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Archive for the ‘Nigeria’ Category

South African writer Faraaz Mahomed wins 2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize: Africa Region

2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize
2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

 

Alert! The five regional winners of the 2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize have been announced.

South African writer Faraaz Mahomed has been named the Africa Regional Winner for his short story “The Pigeon”.

Mahomed is a clinical psychologist and human rights researcher based in Johannesburg. “I am an unseasoned writer, who continues to struggle with the insecurities and anxieties of inexperience,” he says. “Winning the Commonwealth Prize for the African region is more than an accolade, it’s a prompting to continue down this path.”

2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize judge Helon Habila says: “The Africa region included stories on almost every conceivable theme, accentuating the endless complexity and beauty of the continent; a testament to the inexhaustible talent that abounds there. ‘The Pigeon’ is a carefully and patiently woven tale about love, lust, guilt, and escape. It illustrates just how, as humans, we will always come short of our ideals, and we must learn to live with that.”

Other South African writers on the shortlist were Andrew Salomon, Cat Hellisen and Mark Winkler. From Nigeria, Lausdeus Chiegboka, Enyeribe Ibegwam and Oyinkan Braithwaite were also shortlisted.

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize aims to “brings stories from new and emerging voices, often from countries with little or no publishing infrastructure, to the attention of an international audience”. 26 stories by writers from 11 countries made up the shortlist. Five winners from the five different Commonwealth regions are selected, winning £2,500 (about R53,000) each. The overall winner will be announced at the Calabash International Literary Festival in Jamaica on 5 June, and will be awarded £5,000 (about R106,000).

2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize regional winners

  • Pacific Regional Winner: “Black Milk” by Tina Makereti (New Zealand)
  • Asia Regional Winner: “Cow and Company” by Parashar Kulkarni (India)
  • Africa Regional Winner: “The Pigeon” by Faraaz Mahomed (South Africa)
  • Canada and Europe Regional Winner: “Eel” by Stefanie Seddon (UK)
  • Caribbean Regional Winner: “Ethelbert and the Free Cheese” by Lance Dowrich (Trinidad and Tobago)

Chair of judges, South African novelist and playwright Gillian Slovo, said of the regional winners: “From Faraaz Mahomed’s ‘The Pigeon’ with its playful tone and unreliable narrator, Parashar Kulkarni’s ‘Cow and Company’, a witty satire that engagingly immerses the reader in its world, and ‘Eel’, a simply told and moving story of childhood by Stefanie Seddon to Lance Dowrich’s comedic ‘Ethelbert and the Free Cheese’ and Tina Makereti’s ‘Black Milk’, which impressed with a lyricism that takes the reader into another world while keeping us always on earth, these were all worthy winners and show how well the short story is flourishing in the Commonwealth.”

Commonwealth Writers has partnered with Granta, and on winning story will be published online on that platform every Wednesday until 1 June. At the same time, a conversation between the regional judge and the regional winner will be available as a podcast.

In the meantime, read a short excerpt from “The Pigeon”:

Each morning, for about four months now, I am woken by the same foul, fat pigeon. I am certain that he’s the same one, even though I have no means to prove it. In truth, I have no way to be sure he is a he either. It used to occur to me that maybe he had left something at the window, or inside and was hoping that being here to retrieve it would allow him some release. On most Saturdays, I leave the window open. It makes me feel kind, because I am easing his spirit into the next phase or something of that nature.

Excerpts from all 26 stories are available to read on the Commonwealth Writers website.

 
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‘It is the nature of tradition to evolve’ – Jennifer Malec reviews Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta

First published in the Sunday Times

Chinelo OkparantaUnder the Udala TreesUnder the Udala Trees
Chinelo Okparanta
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A month after Chinelo Okparanta completed Under the Udala Trees, a novel that deals delicately but boldly with lesbian love, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan criminalised same-sex relationships, making them punishable by up to 14 years in prison or, in the northern states, death by stoning.

Okparanta addresses the subject in an author’s note, to contextualise the story for readers who may not be familiar with the country. “With or without the bill, Nigeria is a very homophobic country,” she says. “With or without the bill, I had already written the novel. Under the Udala Trees is ultimately a story about people struggling to live out their lives the best way possible, even in the face of societal pressures, discrimination and abuse.”

