São Tomé & Príncipe is located in the Gulf of Guinea just off of the coast of Gabon. Since the 15th century when the islands were colonised by Portugal, they have relied primarily on agricultural exports, including sugar and cocoa. The former Portugese colony gained independence in 1974 and has been a multi-party democracy since 1995. In recent years, the discovery of offshore oil reserves has raised hopes of a economic growth, but has also been a destabilising political factor.
Much of the Lusophone literature from São Tomé & Príncipe remains untranslated, thus making it largely inaccessible to the Anglophone world. Donald Burness' Ossobo is the first English-language work to focus on São Toméan literature. Feminist writer and political activist Alda de Espirito Santo is known in Africa's Portuguese-speaking countries as 'The Mother of the Nation'. Amongst her works are political poems written in memory of those who lost their lives during the 1953 revolt against the Portuguese colonial administration. She also wrote the lyrics of São Tomé & Príncipe's national anthem.
Other notable São Toméan literary figures include poet Conceição Lima, whose post-colonial poetry gives voice to the disillusionment of São Toméan facing continued political instability and repression.Seasons of Harvest is a collection of essays that discuss the oft-overlooked voices of Lusophone African writers.José de Almada Negreiros was a writer and artist who was born in São Tomé and became a key figure in Portuguese modernism.