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Archive for the ‘Africa’ Category

Asymptote’s Winter 2018 issue celebrates the journal’s seventh year and 100th language!

Via Asymptote

Asymptote’s Winter 2018 issue celebrates the journal’s 7th year and 100th language! This edition includes a Microfiction Special Feature full of glittering allegory, along with uncompromising fiction confronting today’s grim realities.

Winner of the 2015 London Book Fair’s International Literary Translation Initiative Award, Asymptote is the premier site for world literature in translation. We take our name from the dotted line on a graph that a mathematical function may tend toward, but never reach. Similarly, a translated text may never fully replicate the effect of the original; it is its own creative act.

Our mission is simple: to unlock the literary treasures of the world. (Watch a video introduction of Asymptote here.) To date, our magazine has featured work from 105 countries and 84 languages, all never-before-published poetry, fiction, nonfiction, drama, and interviews by writers and translators such as J. M. Coetzee, Patrick Modiano, Herta Müller, Can Xue, Junot Díaz, Ismail Kadare, David Mitchell, Anne Carson, Haruki Murakami, Lydia Davis, Ann Goldstein, and Deborah Smith.

In our five years, we have expanded our offerings to include a daily-updated blog, a fortnightly newsletter, a monthly podcast, and educational guides accompanying each quarterly issue; we’ve also organized more than thirty events on five continents. In 2015, Asymptote became a founding member of The Guardian’s Books Network with “Translation Tuesdays”, a weekly showcase of new literary translations that can be read by the newspaper’s 5 million followers. This means that Asymptote is the only translation-centered journal that can boast of a genuinely international readership – reaching beyond niche communities of literary translators and world literature enthusiasts.

Always interested in facilitating encounters between languages, Asymptote presents work in translation alongside the original texts, as well as audio recordings of those original texts whenever possible. Each issue is illustrated by a guest artist and includes Writers on Writers essays introducing overlooked voices that deserve to be better-known in the English speaking world, as well as a wildcard Special Feature that spotlights literature from certain regions or cutting-edge genres such as Multilingual Writing and Experimental Translation. To catalyze the transmission of literature even further, Asymptote also commissions translations of texts into languages other than English, thereby engaging other linguistic communities and disrupting the English-centered flow of information. All the work we publish is then disseminated for free via eight social media platforms in three languages, through a dedicated social media team as well as our ever-expanding network of editors-at-large in six continents.

George Bernard Shaw famously said, “If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange those ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.” It is in this spirit of sharing ideas that Asymptote invites readers to explore work from across the globe.

Incorporated neither in America nor in Europe, unaffiliated with any university or government body, Asymptote does not qualify for many grants that other like institutions receive. If you enjoy our magazine, help us continue our mission by becoming a sustaining member at just $10 a month. In return for pledging at least a year’s support, you’ll receive an Asymptote Moleskine notebook!


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“We think it’s important that the world becomes more aware of what readers in Africa are thinking” – a Q&A with the Johannesburg Review of Books editor, Jennifer Malec

By Carla Lever

Originally published in the Sunday World: 28 January, 2018; Daily Dispatch: 29 January, 2018; Herald: 1 February, 2018. (Nal’ibali Column 3: Term 1).

Jennifer Malec, editor of the Johannesburg Review of Books

 
The Johannesburg Review of Books was introduced to local (and international!) bibliophiles in May 2017. Carla Lever recently conducted an interview with editor, Jennifer Malec, discussing the impact of an African critical voice, why they don’t italicise South African languages in their stories, and how we can get more South Africans to start reading for pleasure:

What is The Johnnesburg Review of Books and how did it come about?

JRB is an independent monthly literary review based in Johannesburg. We publish reviews, essays, poetry, photographs and short fiction from South Africa, Africa and beyond. You can subscribe for free at http://bit.ly/thejrbsubscribe.

