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THE PORTAL FOR AFRICAN LITERATURES, WRITERS, AND FILMS

African continent is replete with brilliant writers, filmmakers, and artisans that are world-renowned. The main objective of indigokafe is to showcase and present African writers and filmmakers worldwide.

 

 

 

 

“Books and all forms of writing have always been objects of terror to those who seek to suppress the truth.” -Wole Soyinka, The Man Died: The Prison Notes of Wole Soyinka.

Disclaimer

Debo Kotun: Cafeafricana is no longer affiliated with Debo Kotun, Labalabamedia, Labalabarediffusion Theatre, and the Courtyard. Debo Kotun is not a Professor/Communications Scholar as indicated by Guardian Newspaper in Nigeria (Arts Section dated March 6, 2010).

Books by Esiaba Irobi

 

Funmi Tofowomo Photography

 

Literatures:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lancement du livre "Partis trop tôt, Trop loin,L'EXIL" de Ndack Kane

Book Launch Party

Phoenix Author : Ndack Kane
Title of the Book : L'Ex il (The Exile)

In October 2009, Phoenix Press Internatinoal organized a book signing event for its Canadian author Ndack Kane.  The event, which was held at the prestigious Pub Quartier Latin restaurant, was hosted by media personality Khady Beye and attracted 200 people.

 

 

The Secret History of Las Vegas: A Novel
by Chris Abani (Author)

Before he can retire, Las Vegas detective Salazar is determined to solve a recent spate of murders. When he encounters a pair of conjoined twins with a container of blood near their car, he’s sure he has apprehended the killers, and enlists the help of Dr. Sunil Singh, a South African transplant who specializes in the study of psychopaths. As Sunil tries to crack the twins, the implications of his research grow darker. Haunted by his betrayal of loved ones back home during apartheid, he seeks solace in the love of Asia, a prostitute with hopes of escaping that life. But Sunil’s own troubled past is fast on his heels in the form of a would-be assassin.

Suspenseful through the last page, The Secret History of Las Vegas is Chris Abani’s most accomplished work to date, with his trademark visionary prose and a striking compassion for the inner lives of outsiders.

About the Author

Chris Abani is the acclaimed author of GraceLand and The Virgin of Flames. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Hemingway/PEN Prize, the PEN Beyond the Margins Award, the Hurston Wright Award, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship, among many honors. Born in Nigeria, he is currently a Board of Trustees Professor of English at Northwestern University. He lives in Chicago.

African Writers Series

Wole Soyinka on Chinua Achebe:

"So let me now speak as a teacher. It is high time these illiterates were openly instructed that Achebe and Soyinka inhabit different literary planets, each in its own orbit. If you really seek to encounter and dialogue with Chinua Achebe in his rightful orbit, then move out of the Nigerian entrapment and explore those circuits coursed by the likes of Hemingway. Or Maryse Conde. Or Salman Rushdie. Think Edouard Glissant. Think Ngugi wa Thiong'o. Think Earl Lovelace. Think Jose Saramago. Think Bessie Head. Think Syl Cheney-Coker, Yambo Ouologuem, Nadine Gordimer. Think Patrick Chamoiseau. Think Toni Morrison. Think Hamidou Kane. Think Shahrnush Parsipur. Think Tahar Ben Jelloun. Think Naguib Mahfouz and so on and on along those orbits in the galaxy of fiction writers. In the meantime, let us quit this indecent exercise of fatuous plaints, including raising hopes, even now, with talk of “posthumous conferment, when you know damned well that the Nobel committee does not indulge in such tradition. It has gone beyond ‘sickening'. It is obscene and irreverent. It desecrates memory. The nation can do without these hyper-active jingoists....My literary tastes are eclectic, sustainable, and unapologetic."- Wole Soyinka.

Reading List-Indigokafe:

Varamo: Cesar Aira (Author) Chris Andrews (Translator)

The surprising, magnificent story of a Panamanian government employee who, one day, after a series of troubles, writes the celebrated masterwork of modern Central American poetry.Unmistakably the work of Cesar Aira, Varamo is about the day in the life of a hapless government employee who, after wandering around all night after being paid by the Ministry in counterfeit money, eventually writes the most celebrated masterwork of modern Central American poetry, The Song of the Virgin Boy . What is odd is that, at fifty years old, Varamo “hadn't previously written one sole verse, nor had it ever occurred to him to write one.

Representations of the Intellectual: Edward W. Said (Author)

In this series of essays, based on his 1993 Reith Lectures, Edward Said explores what it means to be an intellectual today. It is, he argues, the intellectual's role to represent a message or view not only to, but for, a public, and to do so as an outsider - someone who cannot be co-opted by a government or corporation. Interweaving literature, history and philosophy, Said describes and demonstrates how the intellectual must remain a dissenter, never putting solidarity before criticism, and speak from the margins for both the people and the issues which are routinely forgotten or ignored.

Near to the Wild Heart: Clarice Lispector (Author) Benjamin Moser (Translator)

This new translation of Clarice Lispector's sensational first book tells the story of a middle class woman's life from childhood through an unhappy marriage and its dissolution to transcendence. Near to the Wild Heart, published in Rio de Janeiro in 1943, introduced Brazil to what one writer called “Hurricane Clarice a twenty-three-year-old girl who wrote her first book in a tiny rented room and then baptized it with a title taken from Joyce: “He was alone, unheeded, near to the wild heart of life. The book was an unprecedented sensation the discovery of a genius. Narrative epiphanies and interior monologue frame the life of Joana, from her middle-class childhood through her unhappy marriage and its dissolution to transcendence, when she proclaims: “I shall arise as strong and comely as a young colt.

The Fortunes of Wangrin: Amadou Hampate Ba (Author) Aina Pavolini Taylor (Translator) with an Introduction by F. Abiola Irele

A searing fictional indictment of colonialism and its corruption of both its French citizens and African subjects, this novel written by the late Malian scholar presents the life of Wangrin, a child of great intellect and promise, who veers from the traditional customs of his West African society to embrace the worst characteristics of his foreign benefactors.

Memoirs of a Porcupine: Alain Mabackou (Author)

All human beings, says an African legend, have an animal double. Some doubles are benign, others wicked. This legend comes to life in Alain Mabanckou's outlandish, surreal, and charmingly nonchalant Memoirs of a Porcupine . When Kibandi, a boy living in a Congolese village, reaches the age of 11, his father takes him out into the night and forces him to drink a vile liquid from a jar that has been hidden for years in the earth. This is his initiation. From now on, he and his double, a porcupine, become accomplices in murder.

Soulstrom: Clarice Lispector (Author) Alexis Levitin (Translator)

The twenty-none stories in Soulstorm were originally published in two separate volumes in 1974 A Via Crucis do Corpo ( The Stations of the Body ) and Onde Estivestes de Noite ( Where You Were at Night )—and are now combined and sensitively translated into English by Alexis Levitan. The realm of Lispector's fiction is the inner life; self-knowledge is her main concern. Like James Joyce's Dubliners, her protagonists live small, stifled lives, often unaware of their own suffering, but her lucid and richly textured narratives allow us, the readers, the epiphanies that they themselves are denied.

 

A NAME IS MORE THAN THE TYRANNY OF TASTE: By Wole Soyinka
Text of a Keynote Address Delivered at the CODESRIA-Guild of African Filmmakers- FESPACO workshop on: Pan-Africanism: Adapting African Stories/Histories from Text to Screen 25 & 26 February 2013 Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

 

 


 Three Strong Women by Marie NDiaye

Publication Date: August 7, 2012

Synopsis

In this new novel, the first by a black woman ever to win the coveted Prix Goncourt, Marie NDiaye creates a luminous narrative triptych as harrowing as it is beautiful.

This is the story of three women who say no: Norah, a French-born lawyer who finds herself in Senegal, summoned by her estranged, tyrannical father to save another victim of his paternity; Fanta, who leaves a modest but contented life as a teacher in Dakar to follow her white boyfriend back to France, where his delusional depression and sense of failure poison everything; and Khady, a penniless widow put out by her husband's family with nothing but the name of a distant cousin (the aforementioned Fanta) who lives in France, a place Khady can scarcely conceive of but toward which she must now take desperate flight.

With lyrical intensity, Marie NDiaye masterfully evokes the relentless denial of dignity, to say nothing of happiness, in these lives caught between Africa and Europe. We see with stunning emotional exactitude how ordinary women discover unimagined reserves of strength, even as their humanity is chipped away. Three Strong Women admits us to an immigrant experience rarely if ever examined in fiction, but even more into the depths of the suffering heart.

Review

Starred Review: Library Journal, Kirkus Book Reviews

“A writer of the highest caliber…NDiaye is a hypnotic storyteller with an unflinching understanding of the rock-bottom reality of most people's lives…Clearsightedness—combined with her subtle narrative sleights of hand and her willingness to broach essential subjects—gives her fiction a rare integrity that shines through the sinuous prose…Through the distorting lenses of madness and deprivation, NDiaye manages nonetheless to convey a redemptive realism about how the world works, and what makes people tick…A masterpiece of narrative ingenuity, Three Strong Women is the poised creation of a novelist unafraid to explore the extremes of human suffering.” —Fernanda Eberstadt, The New York Times Book Review (Cover review)

“A tenuously linked tripartite novel that is more than the sum of its parts is a hard act to pull off. Marie NDiaye, one of France's most exciting prose stylists and playwrights, succeeds with elegance, grit and some painful comedy in Three Strong Women …Its three heroines have an unassailable sense of their own self-worth, while their psychological battles have an almost mythic resonance…The prose compels with astonishing range and precision.” —Maya Jaggi, The Guardian (UK)

“NDiaye's quiet intelligence is made apparent by the complexity of her characters and her intuitive prose in this subtly beautiful novel.” — Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Marie NDiaye was born in Pithiviers, France, in 1967; spent her childhood with her French mother (her father was Senegalese); and studied linguistics at the Sorbonne. She started writing when she was twelve or thirteen years old and was only eighteen when her first work was published. In 2001 she was awarded the prestigious Prix Femina literary prize for her novel Rosie Carpe, and in 2009, she won the Prix Goncourt for Three Strong Women .

 

 

Marie NDiaye, lauréate du prix goncourt, s'exprime dans Interlignes sur "Trois femmes puissantes"


NW: A Novel by Zadie Smith

Publication Date: September 4, 2012

Synopsis:

This is the story of a city.

The northwest corner of a city. Here you'll find guests and hosts, those with power and those without it, people who live somewhere special and others who live nowhere at all.  And many people in between.

Every city is like this. Cheek-by-jowl living. Separate worlds.

And then there are the visitations: the rare times a stranger crosses a threshold without permission or warning, causing a disruption in the whole system. Like the April afternoon a woman came to Leah Hanwell's door, seeking help, disturbing the peace, forcing Leah out of her isolation…

Zadie Smith's brilliant tragi-comic new novel follows four Londoners - Leah, Natalie, Felix and Nathan – as they try to make adult lives outside of Caldwell, the council estate of their childhood. From private houses to public parks, at work and at play, their London is a complicated place, as beautiful as it is brutal, where the thoroughfares hide the back alleys and taking the high road can sometimes lead you to a dead end.

Depicting the modern urban zone – familiar to town-dwellers everywhere – Zadie Smith's NW is a quietly devastating novel of encounters, mercurial and vital, like the city itself.

Review

"A triumph... As Smith threads together her characters' inner and outer worlds, every sentence sings." – The Guardian

About the Author

ZADIE SMITH was born in north-west London in 1975. She is the author of White Teeth , The Autograph Man , On Beauty , and the essay collection Changing My Mind .