Okparanta moved to the US with her family when she was 10, but her debut novel does not betray her physical distance from her home country. It is animated with Nigerian Pidgin and Igbo dialogue, as well as enigmatic folktales and proverbs understated in their insight: “If God dishes you rice in a basket, do not wish for soup.”

“I’m lucky to have a family that upholds traditions, but also one that allows room for change,” she says. “Sometimes I don’t feel that I ever left Nigeria, and sometimes I do. We continued to speak Igbo at home, we continued to eat fufu and soup, beans and yam, we continued to sing and dance to Nigerian music. I also go home as often as I can.”

Under the Udala Trees begins in 1968, a year into the Biafran War, when 11-year-old Ijeoma’s father is killed during a bombing raid. After his death, Ijeoma’s mother, Adaora, begins to suffer terrible nightmares. She stops eating, and alternates between blank silence and rage. The child begins to sense that she is a burden, something to be rid of, “Like an animal casting off old hair or skin”. Adaora concocts a story about the need to send Ijeoma away while she scouts out the safety of her parents’ old house in another town, and the betrayal is keenly felt.

In the midst of this, Okparanta startles us with a glimpse of the old Adaora, the caring mother who used to rouse her daughter from a sulk by taking her hands and joking, “Dance your sadness away.” In the context of a growing dislike of an unkind, neglectful parent, the vignette is almost unbearably touching.

This depth of character is Okparanta’s great strength, and she says: “It seems to me that the best books are often those in which the dignity of the characters are upheld. Also, those in which the characters are nuanced. I tried to keep this in mind while writing the novel.”

Ijeoma is sent away to work as a house-girl. One day she is followed home by Amina, another displaced girl. A childhood romance begins, which develops into a tender physical relationship. In the years that follow, Ijeoma attempts to reconcile her sexuality with her religious beliefs. But societal pressures intensify and when a childhood friend – now a handsome and successful man – proposes, she accepts, both out of loyalty to her mother’s wishes and out of longing for a life lived without fear of being “found out”. Sensing something unsound in his marriage, Chibundu is by turns caring and cruel, suffering as much from the disjunct between society’s expectations and his own actions as Ijeoma does.

“Chibundu is as much to be pitied as he is to be rebuked,” says Okparanta. “We would have a hard time completely condemning him. How does one balance out hope with unrequited love? Chibundu certainly tries.”

After a series of disturbing dreams, Ijeoma realises she has to leave Chibundu, describing the revelation as like hearing a murmur of sound in the distance, unnoticeable at first, but getting stronger, “and finally you look up and see a skein, a flock of geese, a perfect V up above in the sky”.

Ijeoma does not reject her heritage. Rather she proves that it is possible to discard some aspects of tradition without threatening the whole. “Tradition has its place,” Okparanta says. “But it is also the nature of tradition to evolve.”

Follow Jennifer Malec on Twitter @projectjennifer

 
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Chigozie Obioma reviews And After Many Days by Jowhor Ile

And After Many DaysVerdict: carrot, with criticism

There is a recurring motif of someone switching on a light bulb in Jowhor Ile’s laudable first novel, “And After Many Days.” The book begins in Nigeria in 1995, when the country was shrouded in literal and metaphorical darkness — plagued by war, corruption, and frequent and annoying power cuts. But this idea of a light that has gone out also applies to the family at the center of the book, a family whose own light is to be snuffed out by tragedy.

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Nigerian author Chigozie Obioma wins the Art Seidenbaum Award for his debut novel The Fishermen

Chigozie Obioma

 

The FishermenAlert! The Fishermen by Nigerian author Chigozie Obioma has won a prestigious Los Angeles Times Book Prize: The Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction.

In their 36th year, the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes are awarded in nine categories: biography, current interest, fiction, first fiction, history, mystery/thriller, poetry, science and technology, and young adult fiction.