There are many hugely respected reviews of books globally – the Paris or New York reviews spring to mind – but this is the first African city to claim a space. What kind of impact does the presence of an African critical voice have?

When a new ‘big’ international book is published, we know very quickly what the ‘big’ literary centres of the world think of it. But there is no city-based literary review in Africa, so we don’t hear the opinions of Lagos, Cairo, Kinshasa and so on. We think it’s important that the world becomes more aware of what readers in Africa are thinking.

What role do you see The JRB playing in global and African cultural debates?

In a global context we like to think we are writing back to centres of power as well as demonstrating the value of African voices.

You have an interesting editorial policy about not italicising South African languages in stories. Can you tell us a little about the thinking behind that?

In South Africa most people understand two if not three or four languages, so the question becomes, to whom are these words ‘foreign’? In South Africa, non-English words are not adding ‘flavour’, they are simply a demonstration of how we speak.

We want to give our writers and readers the opportunity to inhabit the story. And our philosophy is, if you don’t understand something, you can always ask. We’re readily available on Facebook and Twitter, and on our website comment section.

What has reader response been like?

Very positive! It’s great to see people responding to longer writing online, when the dominant view seems to be that people want their reading shorter and simpler.

Tell us a little about the kind of work you’ve been able to feature.

We have a number of established literary voices as regular contributors. Soweto-based author Niq Mhlongo is our City Editor. In our June issue he wrote about how he was the one to name Joburg’s famous Maboneng district, inspired by a line in one of his novels. Bongani Madondois a Contributing Editor, and we’re very proud of his explosive review of Koleka Putuma’s debut poetry collection Collective Amnesia, which we featured in our first issue. Other regular contributors are Percy Zvomuya, who is our literary detective, finding fascinating and obscure African books to highlight, and Efemia Chela, who writes a regular series called the Temporary Sojourner where she ‘travels’ throughout Africa by reading the best fiction from around the continent. We also regularly feature Wamuwi Mbao, who we count as one of South Africa’s top reviewers, and have published some wonderful poetry, curated by our Poetry Editor Rustum Kozain.

What have been some of the most exciting moments or stories for you personally?

Some of our biggest thrills have come from publishing new and emerging voices. We were delighted to be the first to publish Love Back – a short story by East London-born writer Julie Nxadi in our July issue. It’s truly remarkable, and was extremely popular with our readers. We since featured Julie again in our December Fiction Issue, and she’s currently working on an anthology. One of the stand-out moments was publishing our first piece entirely in a language other than English, namely Fred Khumalo’s first-ever published story in isiZulu, which we featured in our January Conversation Issue. We hope to be able to do more of this in future.

How do we get more South Africans reading for pleasure?

We’re starting to see if that if stories are good, people will read them. Now it just remains for us to establish what ‘good’ is for a current South African reader, because it may not be what has been considered ‘good’ in the past.

Also, the importance of reading aloud to children and introducing children to books they enjoy cannot be overstated. A common thread in many of the interviews we do with African authors is that they fell in love with reading as a child, usually through reading ‘popular’ books like Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl or Sweet Valley High, and then solidified that love when they were teenagers through books they could relate to in some way. What that says to me is that if we create children’s books that children can relate to, we can get them hooked on reading.

Help Nal’ibali read aloud to one million children this World Read Aloud Day, Thursday 01 February! Visit the Nal’ibali webpage at www.nalibail.org to sign up and download the brand-new story by acclaimed South African author, Zukiswa Wanner, in any official South African language. You’ll be joining a wave of adults across the country reading to children and raising awareness of the importance of this simple yet effective activity.