A Bit of Difference by Sefi Atta

Publication Date: September 20, 2012

"Atta, winner of the Wole Soyinka Prize for African Literature for 'Everything Good Will Come' (2006), delivers on the promise of her well-received early work with this breakout which is at once an American successor to classic Nigerian literature and a commentary on how the English-speaking world reads Africa. Lagos born Deola Bello enjoys her job in the London office of an international charity organization, but sees how her home country is sold abroad and is all too aware of the Western attitudes that cling to her African friends, like the intellectual Bandele and the born-again Subu, while shaping the perception of her English schoolfellows and American colleagues. But unlike Bandele, Deola still considers herself Nigerian, and a trip home to visit her widowed mother and testy, troubled siblings—all coping with the legacy of their autocratic father—provides Atta with the opportunity to examine the realities of modern African life, from HIV to the upwardly-mobile Diaspora. Like Teju Cole's 'Open City', Deola's story is low on drama but rich in life, though Atta's third-person voice makes less for a portrait of a mind in transit than a life caught in freeze-frame, pinned between two continents and radiating pathos. Wholly believable, especially in its nuanced approach to racial identity, the story feels extremely modern while excelling at the novelist's traditional task: finding the common reality between strangers and rendering alien circumstances familiar." —Publishers Weekly, starred review

A new novel from the winner of the Wole Soyinka Prize for African Literature

Synopsis:

At thirty-nine, Deola Bello, a Nigerian expatriate in London, is dissatisfied with being single and working overseas. Deola works as a financial reviewer for an international charity, and when her job takes her back to Nigeria in time for her father's five-year memorial service, she finds herself turning her scrutiny inward. In Nigeria, Deola encounters changes in her family and in the urban landscape of her home, and new acquaintances who offer unexpected possibilities. Deola's journey is as much about evading others' expectations to get to the heart of her frustration as it is about exposing the differences between foreign images of Africa and the realities of contemporary Nigerian life. Deola's urgent, incisive voice captivates and guides us through the intricate layers and vivid scenes of a life lived across continents. With Sefi Atta's characteristic boldness and vision, A Bit of Difference limns the complexities of our contemporary world. This is a novel not to be missed.

Sefi Atta is the author of two previous novels, Swallow and Everything Good Will Come , and a collection of short stories, News from Home , all published by Interlink Books. She has been awarded the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa and the NOMA Award for Publishing in Africa. Her novels have been published around the world and translated into numerous languages, and her radio and stage plays have been performed internationally. She was born in Lagos and now lives in Mississippi.

Advance praise for Sefi Atta's A Bit of Difference

“Atta's splendid writing sizzles with wit and compassion. This is an immensely absorbing book. —Chika Unigwe, author of On Black Sisters Street

“An up-close portrait of middle-class Nigeria exploring the boundaries of morals and public decorum. Pitched between humor and despair, with stripped-down, evocative prose, A Bit of Difference bristles with penknife-sharp dialogue, but its truths are more subtle, hiding in the unspoken. Ultimately, A Bit of Difference explores —with a hint of mischief—the problem of how to look like you have no problems when you have abundant problems—the universal problem of the socially-motivated classes.
  —Nii Parkes, author of Tail of the Blue Bird

“Sefi Atta's prose is as clear as water and just as vital. This novel of complex psychologies speaks at close range in a near whisper. Writers of casually accomplished novels rarely need to shout.
Colin Channer, author of Waiting in Vain and The Girl with the Golden Shoes

 

Sefi Atta


There Was A Country: A Personal History of Biafra by Chinua Achebe

Publication Date: October 11, 2012

From the legendary author of Things Fall Apart comes a longawaited memoir about coming of age with a fragile new nation, then watching it torn asunder in a tragic civil war

The defining experience of Chinua Achebe's life was the Nigerian civil war, also known as the Biafran War, of 19671970. The conflict was infamous for its savage impact on the Biafran people, Chinua Achebe's people, many of whom were starved to death after the Nigerian government blockaded their borders. By then, Chinua Achebe was already a world-renowned novelist, with a young family to protect. He took the Biafran side in the conflict and served his government as a roving cultural ambassador, from which vantage he absorbed the war's full horror. Immediately after, Achebe took refuge in an academic post in the United
States, and for more than forty years he has maintained a considered silence on the events of those terrible years, addressing them only obliquely through his poetry. Now, decades in the making, comes a towering reckoning with one of modern Africa's most fateful events, from a writer whose words and courage have left an enduring stamp on world literature.

Achebe masterfully relates his experience, bothas he lived it and how he has come to understand it. He begins his story with Nigeria's birth pangs and the story of his own upbringing as a man and as a writer so that we might come to understand the country's promise, which turned to horror when the hot winds of hatred began to stir. To read There Was a Country is to be powerfully reminded that artists have a particular obligation, especially during a time of war. All writers, Achebe argues, should be committed writers—they should speak for their history, their beliefs, and their people.

Marrying history and memoir, poetry and prose, There Was a Country is a distillation of vivid firsthand observation and forty years of research and reflection. Wise, humane, and authoritative, it will stand as definitive and reinforce Achebe's place as one of the most vital literary and moral voices of our age. Review Chinua Achebe's history of Biafra is a meditation on the condition of freedom. It has the tense narrative grip of the best fiction. It is also a revelatory entry into the intimate character of the writer's brilliant mind and bold spirit. Achebe has created here a new genre of literature -- Nadine Gordimer About the Author Chinua Achebe was born in Nigeria in 1930. He has published novels, short stories, essays, and children's books. His volume of poetry Christmas in Biafra was the joint winner of the first Commonwealth Poetry Prize. Of his novels, Arrow of God won the New Statesman-Jock Campbell Award, and A nthills of the Savannah was a finalist for the 1987 Booker Prize. Things Fall Apart , Achebe's masterpiece, has been published in fifty different languages and has sold more than ten million copies internationally since its first publication in 1958. Achebe is the recipient of the Nigerian National Merit Award, Nigeria's highest award for intellectual achievement. In 2007, he won the Man Booker International Prize.

 

Chinua Achebe Interview on CNN's African Voices Part 2/3

 

Mr. Fox: By Helen Oyeyemi

Review:

"A sly, tender, and elegant novel, graced with a magical charm that makes its wisdom about love and loss all the more captivating to read. Mr. Fox is a novel for those who love stories and who believe in their singular power to alter and heal our fragile souls."
-Dinaw Mengestu, author of The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears and How to Read the Air

"A wonderfully original novel, full of images and turns of phrase so arresting, so vivid and inventive, its pages almost glow with them. Helen Oyeyemi has given us a work of playful charm and serious narrative pleasure."
-Sarah Waters

Synopsis:

From a prizewinning young writer, a brilliant and inventive story of love, lies, and inspiration.

Fairy-tale romances end with a wedding, and the fairy tales don't get complicated. In this book, the celebrated writer Mr. Fox can't stop himself from killing off the heroines of his novels, and neither can his wife, Daphne. It's not until Mary, his muse, comes to life and transforms him from author into subject that his story begins to unfold differently.

Mary challenges Mr. Fox to join her in stories of their own devising; and in different times and places, the two of them seek each other, find each other, thwart each other, and try to stay together, even when the roles they inhabit seem to forbid it. Their adventures twist the fairy tale into nine variations, exploding and teasing conventions of genre and romance, and each iteration explores the fears that come with accepting a lifelong bond. Meanwhile, Daphne becomes convinced that her husband is having an affair, and finds her way into Mary and Mr. Fox's game. And so Mr. Fox is offered a choice: Will it be a life with the girl of his dreams, or a life with an all-too-real woman who delights him more than he cares to admit?

The extraordinarily gifted Helen Oyeyemi has written a love story like no other. Mr. Fox is a magical book, endlessly inventive, as witty and charming as it is profound in its truths about how we learn to be with one another.

About the Author

Helen Oyeyemi is the author of The Icarus Girl ; The Opposite House, which was a nominee for the 2008 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award; and White Is for Witching, which won a 2010 Somerset Maugham Award.

 


Half Blood Blues: By Esi Edugyan

Review

"Packs a powerful emotional punch... Fine writing, subtle characterisation and a convincing portrayal of place and period mark out this engaging first work, reminiscent of early VS Naipaul' - Guardian 'Edugyan's language is supple, wry and at turns sensuous. This intricately worked narrative heralds an excellent new voice' - Chris Abani, author of GraceLand"

Synopsis

Chip told them not to go out. Said don't you boys tempt the devil, but the cheap beer in his gut made Hieronymus think a glass of milk would be worth the risk. Of course Chip was right, and the star musician on the European scene was taken away that night by the Boots. An easy target, being a mixed-race German. Fifty years later, Sidney, the only witness that day, is going back. He swore he wouldn't, but Chip always was persuasive. Full of surprises too, like the mysterious letter he kept a secret that begins Sid's slow journey towards redemption. Esi Edugyan's novel weaves the horror of betrayal, the burden of loyalty and the possibility that, if you don't tell your story, someone else might tell it for you. And they just might tell it wrong...

About the Author

Esi Edugyan has degrees from the University of Victoria and Johns Hopkins University. Her work has appeared in several anthologies, including Best New American Voices 2003. Her debut novel, written when she was 25, The Second Life of Samuel Tyne, was published internationally. She currently lives in Victoria, British Columbia.

 


 

One Day I Will Write About This Place: By Binyavanga Wainaina

Synopsis

A groundbreaking and wide-angled memoir by the acclaimed Kenyan Caine Prize winner Binyavanga Wainaina

Binyavanga Wainaina tumbled through his middle-class Kenyan childhood out of kilter with the world around him. This world came to him as a chaos of loud and colorful sounds: the hair dryers at his mother's beauty parlor, black mamba bicycle bells, mechanics in Nairobi, the music of Michael Jackson—all punctuated by the infectious laughter of his brother and sister, Jimmy and Ciru. He could fall in with their patterns, but it would take him a while to carve out his own.

In this vivid and compelling debut memoir, Wainaina takes us through his school days, his mother's religious period, his failed attempt to study in South Africa as a computer programmer, a moving family reunion in Uganda, and his travels around Kenya. The landscape in front of him always claims his main attention, but he also evokes the shifting political scene that unsettles his views on family, tribe, and nationhood.

Throughout, reading is his refuge and his solace. And when, in 2002, a writing prize comes through, the door is opened for him to pursue the career that perhaps had been beckoning all along. A series of fascinating international reporting assignments follow. Finally he circles back to a Kenya in the throes of postelection violence and finds he is not the only one questioning the old certainties.

Resolutely avoiding stereotype and cliché, Wainaina paints every scene in One Day I Will Write About This Place with a highly distinctive and hugely memorable brush.

About the Author

Binyavanga Wainaina is the founding editor of Kwani? , a leading African literary magazine based in Kenya. He won the 2002 Caine Prize for African Writing, and has written for Vanity Fair , Virginia Quarterly , Granta , and The New York Times . Wainaina directs the Chinua Achebe Center for African Writers and Artists at Bard College.

 

On Black Sisters Street: By Chika Unigwe

Synopsis:

On Black Sisters Street tells the haunting story of four very different women who have left their African homeland for the riches of Europe—and who are thrown together by bad luck and big dreams into a sisterhood that will change their lives.

Each night, Sisi, Ama, Efe, and Joyce stand in the windows of Antwerp's red-light district, promising to make men's desires come true—if only for half an hour. Pledged to the fierce Madam and a mysterious pimp named Dele, the girls share an apartment but little else—they keep their heads down, knowing that one step out of line could cost them a week's wages. They open their bodies to strangers but their hearts to no one, each focused on earning enough to get herself free, to send money home or save up for her own future.

Then, suddenly, a murder shatters the still surface of their lives. Drawn together by tragedy and the loss of one of their own, the women realize that they must choose between their secrets and their safety. As they begin to tell their stories, their confessions reveal the face in Efe's hidden photograph, Ama's lifelong search for a father, Joyce's true name, and Sisi's deepest secrets—-and all their tales of fear, displacement, and love, concluding in a chance meeting with a handsome, sinister stranger.

On Black Sisters Street marks the U.S. publication debut of Chika Unigwe, a brilliant new writer and a standout voice among contemporary African authors. Raw, vivid, unforgettable, and inspired by a powerful oral storytelling tradition, this novel illuminates the dream of the West—and that dream's illusion and annihilation—as seen through African eyes. It is a story of courage, unity, and hope, of women's friendships and of bonds that, once forged, cannot be broken.

