African women have played a central role in the development of oral literary traditions of countries of the African Sahel historically, yet very few have actually written works and had them published. Among the few who have recently emerged, some have brought new perspectives on historical and contemporary issues as well as innovative techniques in style and narrative structure. Two novels in particular by contemporary women writers from the African Sahel engage issues of women’s agency and the power of narrative authority to interrogate the structures of intersectionality that impact women’s lives: La Dernière épouse (The Last Wife), by Sanou Bernadette Dao of Burkina Faso, and Mariage on Copie (Images of Marriage), by A?cha Fofana of Mali. These works confront the discursive authority of male fictive texts of the post-colonial experience as their female characters seize la parole (the word) to remap representations of traditional male/female relationships.
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