African authors who have won the Art Seidenbaum Award previously include Ethiopian-American novelist Dinaw Mengestu, who won in 2007 for The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears; Nigerian author Uzodinma Iweala, who won in 2005 for Beasts of No Nation; and the late Mark Behr, who won in 1996 for The Smell of Apples. Most recently, Zimbabwean author NoViolet Bulawayo won the award in 2014 for her novel We Need New Names.

Obioma’s debut novel is an international hit, having been longlisted for 2016 International Dylan Thomas Prize and the Etisalat Prize for Literature, and shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Man Booker Prize. The book won the inaugural FT/OppenheimerFunds Emerging Voices Award and an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work – Debut Author.

 
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Author image of the author courtesy Pontas Agency


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Read an excerpt from The Domestication Of Munachi by Ifesinachi Okoli-Okpagu (part 2)

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Nigerian author Ifesinachi Okoli-Okpagu’s new novel is titled The Domestication Of Munachi, and Parrésia Publishers has shared an excerpt from the novel, as well as an audio clip of the author reading the excerpt.

This is part two of the excerpt. You can see part one here.

Find out more about the book and virtual book tour (happening now) here!

Listen to the excerpt:


 

 

Read the excerpt:

Hi, this is Ifesinachi. Thank you for the opportunity to read from my book, The Domestication of Munachi. Today, I would be reading from page 117. Here it goes:
#

NJIDEKA GOT ME thinking about my new lover. After sharing my body in the most intimate way, I was curious to know more about him. I was not sure I was ready yet to know about his family because I was desperate to keep that part of him away from our visits. I had asked about his full name the last time we met.

“Kolade Johnson,” he had replied with amusement dancing in his eyes. “Did you not look at the card I gave you the first day we met?”
Shamed stained my cheeks. I had looked at the card just once—the day I returned his call—and I had not even taken time to memorise his full name.

This weekend, as I watched him stroll naked to the bathroom, I resisted the urge to lean over and rummage through his things for any other information that I could tie to him. His perfume, rich like the smell in the air after rain kissed hot earth, teased my nostrils.

We were in the same hotel we had been the last time and it occurred to me that this may be his lovers’ nest where he took all the women he claimed as mistresses. The thought angered me but humbled me as I thought of what this life could mean for me.

Few minutes later, he returned and slipped into bed beside me. He nuzzled an ear and I giggled as his goatee brushed my cheek.

“What are you thinking, sweetheart?”

“Nothing.”

“That was too quick a reply. You know what I am thinking?”

“No.”

“I am thinking we should spend the whole day together since I don’t really have anywhere to go.” He gently pushed me up. “I got you something.”

A ripple of excitement churned through my belly as he bent over and retrieved something from the drawer beside him. He held open a little box. It held the most beautiful ear rings I had ever seen or owned in my life. Tiny gold lights twinkled in the seductive balls dangling from slender stems attached to hooks.

“Thank you sir,” I gushed and threw myself at him.

I felt – rather than hear – him chuckle before he gently pushed me away. “I gave Dotun some money to pay into your account. It should reflect by Monday.”

I was so excited that I blurted without thinking, “Your wife must be the luckiest woman in the world. You are so generous.”

A tense minute followed my response after which he stood up and started putting on his clothes in that slow, calculated manner of his. My last sentence hung heavy in the air. Forbidden.

“Where are you going?” Panic coated my voice.

“I have decided that I need to go home after all,” he simply said. “The driver will return to pick you up. It’s best you get ready.”

“KJ … I’m sorry.” Tears burned hot behind my eyes.

He gave me a wry smile. “You are young and there are lots of things you have to learn which I am ready to be patient for. But one thing you need to learn quickly is separating realities, my dear, because I find it difficult handling two realities at the same time. That’s why I am with you now. For this moment. Now. Here.”

He leaned over and planted a quick kiss on my cheek. His lips were cold. “For now, this reality is over,” he said quietly and left without looking back. His words felt like the caress of a feather across my cheeks.

It was what I hated most about him. He never looked back.

#
Thank you so much for this opportunity. I really hope that you go out there and get the book, ‘The domestication of Munachi’. I hope that I get the opportunity to speak with you again.

Once again this is the author, Ifesinachi Okoli-Okpagu. Thank you.