Praise for On Black Sisters Street

“ [‘On Black Sisters Street' is] boiling with a sly, generous humor . Unigwe is as adept at conveying the cacophony of a Nigerian bus as she is at suggesting the larger historical events that propel her characters. ‘On Black Sisters Street' marks the arrival of a latter-day Thackeray, an Afro-Belgian writer who probes with passion, grace and comic verve the underbelly of our globalized new world economy.”
-- The New York Times Book Review (*an Editors Choice selection in the 5/10 NYTBR)

“Powerful....The author's raw voice, unflinching eye for detail, facility for creating a complex narrative, and affection for her characters make this a must read.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Gripping....As Unigwe tells her characters' stories in interweaving narratives and time lines, the women embody depths of fear and displacement, as well as the will to survive and prosper."
-- Booklist

“A novel of desperation, sexual exploitation, and, ultimately, sisterhood. … Unigwe has a talent for capturing the dashed dreams of young women who are stronger than they imagine. … The women's personal stories are wrenchingly memorable.”
Library Journal

“In her English-language debut, the Nigerian-born Unigwe convincingly exposes an unfamiliar world without sentimentality. Capable drama that puts a human face on the scourge of human trafficking.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Spellbinding…combines a storyteller's narrative flair with a reporter's eye for grim, gritty details about the sex industry. … Nigerian-born Unigwe crafts her characters' voices with crystalline prose and compassion, in a revelatory work as tough, humane and unsentimental as its heroines.”
MORE Magazine

“Chika Unigwe's ON BLACK SISTERS STREET is a grand and compassionate and moving work of art . The best fiction succeeds when it allows a reader to open a door, step into a different world, look about and say, finally, I feel and know this place and these people as if I have visited many times before. Ms. Unigwe has done that for us with all the men and women of her new novel. We owe her much praise and much gratitude.”
— Edward P. Jones, winner of the Pulitzer Prize

"Powerfully and gently, Unigwe gives voice to African women who walk the streets of their nightmares and dreams."
--Sefi Atta, author of Everything Good Will Come

“Chika Unigwe brings an ethnographic eye and masterful storytelling to bear on this complex portrait of African sex workers in Antwerp.  Her startlingly physical prose offers a fresh look at lives made and unmade between Europe and Africa.”
--Mateo Taussig-Rubbo, University of Buffalo

“Chika Unigwe has evoked a chilling, brutal, and terrifying world with warmth, compassion, and courage. The voices of degraded African women are clearly heard, their bodies vividly rendered, their sorrows deeply understood, and their humanity ultimately realized. On Black Sisters Street is a dark tale luminously told, a stunningly moving book.”—Lee Siegel, author of Love in a Dead Language

“Chika Unigwe writes with moral urgency nourished by a nuanced understanding of the human condition and prose that is elegantly calibrated. And for all the dark turns her work takes, On Black Sisters Street is suffused with warmth, hard-won wisdom, and a deep compassion.”—Chris Abani, author of Becoming Abigail and Song for Night

“A probing and unsettling exploration of the many factors that lead African women into prostitution in Europe . . . an important and accomplished novel that leaves a strong aftertaste. Unigwe gives voice to those who are voiceless . . . and bestows dignity on those who are stripped of it.”— The Independent

About the Author:

Chika Unigwe was born in Nigeria and now lives in Belgium with her husband and four children. She was a 2008 UNESCO-Aschberg fellow and a 2009 Rockefeller Foundation fellow (at the Bellagio Center), and she holds a Ph.D. from the University of Leiden. She is the recipient of several awards for her writing, including first prize in the 2003 BBC Short Story Competition and a Commonwealth Short Story Competition award. In 2004 she was shortlisted for the Caine prize for African Writing. Her stories have been on BBC World Service and Radio Nigeria. Her first novel, De Feniks , was published in Dutch in 2005.

 

 

 

One on One - Wole Soyinka

 

 

Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away: By Christine Watson

Synopsis:

When their mother catches their father with another woman, twelve year-old Blessing and her fourteen-year-old brother, Ezikiel, are forced to leave their comfortable home in Lagos for a village in the Niger Delta, to live with their mother's family. Without running water or electricity, Warri is at first a nightmare for Blessing. Her mother is gone all day and works suspiciously late into the night to pay the children's school fees. Her brother, once a promising student, seems to be falling increasingly under the influence of the local group of violent teenage boys calling themselves Freedom Fighters. Her grandfather, a kind if misguided man, is trying on Islam as his new religion of choice, and is even considering the possibility of bringing in a second wife.
   

But Blessing's grandmother, wise and practical, soon becomes a beloved mentor, teaching Blessing the ways of the midwife in rural Nigeria. Blessing is exposed to the horrors of genital mutilation and the devastation wrought on the environment by British and American oil companies. As Warri comes to feel like home, Blessing becomes increasingly aware of the threats to its safety, both from its unshakable but dangerous traditions and the relentless carelessness of the modern world. Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away is the witty and beautifully written story of one family's attempt to survive a new life they could never have imagined, struggling to find a deeper sense of identity along the way.

Review

“A sure-footed debut narrated by 12-year-old Blessing, a girl growing up too fast in the troubled Niger Delta.” — People Magazine

“[An] impressive debut…Watson's nuanced portrayal of daily life in Nigeria is peopled with flawed but tenacious characters who fight not only for survival but for dignity. Blessing is a wonderful narrator whose vivid impressions enliven Watson's sensual prose.” — Publishers Weekly , starred review

“[An] absorbing first novel, told through the eyes of the bright and observant Blessing…a memorable debut novel about a Nigerian girl's coming of age.” — Kirkus Reviews

“Confronting issues of race, class, and religion, this work ponders idealistic ignorance in a way that is reminiscent of Chinua Achebe's No Longer at Ease . Watson's story will appeal to readers of African and literary fiction.” — Library Journal

“Through the lens of young girl's coming-of-age, this breakthrough novel views the politics of contemporary Nigeria, portraying the clash between traditional and modern as it affects one extended family.” — Booklist

“A first novel that knows how to tell a story, concocting a voice that lures us. Perfect pitch is not reserved for musicians; some novelists have it, too. From the very first page of her very first book, Christie Watson proves she possesses it, creating a voice that tells a tale we can't put down.” — Barnes and Noble Review

“An excellent novel. It takes the reader deep into the reality of ordinary life in Nigeria and is also funny, moving and politically alert.” —Giles Foden, author of The Last King of Scotland

“Christie Watson's debut novel, set in the troubled Niger Delta, does what fiction does best, it captures place and characters so well that you feel you are also there. It is sincere, it is powerfully written, and it deserves to be read.” —Helon Habila, author of Oil on Water , winner of the Commonwealth Prize

“Watson has written an immensely absorbing novel. It is both heart wrenching and consoling.” —Chika Unigwe, author of On Black Sisters' Street

“A fascinating, poignant story that had me laughing in places and deeply moved in others.” —Ike Anya

“Lyrical and beautifully drawn, a poignant coming-of-age tale, set in an Africa few readers will have experienced. A must-read.” —Lesley Lokko, author of Sundowners , Saffron Skies , and Bitter Chocolate

“The gripping, triumphant tale of a girl who chooses life over loss, in a sweet but savage world where oil is bled from the earth.” —Lola Shoneyin, author of The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives

About the Author

Christie Watson trained as a pediatric nurse at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London and worked as a senior staff nurse and educator for over ten years before joining the University of East Anglia for her MA in Creative Writing. There she won the Malcolm Bradbury Bursary for her work. Watson lives in South London with her Nigerian Muslim partner and their large dual-heritage family. This is her first novel.

 

Open City: By Teju Cole

From Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Possibly the only negative thing to say about Cole's intelligent and panoramic first novel is that it is a more generous account of the recent past than the era deserves. America's standing in the world is never far from the restless thoughts of psychiatry resident Julius, a Nigerian immigrant who wanders Manhattan, pondering everything from Goya and the novels of J.M. Coetzee to the bankruptcy of Tower Records and the rise of the bedbug epidemic. In other words, it is an ongoing reverie in the tradition of W.G. Sebald or Nicholson Baker, but with the welcome interruptions of the friends and strangers Julius meets as he wanders Penn Station, the Upper West Side, and Brussels during a short holiday, and amid discussions of Alexander Hamilton, black identity, and the far left--a truly American novel emerges. Julius pines over a recent ex, mourns the death of a friend, goes to movies, concerts, and museums, but above all he ruminates, and the picture of a mind that emerges in lieu of a plot is fascinating, as it is engaged with the world in a rare and refreshing way. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

 

 

Review

Open City is a meditation on history and culture, identity and solitude. The soft, exquisite rhythms of its prose, the display of sensibility, the lucid intelligence, make it a novel to savour and treasure.”—Colm Toibin, author of The Master and Brooklyn

“The pages of Open City unfold with the tempo of a profound, contemplative walk through layers of histories and their posthumous excavations. The juxtaposition of encounters, seen through the eyes of a knowing flâneur, surface and then dissolve like a palimpsest composed, outside of time, by a brilliant master.”—Rawi Hage, author of Cockroach and De Niro's Game , winner of the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award

Open City is not a loud novel, nor a thriller, nor a nail-biter. What it is is a gorgeous, crystalline, and cumulative investigation of memory, identity, and erasure. It gathers its power inexorably, page by page, and ultimately reveals itself as nothing less than a searing tour de force. Teju Cole might just be a W. G. Sebald for the twenty-first century.”—Anthony Doerr, author of The Shell Collector

"Fascinating . . . [an] intelligent and panoramic first novel . . . engaged with the world in a rare and refreshing way."
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"One of the most intriguing novels you'll likely read. . . [it] reads like Camus's The Stranger ." -- Library Journal

  "Masterful." – Kirkus , starred reviewSynopsis: “The past, if there is such a thing, is mostly empty space, great expanses of nothing, in which significant persons and events float. Nigeria was like that for me: mostly forgotten, except for those few things that I remembered with outsize intensity.”

Along the streets of Manhattan, a young Nigerian doctor doing his residency wanders aimlessly. The walks meet a need for Julius: they are a release from the tightly regulated mental environment of work, and they give him the opportunity to process his relationships, his recent breakup with his girlfriend, his present, his past. Though he is navigating the busy parts of town, the impression of countless faces does nothing to assuage his feelings of isolation.

But it is not only a physical landscape he covers; Julius crisscrosses social territory as well, encountering people from different cultures and classes who will provide insight on his journey—which takes him to Brussels, to the Nigeria of his youth, and into the most unrecognizable facets of his own soul.

A haunting novel about national identity, race, liberty, loss, dislocation, and surrender, Teju Cole's Open City seethes with intelligence. Written in a clear, rhythmic voice that lingers, this book is a mature, profound work by an important new author who has much to say about our country and our world.

About the Author:

Teju Cole was raised in Nigeria and came to the United States in 1992. He is a writer, photographer, and professional historian of early Netherlandish art. Open City is his first novel. He lives in New York City.

 

 

 

Reflections on Southern Africa

by P.T. Zeleza & G. Emeagwali

Professor Gloria Emeagwali interviews Paul Tiyambe Zeleza, a novelist,literary critic, historian and distinguished professor. In 2009 Professor Zeleza served as the President of the African Studies Association of the United States. Prof. Zeleza is now the Dean of the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts and Presidential Professor of African American Studies and History at Loyola Marymount University. 

 

 

 

 

 

The Memory of Love: By Aminatta Forna

Adrian Lockheart is a psychologist escaping his life in England. Arriving in Freetown in the wake of civil war, he struggles with the intensity of the heat, dirt and dust, and with the secrets this country hides. Despite the gulf of experience and understanding between them, Adrian finds unexpected friendship in a young surgeon at the hospital, the charismatic Kai Mansaray, and begins to build a new life just as Kai makes plans to leave.

In the hospital Adrian encounters an elderly and unwell man, Elias Cole, who is reflecting on his past, not all of it noble. Recorded in a series of notebooks are memories of his youth, the optimism of the first moon landings, and the details of an obsession: Saffia, a woman he loved, and Julius, her fiery, rebellious husband.

