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Brittle Paper Announces a New African Fantasy Series: Read Part 1 and 2 of Eugene Odogwu’s In The Shadow of Iyanibi

Brittle Paper have announced a new African Fantasy Story Series in which they plan to publish original stories by African authors.

Eugene Odogwu’s story In The Shadow of Iyanibi packs a powerful punch as it kicks off the series. It will be published in three sessions, with the first two parts already delivered.

“Fantasy has a common denominator – imagination. Imagination of the awe inspiring, the amazing, the magical, the otherworldly. Look closely enough and you’ll see that at its core, it’s all the same, just with different names. Magic or Juju, what’s the difference?” Odogwu told Brittle Paper in an interview about being a fantasy writer.

Odogwu also revealed that “Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream was a great influence, Ovid’s The Metamorphoses even more so”.

Originally from Warri, in Southern Nigeria, Odogwu says his love of fantasy was inspired by the place where he grew up. “Anyone who knows anything about Warri knows that fantasy lurks around its every corner. From tales of men transforming into tubers of yam after touching a stray note on the ground, women birthing tortoises, people riding plantain leafs like private jets to tales of giant birds snatching unsuspecting children from school playgrounds. Oh, trust me, fantasy happens everywhere, not only in the dark recesses of ancient woods.”

Read the article to find out more about this author and artist (Odogwu designs beautiful book covers when he is not writing), his views on fantasy and fiction in Africa and his new story series:

Tell us a bit about your new story series. Where did the idea for “In the Shadow of Iyanibi” come from?

I once heard a Yoruba tale about a tree that demanded the first child of a woman who’d come to it for favors. The idea of a malevolent and effeminate tree-creature seemed so fascinating. I had to explore it. As for Iyanibi, it’s a tribute to the thousands of dark and “evil” forests in all forms of literature, folklores and fairytales.

In The Shadow of Iyanibi is a story about a brave and gifted girl named Ihumbi, who is swept up in a series of frightening encounters involving the search for a missing sister in a forest of deep, dark shadows.

Read the first part:

Part 1

Ahu clenched the itosi hanging from her neck, the bird feather charm her father had given them at birth. It was all she could do to contain the anger building up inside her.

“Look at your sister,” the boy said, grinning mockingly. “Sitting on her own and talking to an ija-ja. Who spends all their time talking to a bush baby? She’s crazy too.”

The rest of the children in their age group laughed, some pointing fingers at her sister sitting under a tree and talking to a little creature with huge amber eyes.

“I’m warning you, Tamo,” Ahu hissed through clenched teeth. “I’m warning you, hold your tongue.”

Read part two of In The Shadow of Iyanibi:

Part 2

Ihumbi ran. Her chest burned with each breath she gulped down. Her calves ached each time her feet hit the ground. Her gut felt like it was being ripped from the inside out.

Still, she pushed on. The sound of the asan thrashing about behind her was enough motivation. Its shrill cries and grunts gave her the strength to keep running.

She ran and ran. But her body began to slowdown with each step until she could only flounder about, tired and disoriented.
As she glanced over her shoulder to catch a glimpse of the raging beast, her foot caught against a root. She tumbled forward, headlong into a ditch. Her face was deep in the dark soil before she could even gasp.

According to Brittle Paper, the final part of Odogwu’s story will be published on February 9, with two more series planned for 2015. We can’t wait!

Images courtesy of Brittle Paper


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