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Read an excerpt from The Domestication Of Munachi by Ifesinachi Okoli-Okpagu (part 1)

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Nigerian author Ifesinachi Okoli-Okpagu’s new novel is titled The Domestication Of Munachi, and Parrésia Publishers has shared an excerpt from the novel, as well as an audio clip of the author reading the excerpt.

This is part one of the excerpt. You can see part two here.

Find out more about the book and virtual book tour (happening now) here!

Listen to the excerpt:


 

 

Read the excerpt:

Hello, my name is Ifesinachi. Thank you so much for this opportunity of reading from my book, The Domestication of Munachi. I will go straight into the book and read from page 15. Here it goes:
#

The first sign of uneasiness Mama Adanna felt on the day her second child was to be given away in marriage was when she heard the loud bickering of young women inside the house. It was normal, she told herself. People always quarrelled on big occasions. When her first daughter Adanna got married, there had even been a fight between the Umuada, who were highly respected as the daughters of every Igbo family, and her own family members. The Umuada had rejected the brand of soft drinks presented to them, insisting that they wanted Malts or they would tear the ceremony apart.

This was different. Young women did not lose themselves and shout at the top of their voices like animals. They knew suitors lounged around, watching, assessing, deciding if one of them would be suitable as a wife, and these men were connected to the influential Odiegwu family, sons who had relocated abroad and had made lots of money to throw around, seeking wives they would fly overseas with.

Abandoning the pot of thick egusi soup on the fire, she marched into the house. Behind her, one of the women called out that they had to finish on time before the in-laws arrived.

She met one of the aso ebi young girls who were supposed to escort Munachi to her husband’s house. Mama Adanna recognised her as one of the choir members in church.

“Nne m, what is the matter?” she asked the upset girl who deftly avoided her gaze.

“I … I … don’t where Munachi is. She is no … nowhere. We can’t find her anywhere,” she replied in Igbo.

Nowhere? Impossible.

“Have you checked the toilets?” Mama Adanna asked weaving her way through the throng of young ladies, to the nearest bathroom.

She threw it open, almost ripping the door off its hinges.

Nothing stared back at her.

“Adanna! Adanna!”

“Ma.”

Adanna appeared, hanging onto her son, who was asleep on her shoulder.

“Where did you say Munachi went? I thought I told you to look after her.”

Adanna hesitated.

“She left, mummy.” Her voice was quiet, almost a whisper. Left? What did the child mean by ‘she left’?

“What do you mean she left?”

Silence.

“Is it not you I am asking before I break your head?” She advanced towards Adanna who drew back.

“I tried to stop her but she left. She said she was going away but she did not tell me where.” Her voice hung in the air like sodden paper about to disintegrate.

Loud groans and exclamations filled the air. Mama Adanna suddenly felt something she had never felt before. The ground below her shifted and she reached for the wall to steady herself.

Her own child was about to disgrace her in the presence of all these people. The Odiegwus would soon be here.

“You idiot. And it did not occur to you to come and get me, ehn?”

Retracing her steps back to the backyard, she called out, “Ifeanyi! Ejike!”

Two young men hurried to her side. They had been pounding fufu and their naked chests dripped and glistened with sweat.

“Biko, you two should get dressed and go round town. See if you will find Munachi anywhere. Check everywhere, even the parks.”

The two exchanged confused glances and looked back at her. “What are you standing there for?” she barked. “Go and find Munachi. She has disappeared.”

#
Thank you very much for this opportunity once again. I do hope that you go out there and get the book, The Domestication of Munachi. This is Ifesinachi Okoli-Okpagu. Thank you.


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Check out the virtual book tour of The Domestication Of Munachi by Ifesinachi Okoli-Okpagu

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nullToday, Books LIVE plays host to Nigerian author Ifesinachi Okoli-Okpagu, who is touring blogs and websites on a week-long online book tour.

Okoli-Okpagu’s new novel is titled The Domestication Of Munachi.

As part of the tour, readers are invited to ask the author questions, and stand a chance to win a copy of the book.
 
 
Read the tour schedule here

Buy the book here or here

Click here to win a copy of the book!