As their individual stories entwine across two generations in a country torn apart by repression and war, some distances cannot be bridged. The Memory of Love is a towering tale of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, superbly realised and beautifully written, horrifying and exhilarating, unflinching and tender, moving and uplifting. It is the story of four lives colliding; a story about friendship, about understanding, absolution and the indelible effects of the past; about journeys and dreams and loss, and about the very nature of love.

About the Author:

Aminatta Forna was born in Glasgow and raised in Sierra Leone and the United Kingdom. She is the award-winning author of The Memory of Love , Ancestor Stones and The Devil that Danced on the Water .

Her new novel The Memory of Love (Bloomsbury), published in April 2010, is a story about friendship, war and obsessive love. It has been selected as one of the Best Books of the Year by the Sunday Telegraph , Financial Times and Times .

 

 

 

 

Voice of America: By E.C. Osondu

Synopsis:

An electrifying debut from a winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing

E. C. Osondu is a fearless and passionate new writer, whose stories echo the joys and struggles of a cruel, beautiful world. His characters burst from the page—they fight, beg, love, grieve, but ultimately they are dreamers. Set in Nigeria and the United States, Voice of America moves from the fears and dreams of boys and girls in villages and refugee camps to the disillusionment and confusion of young married couples living in America, and then back to bustling Lagos.

In "Waiting," two young refugees make their way through another day, fighting for meals and hoping for a miracle that will carry them out of the camp; in "A Simple Case," the boyfriend of a prostitute is rounded up by the local police and must charm his fellow prisoners for protection and survival; and in "Miracle Baby," the trials of pregnancy and mothers-in-law are laid bare in a woman's return to her homeland. Each of the eighteen stories here possesses a voice at once striking and elegant, capturing the dramatic lives of an unforgettable cast of characters.

Written with exhilarating energy and warmth, the stories of Voice of America are full of humor, pathos, and wisdom, marking the debut of an extraordinary new talent.

Review:

“A man with a clear head and a great ear, writing from crucial places.” (Jonathan Franzen )

“Osondu's excellent short stories, set in both Nigeria and the U.S., reveal the vast cultural chasm that persists between our countries. . . . These richly shaded tales explore old ways and new, wealth and poverty, myth, and misapprehension.” ( Booklist )

“A big-hearted story collection. . . . Meticulous and energetic, these stories brim with stubborn hope sprung free from life's dark realities.” ( Elle )

“Osondu looks at the human condition in all its poignant absurdity; with observant wonder and subtle humor, he portrays our capacity for heartbreak, resilience, love, courage, sorrow, and most of all, our unique capacity for hope and hopelessness rolled together.” (Mary Gaitskill )

“Tinged with hilarity. . . . Osondu juxtaposes the richness and desperation of life ‘on the ground' in Africa with the actualities of the American dream. . . . He goes beyond mere examination to achieve artistry. . . . This book is essential.” ( Library Journal )

“E.C. Osondu has written uncannily direct stories with nothing ‘posed' about them. This is acollection of real power, surprise, and harsh beauty.” (Amy Hempel )

“Compelling. . . . Osondu's direct and humorous insights and poetic descriptions create a captivating portrait of time and place. . . . Whereas the stories set in Nigeria have a fablesque quality, the American-set tales are poignant studies of the immigrant experience.” ( Publishers Weekly )

About the Author:

E. C. Osondu was born in Nigeria. He won the 2009 Caine Prize for African Writing, and his fiction has appeared in The Atlantic . He received his MFA from Syracuse University and currently teaches at Providence College in Rhode Island.

 

 

Bitter Leaf: By Chioma Okereke

Synopsis:


At the heart of this novel is the village of Mannobe and its colourful cast of characters: Babylon, a gifted musician who falls under the spell of the beautiful Jericho who has recently returned from the city; Mabel and M'elle Codon, twin sisters whose lives have taken very different paths; Magdalena, daughter of Mabel, who nurses an unrequited love for Babylon; and Allegory; the wise old man who adheres fiercely to tradition. Bitter Leaf is a richly textured, poetic and evocatively imagined tale about love, and loss, parental and filial bonds, and  everything in between that makes life bittersweet.

About the author:

Chioma Okereke was born in Benin City, Nigeria. She started her writing career as a poet and performed throughout Europe and the United States before turning her hand to fiction. Her work has been shortlisted in the Undiscovered Authors Competition 2006, run by Bookforce UK , and in the Daily Telegraph 's ‘Write a Novel in a Year' Competition in 2007.

 

 

How to Read the Air: By Dinaw Mengestu

Synopsis:

Amazon Best Books of the Month, October 2010 Starred Review. Mengestu (The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears) stunningly illuminates the immigrant experience across two generations. Jonas Woldemariam's parents, near strangers when they marry in violence-torn Ethiopia, spend most of the early years of their marriage separated, eventually reuniting in America, but their ensuing life together devolves into a mutual hatred that forces a contentious divorce. Three decades later, Jonas, himself moving toward a divorce, retraces his parents' fateful honeymoon road trip from Peoria, Ill., to Nashville in an attempt to understand an upbringing that turned him into a man who has "gone numb as a tactical strategy" and become a fluent and inveterate liar--a skill that comes in handy at his job at an immigration agency, where he embellishes African immigrants' stories so that they might be granted asylum. Mengestu draws a haunting psychological portrait of recent immigrants to America, insecure and alienated, striving to fit in while mourning the loss of their cultural heritage and social status. Mengestu's precise and nuanced prose evokes characters, scenes, and emotions with an invigorating and unparalleled clarity. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author:

Dinaw Mengestu was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 1978. He is the recipient of a fellowship in fiction from the New York Foundation for the Arts and a Lannan Literary Award, and received a "5 under 35" Award from the National Book Foundation. His first novel, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears , was named a New York Times Notable Book and awarded the Guardian First Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, among numerous other honors. He lives with his wife and son in Paris.

 

 

 

How To Read The Air, Dinaw Mengestu

 

 

A Fine Madness: By Mashingaidze Gomo

From the Publisher:

"A Fine Madness gives an insider's perspective on the nature of war and the effect on African identities, filling a longstanding gap in the literature of Africa. Gomo combines powerful prose and poetry to reflect on Zimbabwe's struggle for independence. This first novel portrays a warrior who fights in places where the battlefronts keep changing but the enemy remains the same - and foreign influences continue to dictate the direction of his and Africa's future. Where Joseph Conrad saw darkness and death in his Heart of Darkness (set in the Congo of 1902), Gomo's narrative recounts a soldier's recent experiences of war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and documents the suffering of the victims of a bigger continual imperial war over Africa's resources - but this time the victims are recognizable as still human, loving and lovable. Gomo's work is already being compared to African classics such as Franz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth, Aime Cesaire's Discourse on Colonialism and Okot p'Bitek's Song of Lawino, Song of Ocol." "To read A Fine Madness is to plunge into a nightmare of the recent war in the DRC which pitted Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe against Uganda and Rwanda. The narrative is the voice of an airman who participated in the war not only armed with bombs, guns and bullets but also with an encyclopedic imagination steeped in world history and inspired by a Pan Africanist vision. A must read across the globe."---Dr Rino Zhuwarara, Leading Literary Critic. Zimbabwe" "This is a masterful work...I found it powerful, as powerful as the fiction of the early Dambudzo Marechera."---Simon Gikandi, Princeton University, USA." "I had the privilege of being the first white person and first westerner to read Gomo's manuscript. Unable to put it down, I was enchanted, challenged and immediately committed to help find a publisher for this extraordinary work. Serendipity led me to Nana Ayebia Clarke. It is immensely rewarding to have played a small part in introducing this original African philosopher and poet to readers worldwide." Fran Feamley, Managing Director, ZimArt, Canada.

About the Author:

Mashingaidze Gomo was born in 1964 in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), third in a family of eight where he was raised during the struggle for Zimbabwean independence. He joined the Airforce of Zimbabwe in 1984 as an aircraft engines apprentice and later joined 7 Squadron as an Alouette 111 helicopter technician and gunner in Mozambique where Zimbabwean Defence Forces protected the fuel pipelines from Beira during the Mozambique civil war. He returned to the Zimbabwean Airforce School of Technical Training as an instructor in aircraft engines and later served in the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  After the DRC, he completed a BA degree in English and Communications. In 2007, he retired from the Airforce to study for a BA (Hons) degree in Fine Arts (Chinhoyi University of Technology) and to pursue a life in the arts. Gomo is married with three children and lives in Zimbabwe.

 

Books by Nuruddin Farah

 

 

A Sister to Scheherazade: By Assia Djebar

Synopsis:

The story of how Isma and Hajila, wives of the same man, escape from the traditional restraints imposed upon the women of their country.

Isma and Hajila are both wives of the same man, but they are not rivals. Isma - older, vibrant, passionate, emancipated - is in stark contrast to the passive, cloistered Hajila. In alternating chapters, Isma tells her own story in the first person, and then Hajila's in the second person. She details how she escaped from the traditional restraints imposed upon the women of her country - and how, in making her escape, she condemns Hajila to those very restraints. When Hajila catches a glimpse of an unveiled woman, she realized that she, too, wants a life beyond the veil, and it is Isma who offers her the key to her own freedom.

About the Author:

Algerian novelist, translator, and filmmaker, one of North-Africa's best-known and most widely acclaimed writers. Assia Djebar has also published poetry, plays, and short stories, and has produced two films. Djebar has explored the struggle for social emancipation and the Muslim woman's world in its complexities. Several of her works deal with the impact of the war on women's mind. Her strong feminist stance has earned her much praise but also considerable hostility from nationalist critics in Algeria.

Books by Assia Djebar

 

 

 

Souleymane Cissé Forum d'Avignon 2009

 

 

Who Fears Death: By Nnedi Okorafor

Winner: 2008 Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa

Synopsis:

An award-winning literary author presents her first foray into supernatural fantasy with a novel of post-apocalyptic Africa.

In a far future, post-nuclear-holocaust Africa, genocide plagues one region. The aggressors, the Nuru, have decided to follow the Great Book and exterminate the Okeke. But when the only surviving member of a slain Okeke village is brutally raped, she manages to escape, wandering farther into the desert. She gives birth to a baby girl with hair and skin the color of sand and instinctively knows that her daughter is different. She names her daughter Onyesonwu, which means "Who Fears Death?" in an ancient African tongue.

Reared under the tutelage of a mysterious and traditional shaman, Onyesonwu discovers her magical destiny-to end the genocide of her people. The journey to fulfill her destiny will force her to grapple with nature, tradition, history, true love, the spiritual mysteries of her culture-and eventually death itself.

About the Author

Nnedi Okorafor was born in the United States to two Nigerian immigrant parents. She holds a Ph.D. in English and is a professor at Chicago State University. She has been the winner of and finalist for many awards.

 

 

Nnedi Okorafor

 

 

News from Home: By Sefi Atta

Synopsis

From Zamfara up north to the Niger delta down south, with a finale in Lagos, this collection of stories and a novella respond to and amplify the newspaper headlines in a range of Nigerian voices. Men, women, and children speak out to us from these stories, from immigration centers and police barracks, from street corners and maternity wards. Ghanaian writer Mohammed Naseehu Ali says, Sefi Atta "writes like one who has lived the life of each single character in her dazzling collection of short stories."

 

Reviews

"With this collection of stories, Soyinka Prize-winning author Sefi Atta consolidates her position as one of the leading writers of her generation. The stories... are written with quiet virtuosity... What we get from Atta are compulsively readable tales, leavened with a sly wit and a generous vision."--Teju Cole, author of Every Day is for the Thief --Teju Cole

"Sefi Atta is a brilliant artist, who writes as if she knows her characters personally...great stories. I have been very touched by the beauty and diversity and depth of these stories"--Uwem Akpan, author of Say You're One of Them --Uwem Akpan

Winner of the 2009 NOMA Award for Publishing in Africa

About the Author

Sefi Atta was born in Lagos, Nigeria. In 2006, her debut novel Everything Good Will Come was awarded the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa.