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The humble home: four books that celebrate simple and eco-friendly abodes

Published in the Sunday Times

By Roberta Thatcher

Simple Home: Calm Spaces for Comfortable Living
By Mark and Sally Bailey
Ryland, Peters & Small, R499

For Mark and Sally Bailey, British designers and furniture makers, the three words you should be thinking about when decorating your home are: “repair, reuse, and rethink”. The duo, who have collaborated with the likes of Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, Liberty, Conran and Habitat, believe a simple home should be “calm and uncluttered with each item carefully chosen”. In this book, they share tips and advice on how to achieve this effect, from buying well-made, well-designed items that will age gracefully, to looking to nature for inspiration when it comes to your colour scheme, sourcing from artisans where possible, and recycling furniture to make it meaningful and lasting. Their take-home message is that surrounding yourself solely with objects that you really love will allow you to enjoy the beautiful calm of an uncluttered home.

150 Best New Eco Home Ideas
By Francesc Zamora Mola
HarperCollins, R495

A fabulous review of 150 forward-thinking eco-friendly house designs, this beautifully presented book showcases the work of internationally renowned architects and designers who have achieved practical, innovative and beautiful solutions around the globe. Think a rammed-earth desert retreat in Arizona, US, with a huge rainwater harvesting and filtering solution, or a house in the woods in Sardinia, Italy, which was built without a single tree in its dense forest surroundings being cut down. If you’re looking to build or renovate your home with a minimal carbon footprint, consider this the ultimate gift to yourself.

Handmade Houses
By Richard Olsen
Rizzoli, R795

If there’s a book that will make you want to go out into the woods and build yourself a cabin, this is it. Author Richard Olsen features around two dozen hand-built homes around the globe, all of which celebrate the return to “low-tech” or even “anti-tech” building techniques and slow architecture. All the homes are made from natural and reclaimed materials, and while wood and salvaged metals are the heroes of the pages, more unconventional materials such as boulders, driftwood and even old wine vats show face too. Olsen introduces us to the owners, too – professionals and amateurs who personally designed and built each home, and their passions and vision is contagious. It’s inspirational reading for anyone interested in environmentally friendly design, craft, and the expression of personal style in the home.

Small Homes, Grand Living
Editors: Gestalten, Gestalten, R950

The opening pages of this beautiful book share a quote worth thinking about: “If you are able to live in a smaller home, then your rental costs will be lower. Renting or owning a smaller space means you need to earn less money, which results in the possibility of working fewer hours and having more time available. In other words, the luxury of time is a value that can replace the luxury of space if you are willing to live in a smaller, more compact home.” The book duly goes on to share an assortment of projects and homes that pay homage to creative usage of space, as well as useful advice for creating small homes that are as comfortable as they are functional and beautiful.

Book details


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“Some people see dead people, crossword solvers see anagrams” – Jonathan Ancer interviews cruciverbalist George Euvrard

By Mila de Villiers

Jonathan Ancer recently bid AmaBookaBooka‘s 2017 series fare thee well with the academic and crossword setter, George Euvrard.

Described by Ancer, an avid crossword solver, as the “Tom to my Jerry; Moriarty to my Holmes; Lex Luthor to my Superman; Newman to my Seinfeld; and Gupta to my Gordhan”, the solver and the setter discussed Euvrard’s “proudly South African” compilation of crossword puzzles, JDE The Original South African Cryptic Crossword, anagrams, and adding a local is lekker twist to blokkiesraaisels. (Think ‘wragtig’, ‘eish’ and Venter trailers. Kief!)

Listen to their interactive – ja, you’re offered the opportunity to attempt (and re-attempt, and feel slightly dof when not getting it the first time round) to solve an anagram or two – conversation here:


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Enter the 2018 Caine Prize for African Writing

Entries for the 2018 Caine Prize for African Writing are now open!

A cash prize of £10,000 is up for grabs for the winning author and a travel award for each of the short-listed candidates (up to five in all). The shortlisted candidates will also receive a Prize of £500. The winner is also invited to go to three literature festivals in Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria.

Published authors who wish to add ‘Caine Prize contributor’ to their CVs have until 31 January 2018 to submit their entry via their publishers.

Take note – unpublished work, as well as children’s books, factual writing, plays, biographies and works shorter than 3000 words will not be considered.