Ask the author a question on Twitter @ifesinachio_o!

Listen to excerpts from the novel here:


 

 

 

 

 
Find out more:

nullAbout the author

Aside wishing she could travel more often and she could stop answering questions nobody ever asks, Ifesinachi is a creative mom with the superhuman abilities to get bored when she’s working on a single project at a time. The Domestication of Munachi is her first novel.

In her regular life, Ifesinachi O Okpagu is a Lagos-based marketing communications executive with over seven years’ experience, including being an Associate Producer of a pan-African TV show and heading the marketing communications team of an insurance company. She also serves as the chief custodian of the Lexiton brand with intellectual property in the media and entertainment industry. Her first book, a novella, was published when she was 14 and was adopted as a secondary school recommended text in Delta and Ebonyi states.

She was educated at Queens College, Lagos, and at the University of Benin where she obtained a BA in Fine and Applied Arts. Ifesinachi also holds a Masters degree from the Pan-African University where she graduated top of her class. She has written several stories, some of which have been published in Sentinel Nigeria, the African Roar anthology and Saraba magazine.

She has written and produced several screenplays for the big screen and for television.

About the book

On a hot Sunday afternoon years ago …

… Two sisters walk in on their father’s sexual liaison with the family’s hired help which leaves them both scarred in different ways.

Years later …

Unable to bear the thought of marriage to a man she barely knows, the younger and more adventurous one, Munachi, runs away from home on the eve of her traditional marriage, unwittingly resurrecting a long buried feud between her religious mother and eccentric aunt. This conflict leaves a door open for the family’s destruction.

The Domestication of Munachi is a novel about the unnecessary pressure on women to take on life partners, regardless of who these partners are and the psychological impacts seen through the stories of two sets of sisters – Munachi and Nkechi versus Chimuanya and Elizabeth.

Author Q&A

What themes are explored in the novel?

The three main themes that stand out are: one, the untoward pressure on young women to marry young regardless of their physical and psychological readiness. Two, physical abuse of women, especially married women and the society’s penchant to suddenly become blind to this until an irreversible damage is caused. Three, the deception of religion in our society today.

There are, of course, other subthemes such as family, the relationship between mother and child, adultery, long distance marriage, and so on.

Who is your favourite character?

Hmm … despite Munachi’s eccentricities, I do love her. She could easily be my younger sister; the kind that can be so annoying. I think she would be my favourite.

For some reason I also like Aunty Ngo. She featured on few occasions, but every appearance came with drama and a reveal of a slice of the life she is struggling so hard to manage. Then again, I chuckled throughout writing her bits.


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4 South Africans, 3 Nigerians shortlisted for 2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

 

Alert! The 2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize shortlist has been announced – including seven African writers.

The prize – which aims to “brings stories from new and emerging voices, often from countries with little or no publishing infrastructure, to the attention of an international audience” – received nearly 4,000 entries from 47 countries this year.

26 stories by writers from 11 countries make up the shortlist.

The prize is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction in English, translations also eligible. Five winners from the five different Commonwealth regions are selected, winning £2,500 (about R53,000) each, with the overall winner receiving £5,000 (about R106,000).

The South African writers on the list are established authors Andrew Salomon, Cat Hellisen and Mark Winkler, as well as newcomer Faraaz Mahomed, a clinical psychologist and human rights researcher based in Johannesburg.

This is the second time Hellisen, Salomon and Winkler are facing off in a short story prize – having been placed first, second and third respectively in the 2015 Short Story Day Africa Award. Salomon was also the winner of the 2015 Short.Sharp.Stories Award.

Tokoloshe SongWastedBeastkeeper

 

From Nigeria, Lausdeus Chiegboka, Enyeribe Ibegwam and Oyinkan Braithwaite have been shortlisted.
 