 

 

Sefi Atta

 

Beneath the Lion's Gaze: by Maaza Mengiste

Synopsis

An epic tale of a father and two sons, of betrayals and loyalties, of a family unraveling in the wake of Ethiopia's revolution. This memorable, heartbreaking story opens in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 1974, on the eve of a revolution. Yonas kneels in his mother's prayer room, pleading to his god for an end to the violence that has wracked his family and country. His father, Hailu, a prominent doctor, has been ordered to report to jail after helping a victim of state-sanctioned torture to die. And Dawit, Hailu's youngest son, has joined an underground resistance movement—a choice that will lead to more upheaval and bloodshed across a ravaged Ethiopia.

Beneath the Lion's Gaze tells a gripping story of family, of the bonds of love and friendship set in a time and place that has rarely been explored in fiction. It is a story about the lengths human beings will go in pursuit of freedom and the human price of a national revolution. Emotionally gripping, poetic, and indelibly tragic, Beneath The Lion's Gaze is a transcendent and powerful debut.

From the Back Cover

Advance praise for Beneath the Lion's Gaze:

“With words that make ‘a faint, tender bruise' on the page, and a compassionate imagination that transforms everything it touches on, Maaza Mengiste delivers an important story from a part of Africa too long silent in the World Republic of Letters.”—Chris Abani, author of GraceLand and The Virgin of Flames

"What a beautiful book! After a few chapters I felt I was a member of this family, a citizen of Ethiopia. Maaza Mengiste is talented and bold and fresh. Already, I'm looking forward to her next book."—Uwe Akpan, author of Say You're One of Them

"Literature from the margins is often too poorly lit for us to see, but Mengiste takes us through this dark political hunt with the night vision of a lion. A novel both tender and brutal, fearless, it is accomplished beyond a first book.”—Dagoberto Gilb, author of The Magic of Blood and The Flowers About the Author Maaza Mengiste was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. A Pushcart Prize nominee, she was named “New Literary Idol” by New York magazine. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

 

 

Maaza Mengiste

 

Toyin Falola: This website is about the universe of Africa and Toyin Falola's place in it: the projection of a continent; the celebration of a community of ideas; service to people; and the various definitions of our shared future.

 

Dreams in a Time of War: By Ngugi wa Thiong'o

Synopsis

By the world-renowned novelist, playwright, critic, and author of Wizard of the Crow, an evocative and affecting memoir of childhood.

Ngugi wa Thiong'o was born in 1938 in rural Kenya to a father whose four wives bore him more than a score of children. The man who would become one of Africa's leading writers was the fifth child of the third wife. Even as World War II affected the lives of Africans under British colonial rule in particularly unexpected ways, Ngugi spent his childhood as very much the apple of his mother's eye before attending school to slake what was then considered a bizarre thirst for learning.

In Dreams in a Time of War , Ngugi deftly etches a bygone era, capturing the landscape, the people, and their culture; the social and political vicissitudes of life under colonialism and war; and the troubled relationship between an emerging Christianized middle class and the rural poor. And he shows how the Mau Mau armed struggle for Kenya's independence against the British informed not only his own life but also the lives of those closest to him.

Dreams in a Time of War speaks to the human right to dream even in the worst of times. It abounds in delicate and powerful subtleties and complexities that are movingly told.

About the Author

Ngugi wa Thiong'o is Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine. His books include Wizard of the Crow, Petals of Blood, Devil on the Cross, and Decolonising the Mind.

 

 

 

 

Summertime: By J.M. Coetzee

Synopsis

Shortlisted for the 2009 Man Booker Prize

A brilliant new work of fiction from the Nobel Prize-winning author of Disgrace and Diary of a Bad Year

A young English biographer is researching a book about the late South African writer John Coetzee, focusing on Coetzee in his thirties, at a time when he was living in a rundown cottage in the Cape Town suburbs with his widowed father-a time, the biographer is convinced, when Coetzee was finding himself as a writer. Never having met the man himself, the biographer interviews five people who knew Coetzee well, including a married woman with whom he had an affair, his cousin Margot, and a Brazilian dancer whose daughter took English lessons with him. These accounts add up to an image of an awkward, reserved, and bookish young man who finds it hard to make meaningful connections with the people around him.

Summertime is an inventive and inspired work of fiction that allows J.M. Coetzee to imagine his own life with a critical and unsparing eye, revealing painful moral struggles and attempts to come to grips with what it means to care for another human being. Incisive, elegant, and often surprisingly funny, Summertime is a compelling work by one of today's most esteemed writers.

About the Author

J.M. Coetzee 's work includes Waiting for the Barbarians, Life & Times of Michael K, Foe, and Slow Man , among others. He has been awarded many prizes, including the Booker Prize (twice). In 2003, he received the Nobel Prize for Literature.

 

African Writing Online

 

 

Snakepit: By Moses Isegawa

Synopsis:

The author of 2000's Abyssinian Chronicles sets another ambitious narrative of trouble and turmoil near the end of Idi Amin's dictatorship in Uganda, a country "like a madwoman of untold beauty; efforts to save her were bound to be doomed." Bat Katanga, native son and recent postgraduate student at Cambridge University, returns to Uganda to seek his fortune during the chaotic scramble for economic independence and personal enrichment in the 1970s. His education and intelligence immediately—albeit slightly improbably—land him a high-level job in the Ministry of Power and Communications, working for the bloodthirsty, power-hungry General Bazooka, head of the corrupt Anti-Smuggling Unit. The notorious excesses and infighting of the Amin regime are detailed from General Bazooka's perspective as well as that of several others, including beautiful Victoria, the general's former mistress who's now angling for Bat, and mercenary Englishman Robert Ashes, who intends to come out on top, no matter what the cost. When Bat is intimidated into taking a bribe from a Saudi official, the general, whose own standing is in question, has him abducted. In prison, Bat, who is nearly as calculating and Machiavellian as his employers, is forced to re-evaluate everything. Even after his release, the downward trajectory of his life continues, while the country itself plunges toward anarchy. This is a headlong and blurry novel filled with violence and sex, deceit and revenge—a messy, captivating portrait of a desperate time and place. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Author spotlight:

Moses Isegawa was born in Uganda and worked as a history teacher before leaving for the Netherlands in 1990. He is the author of Abyssinian Chronicles . He lives in Amsterdam.

 

 

An Elegy for Easterly: Petina Gappah

Synopsis

A woman in a township in Zimbabwe is surrounded by throngs of dusty children but longs for a baby of her own; an old man finds that his new job making coffins at No Matter Funeral Parlor brings unexpected riches; a politician's widow stands quietly by at her husband's funeral, watching his colleagues bury an empty casket. Petina Gappah's characters may have ordinary hopes and dreams, but they are living in a world where a loaf of bread costs half a million dollars, where wives can't trust even their husbands for fear of AIDS, and where people know exactly what will be printed in the one and only daily newspaper because the news is always, always good.

In her spirited debut collection, the Zimbabwean writer Petina Gappah brings us the resilience and inventiveness of the people who struggle to live under Robert Mugabe's regime. She takes us across the city of Harare, from the townships beset by power cuts to the manicured lawns of privilege and corruption, where wealthy husbands keep their first wives in the “big houses” while their unofficial second wives wait in the “small houses,” hoping for a promotion.

Despite their circumstances, the characters in An Elegy for Easterly are more than victims—they are all too human, with as much capacity to inflict pain as to endure it. They struggle with the larger issues common to all people everywhere: failed promises, unfulfilled dreams, and the yearning for something to anchor them to life.

About the Author

Petina Gappah's writing has appeared in Prospect , Farafina , Per Contra , The Guardian , the Zimbabwe Times , PEN America , and Transition . She currently works in Geneva as an international trade lawyer.

 

 

In Dependence: By Sarah Ladipo Manyika

Synopsis

It is the early-sixties when a young Tayo Ajayi sails to England from Nigeria to take up a scholarship at Oxford University. In this city of dreaming spires, he finds himself among a generation high on visions of a new and better world. The whole world seems ablaze with change: independence at home, the Civil Rights movement and the first tremors of cultural and sexual revolutions. It is then that Tayo meets Vanessa Richardson, the beautiful daughter of an ex-colonial officer. "In Dependence" is Tayo and Vanessa's story of a brave but bittersweet love affair. It is the story of two people struggling to find themselves and each other a story of passion and idealism, courage and betrayal, and the universal desire to fall, madly, deeply, in love.

About the Author

Sarah was raised in Nigeria and has lived in Kenya, France and England. She is married to a Zimbabwean and currently resides in the United States where she lectures in English literature at San Francisco State University. Sarah holds a Ph.D. in Education with a focus on Africa and the African Diaspora.

 

 

White is for Witching: By Helen Oyeyemi

Book Description:
" Miranda is at home homesick, home sick..."

As a child, Miranda Silver developed pica, a rare eating disorder that causes its victims to consume nonedible substances. The death of her mother when Miranda is sixteen exacerbates her condition; nothing, however, satisfies a strange hunger passed down through the women in her family. And then there's the family house in Dover, England, converted to a bed-and-breakfast by Miranda's father. Dover has long been known for its hostility toward outsiders. But The Silver House manifests a more conscious malice toward strangers, dispatching those visitors it despises. Enraged by the constant stream of foreign staff and guests, the house finally unleashes its most destructive power.

With distinct originality and grace, and an extraordinary gift for making the fantastic believable, Helen Oyeyemi spins the politics of family and nation into a riveting and unforgettable mystery.

About the Author
HELEN OYEYEMI is the author of The Icarus Girl and The Opposite House , which The Times (London) named as one of “best novels of the year” and was recently shortlisted for the 2008 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for fiction. She is currently at work on her fourth novel.

Reviews:

"Helen Oyeyemi is a startling literary prodigy." — The Washington Post Book World

"There's an intellectual sharpness about the author's writing which is a pleasure to read." — Financial Times

"Oyeyemi displays the young writer's amazing sure-handedness that is far beyond her years." —Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"Helen Oyeyemi leaves you obsessed with her characters and in awe of her talent." — Glamour

 

 

The Gunny Sack: By M.G. Vassanji

Synopsis:

This first novel by a Nairobi-born writer raised in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania celebrates the spirit of Asian pioneers, Muslims from India who moved to East Africa in the early 1900s. Living under German colonial rule, the family of Dhanji Govindji become permanent residents of Africa while witnessing historical events that result in the birth of African nationalism. Vassanji has created a family memoir, a coming-of-age story that looks at the past with affection and understanding. He shows that the hopes and dreams of Indian immigrants were essentially the same as those of Europeans who passed through Ellis Island: education for their children and a more prosperous future for the next generation.

Reviews:
“Vassanji is one of the country's finest storytellers.”
Quill & Quire

“Vassanji captures a wide and authentic perspective that ranks with V. S. Naipaul and Graham Greene.”
The Times (London)

About the Author:

M.G. Vassanji was born in Kenya and raised in Tanzania. Before coming to Canada in 1978, he attended MIT and the University of Pennsylvania, where he specialized in theoretical nuclear physics. From 1978 to 1980 he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Atomic Energy of Canada, and from 1980 to 1989 he was a research associate at the University of Toronto. During this period he developed a keen interest in medieval Indian literature and history. Vassanji is the author of six novels and two collections of short stories. His work has appeared in various countries and several languages. His most recent novel, The Assassin's Song , was shortlisted for both the Giller Prize and the Governor General's Prize for best novel in Canada. He has twice won the Giller Prize for fiction and is a member of the Order of Canada.

 

 

 

 

Grandma's Sun: A Childhood Memoir from Africa: By Tayo Olafioye

The narrative describes the author's birth and childhood in Igbotako, education and career at the University of Lagos and at universities in the States. Throughout, the author is concerned with the historical junctures and social and cultural changes in postcolonial Nigeria.

Tayo Olafioye is a poet, novelist and scholar, active in Nigeria and the united States. He has won prizes for his volumes of poetry, which include Sorrows of a Town Crier (1988) and Bush Girl Comes to Town (1988). His other publications include The Excellence of Silence, the Saga of Sego (1982) and two works of literary criticism: Responses to Creativity (1988) and critic as Terrorist: Views on New African Writings (1989). His most recent collections are entitled A Carnival of Looters (2000) and The Parliament of Idiots (2002), both published by Kraft Books, Nigeria. This is the author's semi-fictional autobiography, written in the third person, following in the tradition of Camara Laye's African Child, Wole Soyinka's trilogy (Ake, Isara, Ibadan) and Tanure Ojaide's Great Boys: An African Childhood. The narrative describes the author's birth and childhood in Igbotako, education and career at the University of Lagos and at universities in the States. Throughout, the author is concerned with the historical junctures and social and cultural changes in postcolonial Nigeria.

