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Archive for the ‘Nigeria’ Category

Read an excerpt from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s new short story, inspired by Donald and Melania Trump

Half of a Yellow SunWe Should All Be FeministsAmericanahPurple HibiscusAmericanahThe Thing Around Your Neck

 
Have you ever tried to imagine a day in the life of the Trumps? How would Melania Trump deal with the day-to-day challenges of being married to the infamous businessperson, author and politician, Donald Trump? Does she feel accepted by his children, is there harmony in the Trump clan? Or are they just like any other family, riddled with politics, jealousies and heartaches?

Luckily for us, we don’t need to speculate any longer. Award-winning novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has written a short story for The New York Times Book Review entitled “The Arrangements”, in which she depicts Melania’s most inner thoughts and fears.

The story is the first in a series of fiction inspired by the upcoming American election and was published on Tuesday, 28 June.

From the first sentence – “Melania decided she would order the flowers herself” – the reader is aware that “The Arrangements” is not only a story about the Trump dynasty as perceived through the eyes of Melania. It is also a homage to Virginia Woolf as it echoes that famous first sentence: “Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.”

Read an excerpt from “The Arrangements”:

Melania decided she would order the flowers herself. Donald was too busy now anyway to call Alessandra’s as usual and ask for “something amazing.” Once, in the early years, before she fully understood him, she had asked what his favorite flowers were.

“I use the best florists in the city, they’re terrific,” he replied, and she realized that taste, for him, was something to be determined by somebody else, and then flaunted.

At first, she wished he would not keep asking their guests, “How do you like these great flowers?” and that he would not be so nakedly in need of their praise, but now she felt a small tug of annoyance if a guest did not gush as Donald expected. The florists were indeed good, their peonies delicate as tissue, even if a little boring, and the interior decorators Donald had brought in — all the top guys used them, he said — were good, too, even if all that gold yellowness bordered on staleness, and so she did not disagree because Donald disliked dissent, and he only wanted the best for them, and she had what she really needed, this luxurious peace. But today, she would order herself. It was her dinner party to celebrate her parents’ anniversary. Unusual orchids, maybe. Her mother loved uncommon things.

Her Pilates instructor, Janelle, would arrive in half an hour. She had just enough time to order the flowers and complete her morning skin routine. She would use a different florist, she decided, where Donald did not have an account, and pay by herself. Donald might like that; he always liked the small efforts she made. Do the little things, don’t ask for big things and he will give them to you, her mother advised her, after she first met Donald. She gently patted three different serums on her face and then, with her fingertips, applied an eye cream and ­sunscreen.

What a bright morning. Summer sunlight raised her spirits. And Tiffany was leaving today. It felt good. The girl had been staying for the past week, and came and went, mostly staying out of her way. Still, it felt good. Yesterday she had taken Tiffany to lunch, so that she could tell Donald that she had taken Tiffany to lunch.

“She adores all my kids, it’s amazing,” Donald once told a reporter — he was happily blind to the strangeness in the air whenever she was with his children.

To keep the lunch short, she had told Tiffany that she had an afternoon meeting with the Chinese company that produced her jewelry — even though she had no plans. Tiffany had cheerily forked spinach salad into her mouth, her California voice too pleasant, too fey. Her wrists looked fragile and breakable. She talked about how much she loved Ivanka’s new collection; she talked about a vegan recipe, reciting details of berries and seaweed, as though Melania would actually ever make it. She played a recording of her singing and said: “It’s not there yet but I’m working on it. You think Dad will like it?” Melania said, “Of course.”

 

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Image courtesy of The New York Times Book Review


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2016 Open Book Festival: Confirmed international and local authors announced

2016 Open Book Festival: Confirmed international and local authors announced

 

Alert! The Open Book Festival has announced the first group of confirmed international and local authors for this year’s event.

The sixth annual Open Book will take place from 7 to 11 September in Cape Town.

This year’s festival will comprise more than 100 events, at The Fugard Theatre, the District Six Homecoming Centre and The Book Lounge.