The Caine Prize for African Writing aims to bring African stories and writers to a global audience via the art of short story writing.

Click here for the complete guideline.


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Bridge Books publishes its first book!

The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus GarveyBridge Books, your go-to bookstore for new and second-hand African and South African books in downtown Joburg, has just published its first book, The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey!

Marcus Garvey was born in Jamaica in 1887. He became a leading pan-Africanist in the United States, where he urged black Americans to return to Africa and preached solidarity among blacks around the world.

In South Africa in the 1920s, Garveyism inspired early protests for the return of land from whites to its ancestral owners.

This collection of his writings and speeches is the first volume of his work compiled by his second wife, the pioneering black journalist and publisher Amy-Jacques Garvey.

Book details


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Yewande Omotoso and Mohale Mashigo on International Dublin Literary Award 2018 Longlist

Via PEN SA

Yewande Omotoso and Mohale Mashigo

 

Yewande Omotoso and Mohale Mashigo have been longlisted for the €100,000 International Dublin Literary Award 2018!

Omotoso and Mashigo have been included on the list for their novels The Woman Next Door and The Yearning respectively.

The shortlist will be announced in April 2018 and the winner will be announced on 13 June 2018.

Seven Irish novels are among 150 titles that have been nominated by libraries worldwide for the €100,000 International DUBLIN Literary Award, the world’s most valuable annual literary prize for a single work of fiction published in English. Nominations include 48 novels in translation with works by authors from 40 countries in Africa, Europe, Asia, North America & Canada, South America and Australia & New Zealand.

Click here for the full longlist of 150 titles.

The Woman Next Door

Book details

 
 
The Yearning


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2017 South African Literary Awards winners announced!

This year’s winners of the South African Literary Awards (SALAs) were announced on Tuesday night, 07 November 2017 at UNISA, Pretoria Campus.

Authors, poets, writers other and literary practitioners whose works are continuously contributing to the enrichment of South Africa’s literary landscape were celebrated in an auspicious ceremony.

The SALA Awards have honoured over a hundred individuals in the past 12 years.

The 2017 South African Literary Awards (SALAs) winners are:

Category: First-time Published Author Award

Moses Shimo Seletisha, Tšhutšhumakgala (Sepedi)

Category: k.Sello Duiker Memorial Literary Award

Nthikeng Mohlele, Pleasure (English)

Category: Poetry Award

Helen Moffett, Prunings (English)

Simphiwe Ali Nolutshungu, Iingcango Zentliziyo (isiXhosa)

Category: Creative Non-Fiction Award

Dikgang Moseneke, My Own Liberator (English)

Category: Literary Journalism Award

Don Makatile, Body of work (English)

Phakama Mbonambi, Body of work (English)

Category: Literary Translators Award

Bridget Theron-Bushell, The Thirstland Trek: 1874 – 1881 (Afrikaans to English)

Jeff Opland, Wandile Kuse and Pamela Maseko, William Wellington Gqoba: Isizwe Esinembali, Xhosa Histories And Poetry (1873 – 1888) (isiXhosa to English)

Jeff Opland and Pamela Maseko, DLP.Yali-Manisi: Iimbali Zamanyange, Historical Poems (isiXhosa to English)

Category: Nadine Gordimer Short Story Award

Roela Hattingh, Kamee (Afrikaans)

Category: Posthumous Literary Award

|A!kunta, Body of work (!Xam and !Kun)

!Kabbo, Body of work (!Xam and !Kun)

≠Kasin, Body of work (!Xam and !Kun)

Dia!kwain, Body of work (!Xam and !Kun)

|Han≠kass’o, Body of work (!Xam and !Kun)

Category: Lifetime Achievement Literary Award

Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa, Body of work (English)

Aletta Matshedisð Motimele, Body of work (Sepedi)

Etienne Van Heerden, Body of work (Afrikaans)