Books by Tayo Olafioye

 

 

Poems of Black Africa: Edited by Wole Soyinka

Abangira - G. Adali-Mortty - Costa Andrade - Jared Angira - Peter Anyang' Nyong'o - Kofi Awoonor - Kwesi Brew - Dennis Brutus - Siraman Cissoko - J. P. Clark - José Craveirinha - Viriato da Cruz - Bernard Dadié - Kaoberdiano Dambara - Joe de Graft - Solomon Deressa - Noémia de Sousa - Birago Diop - David Diop - Mbella Sonne Dipoko - - Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin - Armando Guebuza - Ismael Hurreh - Antonio Jacinto - Paulin Joachim - Charles Kabuto Kabuye - W. Kamera - JoMarcelino dos Santos nathan Kariara - Amin Kassam - Yusuf O. Kassam - Keorapetse Kgositsile - Kittobbe - Mazisi Kunene - Kojo Gyinaye Kyei - Taban Lo Liyong - Stephen Lubega - Theo Luzuka - Valente Malangatana - Ifeanyi Menkiti - Mindelense - Oswald Mbuyiseni Mtshali - Agostinho Neto - Athru Nortje - Richard Ntiru - Atukwei Okai - Gabriel Okara - Christopher Okigbo - Yambo Ouloguem - Frank Kobina Parkes - Okot p'Bitek - Lenrie Peters - Rabérivelo - Isaac Rammopo - Jorge Rebelo - Arnaldo Santos - L. S. Senghor - Onésimo Silveira - Wole Soyinka - J.-B. Tati-Loutard - Bahadur Tejani - B. S. Tibenderana - Enoch Tindimwebwa - Kalu Uka - Tchicaya U Tam'si - Okogbule Wonodi:--Wikipedia

 

 

 

The Vine with Henry Louis Gates Jr.: Wole Soyinka

 

 

Waiting: By Goretti Kyomuhendo

Set during the last year of the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin's brutal regime, Waiting exposes the fear and courage of a small, close-knit community uncertain of what the edicts of a madman and the marauding of his uncontrollable army will bring with each coming day. As Amin's war with Ugandan exiles and the Tanzanian army comes to an end, one family learns what it takes to survive and eventually to plan for a new life.

Goretti Kyomuhendo won the Uganda National Literary Award for Best Novel of the Year in 1999. She currently directs FEMRITE, a women's publishing house in Uganda.


Biography:

Kyomuhendo (1965- ) was born and raised in Hoima, Western Uganda. She started writing in 1992 for Kampala-based newspapers and has since expanded in writing fiction; she has published four novels. Kyomuhendo also co-founded FEMRITE, a women's publishing house, and is currently working as their Program Coordinator.

 

Artisans:

Nigerian Artists of the Oshogbo School: Paintings by Yinka Adeyemi, Adeniyi Adeyemi, and Kola Adeyemi

 

Yinka Adeyemi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

African Colours:

AfricanColours is the premier internet space for the promotion of contemporary African art since 2000. With a central office in Nairobi, its work is supported by representatives  in Africa, Europe & America.

Ezekiel Madiba's Python Dance: Woodcut Print (1984)

 

 

Tail of the Blue Bird: By Nii Ayikwei Parkes

Synopsis:

Sonokrom, a village in the Ghanaian hinterland, has not changed for thousands of years. Here, the men and women speak the language of the forest, drink aphrodisiacs with their palm wine and walk alongside the spirits of their ancestors. The discovery of sinister remains – possibly human, definitely 'evil' – and the disappearance of a local man brings the intrusion of the city in the form of Kayo; a young forensic pathologist convinced that scientific logic can shatter even the most inexplicable of mysteries.

As events in the village become more and more incomprehensible, Kayo and his sidekick, Constable Garba, find that Western logic and political bureaucracy are no longer equal to the task in hand. Strange boys wandering in the forest, ghostly music in the night and a flock of birds that come from far away to fill a desolate hut with discarded feathers take the newcomers into a world where, in the unknown, they discover a higher truth that leaves scientific explanations far behind.

Tail of the Blue Bird is a story of the clash and clasp between old and new worlds. Lyrically beautiful, at once uncanny and heart-warmingly human, this is a story that tells us that at the heart of modern man there remains the capacity to know the unknowable.

 

 

Nii Ayikwei Parkes talks to Bola Mosuro on BBC Network Africa

 

 

Harvest of Thorns: By Shimmer Chinodya

From Publishers Weekly
The revolution that ended white minority rule in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) is seen here chiefly through the eyes of Benjamin Tichafa, a young guerrilla. He is the son of a devoutly religious couple, his father a government messenger completely subservient to his white superiors. Enraged by the treatment of blacks, a teenage Benjamin turns from his parents' apolitical religion. After being arrested in a demonstration, he joins the revolution. The novel is enriched by the viewpoints of black Rhodesians who, out of fear or for economic reasons, do not fully support the struggle. The slaying of a dictatorial white farm owner dismays his foreman, whose livelihood is now threatened. The fatal beating of a woman who reluctantly informed on the guerrillas raises misgivings in Benjamin's outfit. Though ultimately portraying the victory as worthwhile, Chinodya also shows the price paid in lives, tattered families and lost traditions. The result is a humane and penetrating look at a brutal government and a bloody revolution. This is the first of the Zimbabwean author's works to be published here.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review
“Zimbabwe has fine black writers and Shimmer Chinodya is one of the best. Harvest of Thorns brilliantly pictures the transition between the old white dominated Southern Rhodesia, through the Bush War, to the new black regime. It is a brave book, a good strong story, and it is often very funny. People who know the country will salute its honesty, but I hope newcomers to African writing will give this book a try. They won't be disappointed.”–Doris Lessing

About the Author
Shimmer Chinodya was born in Gweru in 1957 and was educated at Goromonzi High School and the University of Zimbabwe, where he studied literature and education. He gained an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Iowa, USA, in 1985, a year after he had attended the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University. He is the author of several books including Harvest of Thorns, for which he won the Commonwealth Writers Prize in 1990. His short story "Can We Talk", included in Can We Talk and Other Stories, was shortlisted for The Caine Prize for African Writing in 2000. Other works by Shimmer Chinodya: Dew in the Morning (1982) (Available in the AWS in 2001) Farai's Girls (1984) Child of War (published under the name of B. Chirasha) (1985). Chinodya has worked extensively as a curriculm developer, materials designer, editor and screen writer. He has been awarded various fellowships abroad and from 1995 to 1997 was the Distinguished Visiting Professor in creative writing at St. La

 

 

The Thing Around Your Neck: By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Product Description

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie burst onto the literary scene with her remarkable debut novel, Purple Hibiscus, which critics hailed as “one of the best novels to come out of Africa in years” (Baltimore Sun ), with “prose as lush as the Nigerian landscape that it powerfully evokes” ( The Boston Globe ); The Washington Post called her “the twenty-first-century daughter of Chinua Achebe.” Her award-winning Half of a Yellow Sun became an instant classic upon its publication three years later, once again putting her tremendous gifts—graceful storytelling, knowing compassion, and fierce insight into her characters' hearts—on display. Now, in her most intimate and seamlessly crafted work to date, Adichie turns her penetrating eye on not only Nigeria but America, in twelve dazzling stories that explore the ties that bind men and women, parents and children, Africa and the United States.

In “A Private Experience,” a medical student hides from a violent riot with a poor Muslim woman whose dignity and faith force her to confront the realities and fears she's been pushing away. In “Tomorrow is Too Far,” a woman unlocks the devastating secret that surrounds her brother's death. The young mother at the center of “Imitation” finds her comfortable life in Philadelphia threatened when she learns that her husband has moved his mistress into their Lagos home. And the title story depicts the choking loneliness of a Nigerian girl who moves to an America that turns out to be nothing like the country she expected; though falling in love brings her desires nearly within reach, a death in her homeland forces her to reexamine them.

Searing and profound, suffused with beauty, sorrow, and longing, these stories map, with Adichie's signature emotional wisdom, the collision of two cultures and the deeply human struggle to reconcile them. The Thing Around Your Neck is a resounding confirmation of the prodigious literary powers of one of our most essential writers.

 

Tales of Freedom: By Ben Okri

Synopsis:


As one of Britain's foremost poets, Ben Okri is rightly acclaimed for his use of language. And as a Booker Prize winning novelist, this skill was shown to particular effect in both "Starbook" (his most recent work) and in "The Famished Road". In "Tales of Freedom" he brings both poetry and story together in a fascinating new form, using writing and image pared down to their essentials, where haiku and story meet. Thus we discover Pinprop, the slave to an old couple lost in a clearing, who holds the keys to the universe in his quirky hands. Then there is the beautifully dressed black Russian on the train, helping to film a new version of "Eugene Onegin". Later, in the chaos of the aftermath of war, orphaned children paint mysterious shapes of bulls, birds, hybrid creatures, and we wonder if grief has unhinged them into genius...And who is that woman, who hardly speaks, who presses a tiny flower into the palm of the young boy on the bus, and then leaves his life forever?"Tales of Freedom" offers a haunting necklace of images which flash and sparkle as the light shines on them. Quick and stimulating to read, but slowly burning in the memory, they offer a different, more transcendent way of looking at our extreme, gritty world - and show the wealth of freedom that's available beyond the confines of our usual perceptions.

About the Author
Ben Okri has published 8 novels, including The Famished Road and Starbook, as well as collections of poetry, short stories and essays. His work has been translated into more than 20 languages. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and has been awarded the OBE as well as numerous international prizes, including the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Africa, the Aga Khan Prize for Fiction and the Chianti Rufino-Antico Fattore. He is a Vice-President of the English Centre of International PEN and was presented with a Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum. He was born in Nigeria and lives in London.

 

The Trial of Dedan Kimanthi: By Ngugi wa Thiong'o and Micere Githae Mugo

Ngugi and Micere Mugo have built a powerful and challenging play out of the circumstances surrounding the trial of one of the celebrated leaders of the Mau Mau revolution.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the United States of Africa:

By Abdourahman A. Waberi (Author), Percival Everett (Foreword), David Ball (Translator), Nicole Ball (Translator)

Book Description:
In a literary reversal as deadly serious as it is wickedly satiric, this novel by the acclaimed French-speaking African writer Abdourahman A. Waberi turns the fortunes of the world upside down. On this reimagined globe a stream of sorry humanity flows from the West, from the slums of America and the squalor of Europe, to escape poverty and desperation in the prosperous United States of Africa. It is in this world that an African doctor on a humanitarian mission to France adopts a child. Now a young artist, this girl, Malaïka, travels to the troubled land of her birth in hope of finding her mother—and perhaps something of her lost self. Her search, at times funny and strange, is also deeply poignant, reminding us at every moment of the turns of fate we call truth. (20080922).

Reviews:

"Surreal and Provocative....Highly Recommended."-Editor, Cafeafricana


"Along with the impertinent funny stuff that peppers the text, this book is above all a philosophical tale that gives a caustic critique of contemporary civilization through a distorting mirror."-Le Devoir

"Exhilarating and instructive. . . . This is a powerful, courageous, inventive novel."-Le Matricule des Anges


Starbook: By Ben Okri

Okri's vision pervades every page and a vision so spiritualised, so peculiarly optimistic, will not be to everyone's taste. There is not a shadow of cynicism or knowingness here; the ironic, the distanced, are remarkable by their absence. But it is the imaginative generosity and peculiar purity of the writing that continually touch the heart. Here is a prose with a tender tread, alive to human frailty. 'The king loved to watch over sleeping beings. Often he wandered the kingdom at night, watching over his sleeping subjects ... the good and the bad all slept in the same way, under the mercy of immense forces, under the mercy of the ultimate mysteries.' Starbook is a novel at 'the mercy of ultimate mysteries'. Okri does not wish to solve or reduce these mysteries, he reveres them too much for that, and instead seduces the reader with a rapt recounting of the infinite within the particular.---Ben Brown,The Observer.