The final programme will be available in early August, and tickets will be available on Webtickets.

“We are thrilled to be announcing the first group of authors for Open Book Festival 2016,” festival director Mervyn Sloman says. “We have confirmed participants joining us from Botswana, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Ghana, Holland, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Reunion, United Kingdom and USA.

“As always we look forward to an outstanding collection of powerful South African writers talking about their work on the international stage that Open Book provides.

“I can’t wait to see the impact the likes of Pumla Dineo Gqola, Fred Khumalo, Bongani Madondo, Mohale Mashigo and Yewande Omotoso are going to have on Cape Town audiences. These writers are the tip of a very exciting iceberg that gives us cause for celebration in the SA book world that has many real and difficult challenges.”

RapeBitches' BrewSigh The Beloved CountryThe YearningThe Woman Next Door

 

Check out the confirmed international authors:

null
Adeiye “MC Complex” Tjon Tam Pau is a coach and workshop master for Poetry Circle Nowhere – a collective of writing performers in the Netherlands – and is active in the Dutch and international hip-hop scene.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
nullReacher Said Nothing
Andy Martin is a lecturer in French literature and philosophy at the University of Cambridge. Most recently he published Reacher Said Nothing, a book about Lee Child writing his 21st Reacher novel, Make Me
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
nullThe Bear's Surprise
Benjamin Chaud was born in Briançon in the Hautes-Alpes and he studied drawing and applied arts at the Arts Appliqués in Paris and the Arts Décoratifs in Strasbourg. His award-winning books have been translated into over 20 languages.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
nullThe Fishermen
Chigozie Obioma was born in Nigeria and is currently the professor of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His debut novel, The Fishermen, was an international hit.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
nullWhat Belongs to You
Garth Greenwell‘s novella Mitko won the 2010 Miami University Press Novella Prize and was a finalist for the Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction and a Lambda Literary Award. What Belongs to You is his debut novel.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
nullDaydreams of Angels
Heather O’Neill is a Canadian novelist, poet, short-story writer, screenwriter and essayist. Lullabies for Little Criminals, her debut novel, was published in 2006 to international critical acclaim. She has since published the novel The Girl Who Was Saturday Night and the short story collection Daydreams of Angels.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
nullDracula
Hippolyte resides in Reunion but was born and raised in the Alps, where he got his interest in comics by reading old American comic books. He gained success with his adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, published in two volumes by Vents d’Ouest in 2003 and 2004.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

nullThree Words
Indira Neville is a New Zealand comics artist, community organiser, editor and commentator. She has been making comics for over 20 years. Recently, she co-edited the anthology Three Words, a collection of Aotearoa/New Zealand women’s comics.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
nullThe World According to Anna
Jostein Gaarder is the author of several novels, short stories and children’s books, including Sophie’s World, which was translated into 60 languages and has sold over 40 million copies. His most recent novel translated into English is The World According to Anna.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

