Research and popular imaginative views of Africa in the last few decades have tended to leave out the northern region, even when referring to the continent as a whole. In many academic disciplines, “Africa” and “The Arab World” are mutually exclusive labels, and separating between North and sub-Saharan Africa has become accepted to such an extent that it has shaped our perception of African Studies as a field. How have literatures of the two regions come to be separated and so rarely studied together despite strong links caused by geographic proximity? Why have scholars of African literatures focused largely on sub-Saharan Africa? To begin answering these questions, it is necessary not only to address literary matters—including issues such as the impact of the publishing industry in codifying a canon of African literature, but also to consider factors relating to the political climate of the twentieth century.