 

 

 

Tribute to Iya Adunni Susan Wenger, 1915 - 2009

 

 

 

The House of Hunger: By Dambudzo Marechera

Synposis

This volume features startling stories of distinction by a remarkable writer who vividly describes the township squalor of growing up in settler-exploited Rhodesia.

"This man is a marvelous writer. From the first page you have to salute a fromidable talent. A black man who has sufferred all the stupid brutalities of the white oppression in Rhodesia-now Zimbabwe-his rage explodes, not in political rhetoric, but in afusion of lyricism, wit, obscenity. Incredible that such a poweful indictment should also be so funny. If this is his first book, what may we not hope from his next...and his next?"--Doris Lessing

 

Every Day is for the Thief: By Teju Cole

Every Day is for the Thief is an account of a Nigerian in the diaspora who returns home after many years abroad. The book gains its strength as much from its subject matter (contemporary Lagosian life as experienced by a visiting former resident) as from its prose style (reminiscent of John Berger and J.M. Coetzee). Teju Cole's nuanced book explores themes as diverse as the minor joys of daily Lagosian existence and the crudities of contemporary forms of corruption. His work is both a critique and a message of hope to a Nigeria rapidly in transformation.-Amazon

 

 

 

Ben Okri discusses his approach to writing

 

 

Source: JL, Reference Department
Indiana University Libraries
September 1997

 

Bibliography

Books by Dambudzo Marechera

 

 

 

The Education of a British-Protected Child (Essays): By Chinua Achebe

Synopsis:

From the celebrated author of Things Fall Apart and winner of the Man Booker International Prize comes a new collection of autobiographical essays—his first new book in more than twenty years.

Chinua Achebe's characteristically measured and nuanced voice is everywhere present in these seventeen beautifully written pieces. In a preface, he discusses his historic visit to his Nigerian homeland on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Things Fall Apart , the story of his tragic car accident nearly twenty years ago, and the potent symbolism of President Obama's election. In “The Education of a British-Protected Child,” Achebe gives us a vivid portrait of growing up in colonial Nigeria and inhabiting its “middle ground,” recalling both his happy memories of reading novels in secondary school and the harsher truths of colonial rule. In “Spelling Our Proper Name,” Achebe considers the African-American diaspora, meeting and reading Langston Hughes and James Baldwin, and learning what it means not to know “from whence he came.” The complex politics and history of Africa figure in “What Is Nigeria to Me?,” “Africa's Tarnished Name,” and “Politics and Politicians of Language in African Literature.” And Achebe's extraordinary family life comes into view in “My Dad and Me” and “My Daughters,” where we observe the effect of Christian missionaries on his father and witness the culture shock of raising “brown” children in America.

Charmingly personal, intellectually disciplined, and steadfastly wise, The Education of a British-Protected Child is an indispensable addition to the remarkable Achebe oeuvre.

Biography:

Chinua Achebe was born in Ogidi, Nigeria, the son of a teacher in a missionary school. His parents, though they installed in him many of the values of their traditional Igbo culture, were devout evangelical Protestants and christened him Albert after Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria. In 1944 Achebe attended Government College in Umuahia. Like other major Nigerian writers including Wole Soyinka, Elechi Amadi, John Okigbo, John Pepper Clark, and Cole Omotso, he was also educated at the University College of Ibadan, where he studied English, history and theology. At the university Achebe rejected his British name and took his indigenous name Chinua. In 1953 he graduated with a BA. Before joining the Nigerian Broadcasting Company in Lagos in 1954 he travelled in Africa and America, and worked for a short time as a teacher. In the 1960s he was the director of External Services in charge of the Voice of Nigeria.

Chinua Achebe is the David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University. He was, for over 15 years, the Charles P. Stevenson Jr. Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College. He is the author of five novels, two short-story collections, and numerous other books. In 2007, Achebe was awarded the Man Booker International Prize. He lives with his wife in Providence, Rhode Island.

 

 

Chimamanda Adichie: leitura - FLIP 2008 [áudio original]

 

 

In Arcadia

Dangerous Love

 

   

Songs of Enchantment
 

Astonishing the Gods

 

 

 

 

Writings in Nine Tongues:

For ease of reference, the entries are further organised into the following genres:

The Publishers' Association of South Africa is confident that the Writings in Nine Tongues catalogue, together with this supplement, will serve as a reference for all those interested in literature in the nine African languages of South Africa.

Without the involvement of the publishing houses represented, the production of this supplement would not have been possible. I would like to take this opportunity to thank these publishers and to commend them for their commitment to promoting access to literature in these rich and previously marginalized languages.

 

The Importance of Oriki in Yoruba Mural Art

Praise Poems as Historical Data: The Example of the Yoruba Oriki: By Bolanle Awe

Laudatory Poetry: Yoruba Oriki

Laudatory Poetry: Zulu

 

 

On Writing About Africa - Charlayne Hunter-Gault

 

Africa's 100 Best Books of the 20th Century

List of African Writers by country

African Writers Series: Heinemann

African Writers: Voices of Change

 

Globetrotter & Hitler's  Children: By Amatoritsero Ede

Reviews

“A startling new voice in Canadian letters.” —Olive Senior, author of Shell

"Ede has the warmth of William Carlos Williams and the analytical power of Malcolm X.”—George Elliott Clarke, author of George & Rue

Amatoritsero Ede was born in Nigeria and has won various awards for his poetry. He lives in Canada.


About the Author
Amatoritsero Ede, born in Nigeria, worked as an editor at Spectrum Books, a major Nigerian publisher. His previous poetry collections have won various awards, including the ANA All Africa Christopher Okigbo Prize for Literature (endowed by Wole Soyinka, Nigerian Nobel Laureate for literature). His writing also appears in various anthologies and he was the 2005-2006 Writer-in-Residence at Carleton University.

Chris Abani, curator of Akashic's Black Goat poetry imprint, is a Nigerian poet and novelist and the author of Song for Night, The Virgin of Flames, Becoming Abigail, and GraceLand (a selection of the Today Show Book Club; winner of the 2005 PEN/Hemingway Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award).

 

 

 

The Imprisonment of Obatala & and other plays: By Obotunde Ijimere/Ulli Beier

The Phantom of Nigerian Theatre: By Oyekan Owomoyela

Synopsis:

This volume contains The Imprisonment of Obatala, Everyman and Woyengi, which is based on an Ijaw tale. Obatala is based on a Yoruba myth, which explores the philosophy of Yoruba orisha worship. Everyman is an adaptation of Hugo von Hofmanthal's play, but the basic theme has been rethought entirely in Yoruba terms: thus the Christian mythology of Heaven and Hell has been replaced by the Yoruba concept of reincarnation. Everyman's greatest punishment would be to be "thrown on the heaven of potshers"-that is, never to return to this earth again.

About the Author:
OBOTUNDE IJIMERE was born in Otan Aiyegbaju, western Nigeria, in 1930. After leaving secondary school he joined Duro Ladipo's theatre company, but soon discovered he had no talent for acting. He attended Ulli Beier's extra-mural writers' workshop in Oshogbo, and followed his advice to write in English rather than in Yoruba. Apart from the plays in this volume he has written some short stories (he is not very satisfied with the result) and several other plays, including one in pidgin, The Fall of Man, specially written for Theatre Express, the Lagos-based theatre group.

 

 

 

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:

Speech at the Christopher Okigbo International Conference at Harvard University

 

Black Short Fiction and Folklore:

Folk Stories from Southern Nigeria, West Africa:

 

 

Kofi Anyidoho, Ghana

 

Camwood at Crossroads: By Femi Euba

Synopsis:

A philosophical novel about exploitation, in particular the evangelical factor. Olumofin, a Nigerian Attorney now living in the US, stands at the intersection of culture-crossings implicating the fate of his African identity within the American world, especially that of his intended intimacy with an African-American Creole. In an attempt to come to terms with the past, initiated by present criminal currents in the news media regarding the depraved religious practices of his estranged father, he unleashes, through shifting thought processes that cross from Lagos to New Orleans, the demons of exploitation (humorous as well as tragic) that have defined his colonial upbringing and the cross-cultural paths of his future African-American in-laws.

About the Author:

Professor of Theatre and English at Louisiana State University. Practicing playwright, director, actor and a scholar, Femi Euba received an MFA in Playwriting and Dramatic Literature, and an MA in African-American Studies from Yale, and a doctorate in English Literature from the University of Ife in Nigeria. His plays include the award-winning The Gulf, The Eye of Gabriel and several radio plays for the BBC Radio. Although he began writing short stories at an early age, Camwood at Crossroads as his first novel unreservedly adds fiction to his literary output as a creative artist.

"Highly Recommended! The novel Camwood at Crossroads is a tapestry of words akin to the art-house films of Krzysztof Kieslowski....A superbly written novel, lyrical, and descriptive."--Editor, Indigokafe and Cafeafricana.com

To purchase Camwood at Crossroads: Go to amazon.com

Bibliography of Femi Euba:

 

 

 

Wole Soyinka: By Funmi Iyanda

 

 

Get a Life: By Nadine Gordimer

Synopsis:

Nobel Prize winner Nadine Gordimer follows the inner lives of characters confronted by unforeseen circumstances. Paul Bannerman, an ecologist in South Africa, believes he understands the trajectory of his life, with the usual markers of vocation and marriage. But when he's diagnosed with thyroid cancer and, after surgery, prescribed treatment that will leave him radioactive-and for a period a danger to others-he begins to question, as Auden wrote, "what Authority gives / existence its surprise." As Paul recuperates in the garden of his childhood home, he enters an unthinkable existence and another kind of illumination-a process that will irrevocably change not only his life but the lives of his wife and parents.

"More profound, more searching, more accomplished than what she was writing earlier in her long and distinguished career."
-Los Angeles Times

"Nadine Gordimer's work is endowed with an emotional genius so palpable one experiences it like a finger pressing steadily upon the prose."
-The Village Voice

"A timely novel and a provocative one: a novel to enjoy and ponder, as its characters all do, the dizzying complications inherent in human choice."
-The Washington Times

"I will always be grateful for the presence in the world of Nadine Gordimer, who has delivered in literature a South Africa most of us could not have known without her."
-Gail Caldwell, The Boston Globe

 

 

Plumas en alquiler-Feathers in rent (Wole Soyinka, Nigeria)

 

Lawless & Other Stories: By Sefi Atta

From Zamfara up north to the Niger Delta down south with a finale in Lagos, this collection of stories and a novella are inspired by newspaper headlines and narrated by a range of Nigerian voices. Atta's stories have earned recognition in contests such as the Zoetrope Short Fiction Contest, Glimmer Train's Very Short Fiction Award, Red Hen Press Short Story Award, the PEN International David TK Wong Prize and the Caine Prize.

“The majesty of one woman's spirit provides the backdrop for the opening story: a tale of unrelenting domestic abuse, and institutionalized cruelty and injustice in the name of Sharia. A powerful beginning to a collection of stories structured around greater or lesser violations of God's law or Man's....Finally, after the darkness of the ‘Lawless' stories, ‘The Miracle Worker' was refreshing. At the story's end, the wife's response to her husband's financial ruin made me smile the ‘I give up' smile: sometimes the wit of a story lies in the relentless logic of its ending.” – Olatoun Williams

“With this collection of stories, Soyinka Prize-winning author Sefi Atta consolidates her position as one of the leading writers of her generation. The stories, which take us from Zamfara to Mississippi, with many points in-between, are written with quiet virtuosity. Atta's control of tone is remarkable, especially given that she often takes on subjects—immigration, religion, domestic abuse—that in lesser hands tend to become polemical or preachy. What we get from Atta are compulsively readable tales, leavened with a sly wit and a generous vision.” – Teju Cole author of Every Day is for the Thief

 

 

Decolonizing the Mind: By Ngugi wa Thiong'o

Book Description:


...many of the ideas are familiar from Ngugi's earlier critical books, and earlier lectures, elsewhere. But the material here has a new context and the ideas a new focus. This leading African writer presents the arguments for using African language and forms after successfully using an African language himself' - Anne Walmsley in The Guardian .'...after 25 years of independence, there is beginning to emerge a generation of writers for whom colonialism is a matter of history and not of direct personal experience. In retrospect that literature characterised by Ngugi as 'Afro-European' - the literature written by Africans in European languages - will come to be seen as part and parcel of the uneasy period between colonialism and full independence, a period equally reflected in the continent's political instability as it attempts to find its feet. Ngugi's importance - and that of this book - lies in the courage with which he has confronted this most urgent of issues' - Adewale Maja-Pearce in The New Statesman .