nullThe Prophets of Eternal Fjord
Kim Leine is a Danish-Norwegian novelist. He received the Golden Laurel award and the Nordic Council’s Literature Prize for his novel, The Prophets of Eternal Fjord.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
nullThe Scattering
Lauri Kubuitsile lives in Botswana. She has written children’s books, short stories, novellas and several romance novels. The Scattering, her most recent novel, was published this year.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
nullThe Gonjon Pin and Other Stories
Martin Egblewogbe is a short story writer, lecturer in Physics at the University of Ghana and the co-founder of the Writers Project of Ghana. His short story “The Gonjon Pin” is the title story in the 2014 Caine Prize collection.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
nullBorderline
Journalist Michela Wrong has spent nearly two decades writing about Africa. In 2014 she was appointed literary director of the Miles Morland Foundation and is a trustee of Human Rights Watch Africa, the Africa Research Institute and the NGO Justice Africa. She is the author of a number of non-fiction books. Borderlines is her first novel.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
nullNemesis
Misha Glenny is a distinguished investigative journalist and one of the world’s leading experts on cybercrime and on global mafia networks. He is the author of several books, most recently Nemesis: One Man and the Battle for Rio.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
nullWhen the Moon is Low
Nadia Hashimi‘s parents left Afghanistan in the 1970s, before the Soviet invasion. She was raised in the United States and in 2002 made her first trip to Afghanistan. Her debut novel, The Pearl That Broke Its Shell, was an international bestseller. When The Moon Is Low followed in 2015 and her latest novel is due in 2016.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
nullBinti
Nnedi Okorafor is an award-winning novelist of African-based science fiction, fantasy and magical realism for both children and adults. Her novella, Binti, recently won a prestigious Nebula Award.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
nullThe Winter War
Philip Teir is considered one of the most promising writers in Finland. His poetry and short stories have been included in anthologies, including Granta Finland. The Winter War is his first novel.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
nullCarnival
Rawi Hage was born in Beirut and lived through nine years of the Lebanese civil war during the 1970s and 1980s. He emigrated to Canada in 1992 and now lives in Montreal. His first novel, De Niro’s Game, won the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. His most recent novel, Carnival, won the Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
nullStalin's Daughter
Rosemary Sullivan is the author of 14 books, including biographies, children’s books and poetry. She is currently Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto. In 2012, she was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in Ontario and was inducted as an Officer of the Order of Canada (Canada’s highest civilian award) for outstanding contributions to Canadian Literature and Culture.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
nullYour Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist
Sunil Yapa is the son of a Sri Lankan father and an American mother. He received his MFA from Hunter College in New York City in 2010, was awarded the Alumni Scholarship & Welfare Fund Fellowship, and was twice selected as a Hertog Fellow. He is the recipient of the 2010 Asian American Short Story Award. Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist is his first novel.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Africa is calling: Call for entries for the 2016 Etisalat Prize for Literature – and judges announced

Call for entries for the 2016 Etisalat Prize for Literature - and judges announced

 
Etisalat has announced its call for entries for the 2016 edition of the Etisalat Prize for Literature.

The Etisalat Prize for Literature is a Pan African prize that celebrates debut African writers of published fiction. Previous winners are Zimbabwe’s NoViolet Bulawayo (2013), South Africa’s Songeziwe Mahlangu (2014) and Democratic Republic of Congo’s Fiston Mwanza Mujila (2015).

We Need New NamesPenumbraTram 83

 
The winner receives a cash prize of £15,000 (about R325,000) in addition to a fellowship at the prestigious University of East Anglia, UK, under the mentorship of Professor Giles Foden, the award-winning author of The Last King of Scotland.

The Etisalat Prize also incorporates an award for Flash Fiction; an online-based competition for non-published African writers of short stories.

Matthew Willsher, CEO of Etisalat Nigeria, said at a press briefing in Lagos, Nigeria, that the prize is designed to serve as a leading platform for the discovery and encouraging of creative writing talents as well as the celebration of literary arts by African writers.

“We are delighted to champion the cause for celebrating the richness and strength of African literature,” he said. “The Etisalat Prize for Literature is about discovering and bringing to the world stage the many creative talent Africa boasts of.

“The Etisalat Prize is about creativity, excellence, empowerment and reward; it is about celebrating our African diversity in very innovative ways through various forms of art, literature being one of them.”

Willsher added that only books by debut writers, published not later than 24 months before submission, will qualify for entry. “They must also be by registered publishing houses not less than six years as incorporated publishers with registered ISBN Number or the equivalent, and who must have published a minimum of six authors. All entries should be accompanied by seven copies of the book entered along with an acceptance of our publicity terms. A publisher may submit a maximum of three books.”

The rules and guidelines for entry are available on the Etisalat Prize website.

Willsher also announced the judging panel for the 2016 Etisalat Prize. The panel comprises Nigerian novelist and poet Helon Habila (chair), South African writer and activist Elinor Sisulu and Ivorian writer, Edwige Rene Dro.