Category: Chairperson’s Award

Themba Christian Msimang, Body of work (isiZulu)

Book details


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A Q&A with Trade Secrets contributor, Olufemi Agunbiade

Olufemi Agunbiade is a Nigerian living in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape. He is married, and has two children, a pigeon pair. He is the author of the short story, ‘The Miracle Maker,’ in which a city-dwelling youngster travels back to his grandmother’s village in order to expose a shady clergy. Joanne Hichens, curator of the Short.Sharp.Stories Awards, and Olufemi recently discussed his Trade Secrets entry, crazy things congregants do to ensure being in the good graces of the Lord, and the influence of his Nigerian roots on his story.

‘The Miracle Maker’, an entertaining whodunit, highlights ‘corruption’ in the Pentecostal clergy. Is it as rife as the story makes it out to be?

Yes, if not more. Being that our societies are naturally religious and superstitious, grounds for instant miracles are easily established. Traditional beliefs and fears are heightened. People are encouraged to have more hopes in heaven than on earth. The smart clergies claim they have the knowledge to the paths and keys to the glorious home up there. For fees (tithe, Sunday offerings, first fruits offering), they can lead/show the way. To really drive in the message and convince seekers, instant, incredible miracles will do. The interested congregant will not mind forking over many amounts, all in a bid to be reassured of the heavenly home. It is not, therefore, surprising to find Pentecostal clergies now owning mansions, limousines, jets, financial corporations, all acquired by donations from mostly poor donors. It is a huge business.

Outlandish methods are used to siphon money from congregants. What crazy things will congregants do to ensure being in the good graces of the Lord?

The inspiration for my story came from observing Pentecostal clergies in Nigeria who are always out-doing others in performing miracles (curing HIV/AIDS, curing cancer, making septuagenarians become pregnant, raising the dead etc). It’s no less the case here too in South Africa where smart-alec clergymen are asking congregants to eat grass, gobble down rats, be sprayed with insecticide; the pastors talk to God on the phone — the more a pastor feigns closeness to God, the more gullible are the congregants. It’s all a ploy to show extraterrestrial powers, which will then attract huge fame and money. So, I connected situations in the two climes and decided to write about it.

Ah, so many ways – TRADE SECRETS – of how powerful men of the cloth convincingly part congregants and their pretty pennies.

A penny for your penance…

 

In your story, Sipho, the protagonist, pays a visit to his Makhulu to find out why her savings are ‘disappearing’. Sipho is, in fact, an ‘amateur detective’. Tell us more about his methods and motivation.

I love detective books, especially the ones with explosive twists at the end. I always fancied writing my own stories, but really, I considered myself more of a ‘reader’ than a ‘writer.’ Writing, of course, is a whole lot more than just reading. Then, Short.Sharp.Stories came along and I told myself, Why not? So, I created Sipho, who left the city to visit his grandmother, who had been enthusing about her ‘Prophet.’

Sipho is just an everyday, normal guy who is painstaking in finding out the truth. He is a rough round the edges amateur who is out to expose the truth, no matter the stress and time and mistakes involved. He is learning, like me. I hope to write more about Sipho and his exploits.

Do you perhaps see yourself as a mystery/ thriller writer in the making?

Oh, no. I am still the same ‘reader.’ Reading voraciously and learning the craft of writing along the way. Being published by Short.Sharp.Stories is a massive encouragement which I, indeed, cherish a lot. It is my first attempt and I struck ‘gold.’ Right now, I am trying my hand at writing more and honing the craft.

Makhulu, who lives in a rural village, is feisty and takes no nonsense. She gives Sipho a hard time! Although the story is a classic whodunit, does it also reflect a certain reality? Not only religious corruption, but a disconnect between the older and younger generations?

I patterned Makhulu after my mum! Though younger and feistier, she fits in perfectly well. I only need to tap into my memory bank and she’s there in words, actions and expressions.

