Sunday, July 17, 2016

A letter from Amos Tutuola

Twenty-four years ago, when I was a freshly-minted assistant professor, a colleague and I planned a book project to collect brief essays by writers around the world on the subject of language; it was to be titled "Without Any Rules: The Politics and Poetics of the Vernacular." In the end, we only received a small fraction of the hoped-for contributions, and the project remained incomplete. Some, though, were very kind and enthusiastic -- among these was the late Nigerian writer Amos Tutuola, best known for The Palm-Wine Drinkard and My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. He did indeed send the promised essay, and perhaps someday I'll find a home for it -- but in the meantime I'll always cherish our brief correspondence.

UPDATE: Mr. Tutuola's essay is being published in Transition 120, and the editors plan to use images of the original typescript!