About the judging panel

Waiting for an AngelMeasuring TimeOil on WaterThe Granta Book of the African Short StoryNigerian-born Helon Habila is a writer, poet, author and an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at George Mason University, USA. His novels include, Waiting for an Angel (2002), Measuring Time (2007), and Oil on Water (2010). He is the editor of the Granta Book of African Short Story (2011).

Habila’s novels, poems, and short stories have won many honours and awards, including the Commonwealth Prize for Best First Novel (Africa Section), the Caine Prize, the Virginia Library Foundation Prize for fiction and most recently the Windham-Campbell Prize.

Habila has been a contributing editor for the Virginia Quarterly Review since 2004, and he is a regular reviewer for The Guardian.

The Day Gogo Went to VoteWalter and Albertina SisuluElinor Sisulu is a Zimbabwean-born South Africa writer and human rights activist. Sisulu combines training in history, English literature, development studies and feminist theory from institutions in Zimbabwe, Senegal and the Netherlands.

She is the author of the award-winning children’s book The Day Gogo Went to Vote. Her biography on her parents-in-law, Walter and Albertina Sisulu: In Our Lifetime secured her the prestigious 2003 Noma Award for publishing in Africa.

Sisulu’s involvement in book promotion and literary development efforts for many years has culminated in her work with the Puku Children’s Literature Foundation. She has been a judge for the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize, the Sanlam Youth Literature Prize and the Penguin Africa Writer’s Competition.

Africa39Edwige-Renée Dro is an Ivorian writer and a translator. She is one of the 39 most promising voices under 40 from Africa, south of the Sahara as decided by the Africa39 project. She was the 2015 PEN International New Voices award judge.

Dro currently works as the director of Danbé Collection, a new imprint of l’Harmattan Editions with a focus on the promotion of Ivorian literature in Abidjan. Her short stories have been published in anthologies and literary journals.

 
 
 

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Chinelo Okparanta wins a Lambda Literary Award for Under the Udala Trees

Chinelo Okparanta Lambda Awards
Image: Ileana Jiménez on Twitter

 
Happiness, Like WaterUnder the Udala TreesAlert! Nigerian-American author Chinelo Okparanta has won a Lambda Literary Award for her novel Under the Udala Trees.

The Lambda Literary Awards, or Lammys, celebrate the best lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender books of the year.

“Throughout tonight’s ceremony we were reminded of the impact that LGBT literature has on people’s lives,” Lambda literary executive director Tony Valenzuela said during the gala ceremony in New York. “Congratulations to all the winners and honorees.”

This is Okparanta’s second Lammy Award; she won the Lesbian General Fiction Award in 2014 for her short story collection Happiness, Like Water.

 

White GirlsChelsea Girls

 
New Yorker critic and White Girls author Hilton Als received the Trustee Award for Excellence in Literature, while The Pioneer Award was presented to poet and novelist Eileen Myles.

 
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Modern London, 1970s London and 19th century Benin: Read an excerpt from Irenosen Okojie’s Butterfly Fish

Nigerian-born author Irenosen Okojie shortlisted for 2016 Betty Trask Prize

 

Butterfly FishThis Fiction Friday, read an excerpt from Nigerian-born author Irenosen Okojie’s novel Butterfly Fish, which has just been shortlisted for the 2016 Betty Trask Prize.

The Betty Trask Awards are given annually to the debut novelists under the age of 35, to celebrate “young authors writing in a traditional or romantic style”.

Prize judge Michèle Roberts called Butterfly Fish: “A bittersweet story uniting different traditions of narrative to create a whole new geography of the imagination.”

Butterfly Fish spans modern London, 1970s London and 19th century Benin, combining elements of traditional Nigerian storytelling and magical realism with a compelling take on the legacy of inheritance.