 

 

Acerca del poema de David Constantine (Jack Mapanje, Malawi)


 

Writers:

 

Uwem Akpan June 2008

 

Say You're One of Them: By Uwem Akpan

Book Description:


Nigerian-born Jesuit priest Akpan transports the reader into gritty scenes of chaos and fear in his rich debut collection of five long stories set in war-torn Africa. An Ex-mas Feast tells the heartbreaking story of eight-year-old Jigana, a Kenyan boy whose 12-year-old sister, Maisha, works as a prostitute to support her family. Jigana's mother quells the children's hunger by having them sniff glue while they wait for Maisha to earn enough to bring home a holiday meal. In Luxurious Hearses, Jubril, a teenage Muslim, flees the violence in northern Nigeria. Attacked by his own Muslim neighbors, his only way out is on a bus transporting Christians to the south. In Fattening for Gabon, 10-year-old Kotchikpa and his younger sister are sent by their sick parents to live with their uncle, Fofo Kpee, who in turn explains to the children that they are going to live with their prosperous godparents, who, as Kotchikpa pieces together, are actually human traffickers. Akpan's prose is beautiful and his stories are insightful and revealing, made even more harrowing because all the horror—and there is much—is seen through the eyes of children. (June) Read a web-exclusive q&a with Uwem Akpan at www.publishersweekly.com/akpan. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.----From Publishers Weekly-

 

 

 

Oyiza Adaba Interviews Chinua Achebe Part 1

 

Wole Soyinka Nadine Gordimer J.M. Coetzee Christopher Okigbo
Nobel Laureate 1986 Nobel Laureate 1991 Nobel Laureate 2003 Poet
Nigeria, West Africa South Africa South Africa Nigeria, West Africa

 

 

Diary of a Bad Year: By J.M. Coetzee

Synopsis

Nobelist Coetzee's 19th book features a stand-in for himself: Señor C, a white 72-year-old South African writer living in Australia who has written Waiting for the Barbarians. C falls into a metaphysical passion for his sexy 29-year-old Filipina neighbor, Anya, and quickly plots to spend more time with her by offering her a job as his typist. C's latest project is a series of political and philosophical essays, and Coetzee divides each page of the present novel in three: any given page features a bit of an essay (often its title and opening paragraph) at the top; C's POV in the middle; and Anya's voice at the bottom. C's opinions in the essays are mostly on the left (he despises Bush, Blair & Co., and is opposed to the Iraq War) and they bore Anya, who wants something less lofty. Meanwhile, Anya's lover, Alan—a smart, conservative 42-year-old investment consultant who's good in the sack, and who stands for everything C despises—becomes increasingly scornful and jealous, and eventually concocts an elaborate plan to defraud C. of money. Unfortunately, Anya is little more than a trophy to be disputed, and Alan as an unscrupulous, boorish reactionary is a caricature. While C's essays, especially the later ones inspired by Anya, hold some interest, this follow-up to Slow Year is not one of Coetzee's major efforts. (Jan.)

 

 

Nadine Gordimer on Racism

Books by Helen Oyeyemi

 

Midaq Alley: By Naguib Mahfouz

Synopsis

Never has Nobel Prize-winner Naguib Mahfouz's talent for rich and luxurious storytelling been more evident than in this outstanding novel, first published in Arabic in 1947. One of his most popular books (and considered by many to be one of his best), Midaq Alley centers around the residents of one of the teeming back alleys of Cairo.

 

 

  

On this edition of Conversations with History, UC Berkeley's Harry Kreisler talks with Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka. In an extraordinarily prolific and rich body of work including plays, novels, poems, and essays, Professor Soyinka draws on both Yoruba and western culture to exquisitely weave a subtle understanding of the tragedy and comedy of the human condition. Series: Conversations with History [10/2002] [Humanities] [Show ID: 6797]

 

 

Professsor Ngugi wa Thiong'o

UC Irvine 2008

 

Man Who Came in from the Back of Beyond: By Biyi Bandele:

Book Description:

The relationship between a student and a literary teacher provides the framework for this clever novel-within-a-novel. A teacher, Maude, is enamored of a girl in a bar. He writes the story of her former boyfriend, and Maude's student is the first person to read the novel. Capturing modern Nigeria with its decaying standards, militarism, and poverty, Bandele Thomas's prose also yearns on every page for something good and worth holding onto in society.

 
 

 

 

"The Role of a Scholar in a Postcolonial World." By Ngugi wa Thiong'o.

On March 30 2005, The UO International Studies presented Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Kenyan novelist and human rights activist, speaking on "Planting African Memory: The Role of a Scholar in a Postcolonial World."

 

 

Books by Prof. Oyekan Owomoyela:

 

Ayi Kwei Armah , Amos Tutuola, D.O Fagunwa, Naguib Mahfouz, Chinua Achebe, Toyin Falola

Ama Ata Aidoo, Moses Isegawa, Camara Laye, Kateb Yacine

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Helon Habila, Helen Oyeyemi

 

Films:

“The situation of “reculturization” is a terrible one, because Mexican telenovelas in particular take a majority of space on African TV. A country like Mauritania for the last 10 years produced three films. Sadly, I'm the director of the three films. ”-Abderrahmane Sissako

 

 

The Library of African Cinema: Films from Africa made by Africans offer restorative images and a new film language. The beautiful and sometimes challenging films in this collection not only showcase the works of master filmmakers but also innovative new talents who are embracing video technology. To see Africa through African eyes will break stereotypes and enlighten viewers about life in Africa. --CN

 

 

Global Media @ MIT

 

 

Black Orpheus: Directed by Marcel Camus

Amazon.com
Marcel Camus's 1959 update of the Greek myth features an all-black cast and a story set in the frenetic energy of Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Orpheus, a trolley car conductor and superb samba dancer, is engaged to Mira but in love with Eurydice. For his change of heart, Orpheus and his new doomed lover are pursued by a vengeful Mira and a determined Death through the feverish Carnival night. Camus at once demystifies and remystifies the old story, shifting not only its location but its tone and context, forcing a reevaluation of the legend as a more passionate, pulsing, sensual experience. The film is really one-of-a-kind, an absolute whirl that barely needs words. --Tom Keogh

Product Description
1960 Academy Award Winner and winner of the Palme d'Or at the 1959 Cannes Film Festival, Marcel Camus' Black Orpheus retells the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice against the madness of Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. With its magnificent color photography and lively soundtrack, this film brought the infectious bossa nova beat to the United States. Criterion is proud to present the extended international version of Black Orpheus in a gorgeous new transfer.

 

 

 

Peter Scarlet interviews Abderrahmane Sissako, the director of "Waiting for Happiness." Find out more about the making of this carefully observed film about a young man's return to the traditional Mauritanian village of his youth, and hear more about Sissako's latest film, "Bamako."

 

 

 

Moolaade (2004): Directed by Ousmane Sembene

In an African village this is the day when six 4-9-year-old girls are to be circumcised. All children know that the operation is horrible torture and sometimes lethal, and all adults know that some circumcised women can only give birth by Caesarean section. Two of the girls have drowned themselves in the well to escape the operation. The four other girls seek "magical protection" (moolaadé) by a woman (Colle) who seven years before refused to have her daughter circumcised. Moolaadé is indicated by a coloured rope. But no one would dare step over and fetch the children. Moolaadé can only be revoked by Colle herself. Her husband's relatives persuade him to whip her in public into revoking. Opposite groups of women shout to her to revoke or to be steadfast, but no woman interferes. When Colle is at the wedge of fainting, the merchant takes action and stops the maltreatment. Therefore he is hunted out of the village and, when out of sight, murdered. Written by Max Scharnberg, Stockholm, Sweden

 

 

Hyenas

Mansour Diof e Mamadou Mahourédia Gueye nunha escena do filme "Hyènes" (1992) de Djibril Diop Mambety.

 

 

Genesis: Directed by Cheick Oumar Sissoko

Editor's Note: Cheick Ourmar Sissoko's awe-inspiring GENESIS retells the Biblical feud between brothers Esau and Jacob, of the house of Abraham. Based on the book of Genesis, chapters 33-37, this film examines the intersection of religious devotion, rage, and greed. In the story, Jacob cheats Esau out of a blessing from their father. Esau vows revenge, and the ensuing conflict stirs the threat of an endless loop of violence for both their families and their cousin Hamor. Masterfully directed and photographed, this film provides new depth to its Biblical subject.

 

Carmen Gei (2001):Directed by Joseph Gaï Ramaka

Senegalese director Joseph Gai Ramaka re-imagines Georges Bizet's oft-filmed opera CARMEN--from Preminger's CARMEN JONES to MTV's CARMEN: A HIP-HOPERA--in a joyously sensual, colorful musical set in modern-day Dakar. Karmen Gei (Ramaka's wife, Djeinaba Diop Gai), a stately beauty in tribal robes, leaps and shakes to primal drummers in the seaside town's square, surrounded by cheering townswomen, and trains her seductive powers on Angelique (Stephanie Biddle), the prison warden. When Karmen is arrested, a steamy assignation with Angelique wins her release. Once free, Karmen rapidly sings and dances her way to another conquest--this time, of a high-ranking army officer, Lamine Diop (Magaye Niang). With her endemic charisma and dangerous sexuality, Karmen achieves Lamine's downfall instantaneously--he soon finds himself demoted and jailed. Meanwhile, Karmen's voracious appetite leads her to a new suitor, wealthy balladeer Massigi (El Hadj Ndiaye), who literally sings her out of Lamine's bed. While planning a job with some criminal friends, Karmen has a vision of women in whiteface, the death's head--a warning that her carefree life may be in danger. With primeval drumbeats, haunting music, and a screen-commanding performance by Diop Gai, Ramaka provides a sensual new twist on the Carmen myth.--Movies.com

 

 

Independent filmmaking in Africa

Balufu Bakupa Kanyinda discusses independent filmmaking in Africa at the Here & Now Art & Film Conference. Seated, L to R, are John Akomfrah, CCH Pounder, and Kanyinda.


Waiting for Happiness (2002: Directed by Abderrahmane Sissako

Abderrahmane Sissako (BAMAKO) has established himself as one of Africa's leading filmmakers. This hypnotic tone poem confirms Sissako's talent for capturing the essence of a particular place through evocative imagery, low-key comedy, and close observation of everyday life. In this case, the place is a spectacularly isolated, wind-scoured cluster of adobe buildings perched on a bleached desert plain that ends abruptly at the blue ocean. The lives of its inhabitants, in keeping with this austere environment, are pared down to two basic choices: adaptation or exile. In the latter category is Abdallah, a citified college student who temporarily returns home and, unable to speak or dress like a native, becomes painfully, comically alienated. Opposed to him is Khatra, an alert, curious boy apprenticed to the wizardly local electrician, who demonstrates how apparent oppositions (such as magic/technology, globalization/village life) might be reconciled through improvisation and patience. The precision of Sissako's compositions evokes Antonioni and Ozu, but the loose narrative structure is closer to Altman and Wenders. WAITING FOR HAPPINESS spins its overlapping stories and intersecting characters into a prismatic cascade of enigmas, epiphanies, deadpan gags, and haunting images. J. Hoberman of THE VILLAGE VOICE described the film as 'refreshing as welcome as a cool breeze on a summer afternoon' and David Parkinson of EMPIRE declared 'it's impossible to remain unmoved.'

 

Abderrahmane Sissako

Heremakono - Waiting for Happiness


 

 

 

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