Date of Completion


Embargo Period



African women writing characters, epistolary, techniques of intimacy, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Uganda, Senegal, Hope Keshubi, J. Nozipo Maraire, Sade Adeniran, addressee, narrator

Major Advisor

Patrick Colm Hogan

Associate Advisor

Lucy McNeece

Associate Advisor

Robert Tilton

Field of Study

Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


This dissertation examines the following six Anglophone and Francophone African diasporic novels: So Long a Letter (Une si longue lettre) by Mariama Bâ (Senegalese), Juletane by Myriam Warner-Vieyra (fifty-year resident of Senegal, originally from Guadeloupe), Imagine This by Sade Adeniran (Nigerian living in the U.K.), Going Solo and To a Young Woman by Hope Keshubi (Ugandan), and Zenzele: A Letter for my Daughter by J. Nozipo Maraire (Zimbabwean living in the U.S.). This dissertation argues that the detailed characterization of the writing narrators cultivates intimacy, making these works worthy of serious literary consideration. Starting from book reviews’ emotional engagement with these texts, it points out literary techniques that create engagement with the writerly narrators. This study examines how the writing characters convey both intellectual and emotional intimacy through their writerly dispositions and their literary techniques such as similes, proverbs, metaphors, images, and literary allusions. H. Porter Abbott’s techniques of writing mimesis, Robyn Warhol’s work on intimacy with the second person address, Joe Bray’s epistolary techniques of representation of consciousness, and cognitive scientist Keith Oatley’s concept of literature as simulation contribute to technique analysis. The women writing characters examine present political and social issues that are roadblocks for women in their societies, such as unjust inheritance laws and traditions in Uganda; AIDS in Uganda; child abuse in Nigeria; braindrain and materialism in Zimbabwe; literacy in West Africa; and discriminatory treatment of the mentally ill in West Africa. Chronicles of African epistolary history and African female writing characters are given.