Scroll down for an excerpt

About the book

After the sudden death of her mother, London photographer Joy struggles to pull the threads of her life back together, with the support of her kind but mysterious neighbour Mrs Harris. Joy’s fortune begins to change when she receives an unexpected inheritance from her mother: a huge sum of money, her grandfather’s diary and a unique brass warrior’s head from the nineteenth century kingdom of Benin.

* * * * *

Read an excerpt:

Fish Out Of Water

 

19th century Benin

 

At dawn on the day the news of the competition reached the Omoregbe family, Adesua, with a bitter taste in her mouth, had risen to the gentle sound of her mother’s footsteps. From her position on the floor, the unrelenting glare of the sun flooding the small but sturdy compound provided further an illuminating reminder of the tasks to be done for the day.

The news that the king was looking for a new bride had quickly spread all over Esan land and people had been buzzing for weeks about the competition. The special event was to be held at the palace, where all suitable young women were to bring a dish they had prepared, and the king would make his choice of a new bride from the maker of the best dish.

Mothers running around like headless chickens, each eager to outdo the other, constantly visited the market stalls keeping their ears open for any piece of information they could glean to give their daughter an advantage. Fathers resorted to bribery, bombarding the King with gifts. The palace was laden with necklaces, cloths, masks, sweet wine from the palm trees, goat, cow and bush meat. The rumour began that the palace stocked enough to feed all of Esan and the surrounding areas for two seasons, though this came from Ehimare, the land’s most famous gossip, who was deaf in one ear and whose mouth appeared to be in perpetual motion.

Adesua was Mama Uwamusi’s only child who arrived in the world kicking and screaming into broken rays of light. Uwamusi had almost died giving birth, and further attempts at having other children had resulted in five dead babies. This day as they swept their small compound in preparation for their guests she handed
over the broom to her daughter, looking at her as if for the first time.

She must have known she had done well; Adesua was beautiful with a wide mouth and an angular face. She had the height of her father and his stubborn temperament but her heart was good and this pleased Uwamusi more than any physical attribute. Adesua was a young woman now, yet she wondered if the girl realised it, so quick was she to climb a tree or insist on going hunting with Papa Anahero at any opportunity Later, they were expecting the company of Azemoya and Onohe, two of Papa’s friends from a neighbouring village. She did not enjoy the extra work that came with attending to their every whim, for both men could each eat enough for two or three people and never failed to outstay their welcome. Azemoya had six wives and many children, and so was quick to invite himself to other people’s homes to ensure a reasonably large meal every so often. Onohe was a very lazy man; it was a curse that had afflicted male members of his bloodline for generations. Instead of working hard to provide for his family, he was full of excuses. Either there was some bodily ailment (real or imagined) troubling him, or the weather was not agreeable or the Gods had not shown him favour no matter how many sacrifices he made to them. Onohe was at his happiest whenever his stomach was full, yet it was widely known that his wives and children could sometimes be seen begging neighbours for food.

Adesua shook her head at the thought of it, so that is what it meant to be someone’s wife? Unable to understand how the men felt no shame at treating their women so badly, she set her mind to brighter things, longing for the day to be over, so she could have time to herself again and challenge some of the boys she knew to a hunting competition.

“You must send her to the ceremony, the King is looking for a new wife and Adesua has as good a chance as anybody else.” Azemoya’s loud voice could be heard over the crackling of wood in the fire.

“She is my only child, I think I will wait another season before I think of such matters”, Anahero replied.

“She cannot belong to you forever, it is time to start planning for tomorrow”, Onohe’s tone was filled with amusement. “She is a woman now. I too will send my eldest daughter to the ceremony; if I have good fortune on my side she may be chosen.”

“I have not seen such a smile on your wife’s face for many seasons,” Onohe added, biting heartily into a kola nut. “But I do not understand you Anahero. Why do you not have more wives? People have been laughing behind your back for a long time. You would have had many children by now. It is a foolish man that does not see what is right before his eyes.”

“Let them laugh, Uwamusi has served me well.”

