Women in Horror” (2014).
Her writing has also featured in multiple anthologies, including her recent contest-winning and Lovecraft-inspired African Cosmic horror story, Guardians, featured in the Asterisk Anthology Volume 2 (2018). Nuzo has written several blogs for Female First Magazine about African Horror and has been mentioned as one of the new voices in British horror writing making a positive impact on how black and minority races are portrayed in mainstream horror fiction.
A keen musician, Nuzo plays both the piano and guitar and has her own self-publishing company, Canaan-Star publishing. Her book, The Reluctant Dead (2014), introduced modern African Horror into the mainstream Horror genre. Her other books include Unhallowed Graves (2015) The Sleepless (2016) and Dead Corpse (2017). Nuzo lives in Coventry and is a member of the Coventry Writing Group.
About the Miskatonic Institute:
The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies is an international organization that offers university-level history, theory and production-based masterclasses for people of all ages, founded by film writer and programmer Kier-La Janisse in March 2010, with regular branches in London, New York and Los Angeles as well as presenting special events worldwide.