I see the older generations as being set in their ways, watching in amusement as the younger, malleable youths grope about with their technological/developmental processes. This does cause friction in many ways, as it does in the Makhulu and Sipho scenes, but I see it as a form of learning, though healthy and educative — the two represent a blend of the old and new, past and present. Interactions between these two ends will always bring out something that can be interesting, out of which we can learn something.

I always ponder on how old folks get to be who they are in their old age. The adventures they have had, their joys and pains, the paths they have trodden on and the knowledge they harbor.

The setting of Port Elizabeth is evocatively described, yet the village in your story is imagined. Why go this route?

I have always lived in cities, from Lagos to here but, really, I love the outdoors where beautiful nature – thriving flora and fauna – is painted in living colors. South Africa is a beautiful country and all around me, I see nature still pristine and protected. Here, in my suburb in Port Elizabeth, seeing heavy morning mists, rugged green mountains, wild guinea fowl and rabbits right on my doorsteps nibbling at tidbits always evokes pictures of a natural village setting. So, I created one. I wanted the story settings to be a mix of the city and the village, a blend of old and new.

As a novice writer, how did you hear about Short.Sharp.Stories? And are you inspired to keep writing?

I saw Short.Sharp.Stories on Facebook and being interested in writing, I decided to try my hand. I passionately love reading, when I can leave the terrestrial earth and soar! I love short stories with a twist. I have been writing more since my Short.Sharp.Stories entry and I have many short stories in stock now.

In what way do your Nigerian roots influence your writing?

My writing is a blend of the two great countries, coated with past and current happenings around me. I must say it is a great advantage for me as I can switch between the two climes to achieve my aim.

What writing Trade Secret have you gleaned along the way?

For a new hand like me, it is a beautiful experience that I want to take up more seriously. Really, during the writing and editing stages, I felt like a surgeon at the operating table, snipping away, suturing up loose ends and packaging a body of story through tedious edits to make it convincing and readable.

Trade Secrets

Book details


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2017 Brittle Paper Literary Awards winners announced

The winners of the 2017 Brittle Papers Literary Awards has been announced! The awards recognise the “finest, original pieces of literature by Africans available online for free.”

As per the announcement:

We announced it to mark our seventh anniversary. Its five categories—Fiction ($200), Poetry ($200), Creative Nonfiction/Memoir ($200), Essays/Think Pieces ($200), and the Anniversary Award ($300) for writing published by us—reflect our efforts to capture the range and variations of literary dialogue on the continent. Across these five categories, 48 pieces of writing, each beautifully crafted and thought-provoking, were shortlisted based on their quality, significance and impact.

THE BRITTLE PAPER AWARD FOR ESSAYS/THINK PIECES

Read: The Brittle Paper Award for Essays/Think Pieces: Meet the Nominees

From a class of essays and think pieces that situate the African writer’s work within global conversations, we chose Sisonke Msimang’s brilliant commentary on black women as figures of intellectual power, “All Your Faves Are Problematic: A Brief History of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Stanning and #BlackGirlMagic.”

Msimang explores, with the eye of the scholar and pop culture critic, the forces that have contributed to Chimamanda Adichie’s dominance in the global imagination. The piece may be about Adichie in subject, but it is also driven by larger questions about how we produce knowledge in the age of social media. Drawing from a wide array of discursive fields – literature, feminism, politics, and fashio – Msimang offers a hard and searing look at how questions of race intersect with global intellectual iconography and social media culture.

“All Your Faves Are Problematic” is published by Africa is a Country, a remarkable intellectual project that has contributed immensely to changing the rules, practices, and conventions on how we produce knowledge about the continent.

THE BRITTLE PAPER AWARD FOR FICTION ($200)

Read: The Brittle Paper Award for Fiction: Meet the Nominees

From a box of ten short stories that range from the startling to the tragic, we chose Megan Ross’s aching romance, “Farang.” A study of intimacy and companionship set in Thailand and South Africa, a reflection on love and language, on foreknowledge and inevitability, “Farang” is wrought in visual prose so lyrical and controlled it moves like a spring. In “Farang,” we witness a dialogue among subject, style, and aesthetic experimentation, but one that is accessible in its complexity.