“She did not bear you a son, and you know people talk, it is custom to have a son to carry your name”, Azemoya said smiling, exposing various gaps in his brown teeth.

Anahero’s voice rose defensively, “I have Adesua.” He had always ached for more children and he knew his face revealed that need even when he attempted to persuade himself otherwise.

“My spirit troubles me about sending Adesua to the king’s palace.” Anahero spoke this concern lightly gauging the reactions, as his sense of foreboding for his only daughter was deeply troubling to him.

“You must consult with the oracle for guidance. It is time. She cannot continue hunting and climbing trees with village boys!” Onohe patted him reassuringly on the back with one hand while eagerly reaching for another piece of yam with the other.

After their guests left, Anehero and Uwamusi made sacrifices. They swam in the river with painted faces. And when the gods summoned those faces underwater, their heads broke through the rippling surface in acceptance.

Five days passed. On the sixth day an angry wind came from the north, hissing and spitting out defiant trees on arrival, whirling loudly and destroying whatever crossed its path.

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Nigerian-born author Irenosen Okojie shortlisted for 2016 Betty Trask Prize for her debut novel Butterfly Fish

Nigerian-born author Irenosen Okojie shortlisted for 2016 Betty Trask Prize

 

Alert! Nigerian-born Irenosen Okojie has been shortlisted for the 2016 Betty Trask Prize for her novel Butterfly Fish.

Okojie was born in Nigeria and moved to England aged eight. Her writing has been featured in The Guardian and The Observer, and her short stories have been published on Kwani and Phatitude. Butterfly Fish is her first book, and her short story collection Speak Gigantular will be published by Jacaranda Books Art Music in September.

Prize judge Michèle Roberts called Butterfly Fish: “A bittersweet story uniting different traditions of narrative to create a whole new geography of the imagination.”

The Betty Trask Awards are given annually to the debut novelists under the age of 35, to celebrate “young authors writing in a traditional or romantic style”.

The winner will receive £10,000 (about R225,000) and will be announced at an ceremony on 21 June. The three runners-up will each receive a Betty Trask Award worth £5,000.

The judges this year were Simon Brett, Joanne Harris and Michèle Roberts, while the prize and the awards will be presented by John Agard.

Somali-British novelist Nadifa Mohamed won the award in 2010 for Black Mamba Boy, while African authors shortlisted in previous years include NoViolet Bulawayo for We Need New Names (2014), Chibundu Onuzo for The Spider King’s Daughter (2013), Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani for I Do Not Come to You by Chance (2010), and Mark Behr for The Smell of Apples (1995).

Butterfly FishGlassThe Watchmaker of Filigree StreetWeathering

 

Shortlist and judges’ comments

  • Glass by Alex Christofi (Serpent’s Tail)

    “A marvellously funny, original story, written with immense charm and humour” – Joanne Harris

  • Butterfly Fish by Irenosen Okojie (Jacaranda Books Art Music)

    “A bittersweet story uniting different traditions of narrative to create a whole new geography of the imagination” – Michèle Roberts

  • The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley (Bloomsbury Circus)

    “A fascinatingly imaginative and enchanting book set in a Victorian London that builds up a completely self-consistent world only slightly out of kilter with the real one”- Simon Brett

  • Weathering by Lucy Wood (Bloomsbury)

    “An emotionally mature consideration of generational love, loss and change” – Michèle Roberts

 

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Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka to speak at Soweto Theatre in celebration of Africa Month

Invitation to a talk by Wole Soyinka
The Lion and the JewelAkeYou Must Set Forth at DawnThe Open Sore of a ContinentOf AfricaSelected Poems

 

Alert! One of Africa’s most important literary figures, Wole Soyinka, will be at the Soweto Theatre to give a talk in celebration of Africa Month.

The Nobel Laureate is being hosted by Department of Arts and Culture in conjunction with the African Independent Newspaper and Press Club South Africa.

Soyinka will discuss “Politics, Culture and the New African” at the Soweto Theatre on Monday, 30 May:

Professor Wole Soyinka is one of Africa’s most famous literary figures. He was the first African to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986. Soyinka has been a strong critic of successive Nigerian governments, especially the country’s many military dictators, as well as other political tyrannies. Much of his writing has been concerned with “the oppressive boot and the irrelevance of the colour of the foot that wears it”. He has taught at several international universities including Oxford, Harvard and Yale.

See you there!

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The best African books

The best African books

 

To celebrate Africa Day, we asked our Books LIVE community what their favourite African books were.

You can suggest contemporary books or classics, fiction or non-fiction. The list is a work in progress. If you feel something is missing, let us know on Twitter @BooksLIVESA or Facebook.com/BooksLIVESA.

Without further ado, the best African books – as chosen by you!
 
 
Do Not Go GentleDo Not Go Gentle by Futhi Ntshingila
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EAN: 9781920590505
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Sweet MedicineSweet Medicine by Panashe Chigumadzi
EAN: 9781928337126
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MalikhanyeMalikhanye by Mxolisi Nyezwa
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EAN: 9780958491594
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Born on a TuesdayBorn on a Tuesday by Elnathan John
EAN: 9781911115021
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Season of Crimson BlossomsSeason of Crimson Blossoms by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim
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EAN: 9781911115007
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Easy Motion TouristEasy Motion Tourist by Leye Adenle
EAN: 9781911115069
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The Lazarus EffectThe Lazarus Effect by H J Golakai
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EAN: 9780795703195
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Half of a Yellow Sun Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
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EAN: 9780007200283
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Say You're One of ThemSay You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan
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EAN: 9780349120645
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In Corner BIn Corner B by Es’kia Mphahlele
EAN: 9780143106029
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Lost and Found in JohannesburgLost and Found in Johannesburg by Mark Gevisser
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EAN: 9781868425884
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We Need New NamesWe Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo
EAN: 9780099581888
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Portrait with KeysPortrait with Keys: Joburg and what-what by Ivan Vladislavic
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EAN: 9781415200209
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Nervous ConditionsNervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga
EAN: 9780954702335
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Purple HibiscusPurple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
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EAN: 9780007189885
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UnimportanceUnimportance by Thando Mgqolozana
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EAN: 9781431409525
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The ReactiveThe Reactive by Masande Ntshanga
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EAN: 9781415207192
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African DelightsAfrican Delights by Siphiwo Mahala
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EAN: 9781431402519
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Half of a Yellow Sun Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
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EAN: 9780007200283
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Under the Udala TreesUnder the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta
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More accolades for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Author awarded Barnard College’s highest honour

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Honorary Degree
Half of a Yellow SunWe Should All Be FeministsAmericanahPurple HibiscusAmericanahThe Thing Around Your Neck

 

It’s been a busy week for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The internationally acclaimed Nigerian novelist was awarded an honorary doctorate by Johns Hopkins University on Wednesday, but the day before, in a ceremony that flew under the radar, she was also awarded the 2016 Barnard Medal of Distinction from Barnard College.

Barnard is a private women’s liberal arts college in the United States, affiliated with Columbia University. The Barnard Medal of Distinction is the college’s highest honour, serving a similar purpose to an honorary degree. Previous recipients include Toni Morrison, Meryl Streep, Hillary Clinton, Billie Jean King, Joan Didion and Barack Obama.

In the medal citation, the college said of Adichie: “You spark the conversation, upend the status quo, and open our hearts and minds to the world.

“We honour your work, your humour, your respect for history, and your vision for the future. In your footsteps, we will all be feminists, unlearning what we have been taught to believe in order to dream for ourselves. Steering clear of the single story in favour of an ever more kaleidoscopic view. Staying true to who we are, messy though that may be.”

In a video filmed at the ceremony, Adichie gives some advice to the students receiving their degrees: “Eat real food, be kind to yourself, and read books.”

She continues:

I think it’s important for young women to remember that they are much stronger than the world tells them that they are.