It is time, also, to salute the unrivaled work that Short Story Day Africa Prize is doing for short fiction on the continent. The prize’s top three entries for 2016, from the collective’s most recent anthology, Migrations, all made our shortlist. The collective has left its mark on the 2010s literary scene, and we are all the better for it.

THE BRITTLE PAPER AWARD FOR POETRY ($200)

Read: The Brittle Paper Award for Poetry: Meet the Nominees

From a pool of ten poems that range from stylistic daringness to psychological acuity, we chose J.K. Anowe’s thematically deviant, Self-centric “Credo to Leave.” An interrogation of psychological make-up, delivered in a voice grounded in vulnerability and deep existential pain, “Credo to Leave” is an entry point to an emerging sub-tradition in the poetry of Nigeria’s new generation. It is a sub-tradition preoccupied with the visceral, personal, and psychological—internal void, suicidal tendencies, masturbation, sex—with digging into the Self. Pegged in the psyche, its introspection—the focus on speaking into oneself rather than speaking out to the world—is an outlet for a confessional generation not afraid to voice its internal struggles and flaws, to make art of it. Given the emotional and psychological state of its voice, the wording of “Credo to Leave,” the abrupt clarity of it, demonstrates psychological acuity, clinical depression unadorned. “Credo to Leave” is a revolt.

“Credo to Leave” is published by Expound, a magazine that is often a conduit for the development of new talent, but J.K. Anowe’s emergence began from Praxis magazine’s poetry chapbook series. We recognize and applaud here the priceless work that homegrown platforms put in to usher in new voices, particularly as these platforms are themselves run by new voices.

THE BRITTLE PAPER AWARD FOR CREATIVE NONFICTION ($200)

Read: The Brittle Paper Award for Creative Nonfiction/Memoir: Meet the Nominees

From a collection of eight creative nonfiction pieces that range from the explosive to the breathtakingly innovative, we chose Hawa Jande Golakai’s witty rebuttal to stereotypes, “Fugee.” An affecting interrogation of the Ebola crisis in Liberia, as well as of identity and the life of an artist-cum-clinical scientist, “Fugee” is delivered in a beguiling blend of humorous, quotable, often-lyrical sentences. Golakai documents one of the most precarious moments for the African continent with the seriousness it deserves but also the private, subjective dimension it requires. The essay is the perfect modulation of distance and nearness, pain and humor, social commentary and the confessional. In many ways, “Fugee” exemplifies, in the deftness of its composition and the humaneness of its delivery, Ellah Allfrey’s notion of a “specifically African genre of creative nonfiction.”

Golakai’s piece is available to read for free on Granta.com, but it was originally published in Safe House, a groundbreaking nonfiction collection edited by Ellah Allfrey.

THE BRITTLE PAPER ANNIVERSARY AWARD ($300)

Read: The Brittle Paper Anniversary Award: Meet the Nominees

From a mix of twelve conversation-driving fiction, poetry and nonfiction published on our site, we chose Chibuihe Obi’s brave, impactful “We’re Queer, We’re Here.” A query into the paucity of Nigerian literature about queerness and an expatiation of the immediate violence that so empowers homophobia, Obi’s work is all the more important given the unfortunate circumstance of his kidnapping – which only strengthens his work’s premise. Published, in a weird coincidence, on May 17, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the essay racked up 2,000 views in its first week, and more than 6,000 views in its first five weeks and, five months later, is inching towards 8,000 views, at a rate that might move it into our top-20 most-viewed posts within months.

Congratulations to Sisonke Msimang, Megan Ross, J.K. Anowe, Hawa Jande Golakai and Chibuihe Obi.


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