Watch the video:

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Read the full citation:

Citation for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Celebrated author. Beloved storyteller. Artist. Visionary. Feminist. You spark the conversation, upend the status quo, and open our hearts and minds to the world.

Being born in Nigeria in 1977, the fifth of six children, was clearly a significant start. Your father was a professor, your mom the University registrar, and your childhood, a happy one, though tinged by the legacy of war. Books were your haven and your guide, and by age 10 you had read enough to know that people just like you could, in fact, inhabit them.

Medicine seemed like a worthy pursuit, but by age 19 you left for the United States to follow a new and auspicious path. A bachelor’s summa cum laude from Eastern Connecticut State, a master’s in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University, and another in African studies from Yale. You were gathering the tools and the temperament to present us with your gift in words, with Africa as your muse.

In 2003, that gift took the form of Purple Hibiscus, your first novel and one to notice, about breaking free and defying expectation. Three years later, in Half of a Yellow Sun, you gave voice to the ravages wrought by your country’s Civil War decades before, and for it, won international acclaim and the Orange Prize for Fiction. You were thirty years old. And in 2013, with Americanah, you wove a post-9/11 story of race and identity that has been hailed as a benchmark for literary excellence—one of The New York Times Top Ten Best Books of the Year, winner of the US National Book Critics Circle Award, and the object of heaps of attention. And your TED talks, The Danger of a Single Story and We Should All Be Feminists have multi-millions of views. You write, we read. You speak, we listen.

We honor your work, your humor, your respect for history, and your vision for the future. In your footsteps, we will all be feminists, unlearning what we have been taught to believe in order to dream for ourselves. Steering clear of the single story in favor of an ever more kaleidoscopic view. Staying true to who we are, messy though that may be.

On behalf of my alma mater, it is an extraordinary privilege to present to you the 2016 Barnard Medal of Distinction, with all due gratitude, reverence, and heart.

 
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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Spike Lee awarded Johns Hopkins University honorary degrees

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Honorary Degree
Half of a Yellow SunWe Should All Be FeministsAmericanahPurple HibiscusAmericanahThe Thing Around Your Neck

 
Internationally acclaimed Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was awarded an honorary degree by Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, United States, on Wednesday.

Adichie was one of eight “distinguished achievers” to receive the honour this year. The list also included groundbreaking filmmaker Spike Lee, Nobel Prize winner Richard Axel and Ellen M Heller, Maryland’s first woman to become an administrative Circuit Court judge.

Adichie earned a prestigious creative writing master’s from Johns Hopkins in 2003, the year her first novel, Purple Hibiscus, was published to worldwide acclaim. At just 26, Adichie was shortlisted for the 2004 Orange Prize for Fiction and won the 2005 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book, and her career has since skyrocketed.

In a video released by Johns Hopkins to celebrate the event, Adichie says: “My advice to the graduating seniors is, eat real food, as often as you can. And embrace ignorance. Say those words ‘I don’t know’. Because by embracing ignorance you open up the possibility of knowledge.”

Watch the video:

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Filmmaker Spike Lee, whose works include Do The Right Thing and Jungle Fever, began his speech by referring to two words he said are in almost all of his films to date: “Wake up.”

“Wake up from the sleep, wake up from being comatose, wake up from the slumber that keeps your eyes shut to all the inequalities and injustices. To this more often than not evil, crazy and insane world we live in. Let’s move our unconscious minds from the back to the front to a conscious state, and wake up.”

Lee continued: “We are at a very crucial moment in history in these United States of America. And the way I’m looking at it today, to tell you the truth, things are looking dicey. It can go either way.

“I wish you could be graduating into a world of peace, light, and love, but that’s not the case. We don’t live in a fairytale, but I guess the one percent does. After you leave here today, it’s going to be real life, and real life is no joke. It’s real out here for the 99 percent, for sure. It’s up to the graduating class to make a better world.”

He ended his address with the words “black lives matter”.

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