The 2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize shortlist (African writers in bold):

  • Aabirah, Sophia Khan (Pakistan)
  • A Visitation, Jane Healey (United Kingdom)
  • Black Milk, Tina Makereti (New Zealand)
  • Charmed, Jane Downing (Australia)
  • Children of the Zocalo, Don McLellan (Canada)
  • Confluence, Nova Gordon-Bell (Jamaica)
  • Cow and Company, Parashar Kulkani (India)
  • Dirty White Strings, Kritika Pandey (India)
  • Eel, Stefanie Seddon (United Kingdom)
  • Ethelbert and the Free Cheese, Lance Dowrich (Trinidad and Tobago)
  • Exorcism, Lausdeus Chiegboka (Nigeria)
  • Girdhar’s Mansion, Sumit Ray (India)
  • Imbecile, Craig S Whyte (United Kingdom)
  • Instant Karma, Vinayak Varma (India)
  • Kurram Valley, Munib A Khan (Pakistan)
  • Niroporadh Ghum (Innocent Sleep), Sumon Rahman (Bangladesh) (translated by Arunava Sinha)
  • Saving Obadiah, Enyeribe Ibegwam (Nigeria)
  • Space Invaders, Stuart Snelson (United Kingdom)
  • The Driver, Oyinkan Braithwaite (Nigeria)
  • The Entomologist’s Dream, Andrew Salomon (South Africa)
  • The Pigeon, Faraaz Mahomed (South Africa)
  • This Here Land, Miranda Luby (Australia)
  • This is How We Burn, Cat Hellisen (South Africa)
  • Vestigial, Trent Lewin (Canada)
  • When I Came Home, Mark Winkler (South Africa)
  • Where Mountains Weep, Bonnie Etherington (New Zealand)

 
 
After an initial sift-through by a team of international readers, the judging panel, representing each of the five regions of the Commonwealth – Helon Habila (Africa), Firdous Azim (Asia), Pierre Mejlak (Canada and Europe), Olive Senior (Caribbean), and Patrick Holland (Pacific) – chose the shortlist.

Chair of judges, South African novelist and playwright Gillian Slovo, said of the shortlist: “As a novelist accustomed to the luxury of the long form it has been a treat to discover writers who manage to crystallise such different experiences into so few words.

“The stories we have chosen for the shortlist are in turn comic, touching, poetic, mysterious but always fresh and unexpected.”
 
 
Excerpts from all 26 stories are available to read on the Commonwealth Writers website.

The Entomologist’s Dream, Andrew Salomon:

Yasmin Ingabire.

Forty two.

Anywhere? You are sure about that, Sergeant Migambi? Very well, I think the appropriate place to start would be at the boxing gym in Kicukiro District. This was almost a year ago.

You know the sound a padded glove makes when it hits against someone’s ribs? It’s a kind of flat smack. I heard that sound all the time in the boxing gym. When I could hear a smack, a pause and then one or two more smacks in quick succession I’d know the boxers were in a clinch. I couldn’t see the ring or much else from where I sat, but I’d been going there long enough to be able to form a picture in my head of what was happening.

The Pigeon, Faraaz Mahomed:

Each morning, for about four months now, I am woken by the same foul, fat pigeon. I am certain that he’s the same one, even though I have no means to prove it. In truth, I have no way to be sure he is a he either. It used to occur to me that maybe he had left something at the window, or inside and was hoping that being here to retrieve it would allow him some release. On most Saturdays, I leave the window open. It makes me feel kind, because I am easing his spirit into the next phase or something of that nature.

This is How We Burn, Cat Hellisen:

CALL DOCTOR LOVEGOOD NOW. HEALER TRADITIONAL MEDICINE.

The ink was blue, fading across the flyer into what might have once been red but was now the pink of discarded Valentine’s cards. A rainbow wave of disquiet and superstition. An A5 job lot – 5000 flyers for seven hundred grimy South African rands. Lindela scanned the rest of the flyer, though it was nothing new. Just a distraction. Like the lulling rattle of the wheels against the track. A measure for passing time.

When I Came Home, Mark Winkler:

When I came home there were strange people in my house, and they gathered tight at the front door to block my entry.

“How did you get in?” I asked.

A young woman raised her index finger and before my eyes the tip of it took the shape of a key.
“Go away,” she said. “You’ve lived in this house for long enough.”

The house had been my father’s, and his father’s before. Was she using the plural, I wondered? And if so how could she know these things?

I asked if I might collect some of my belongings.

“No,” the woman said. “You’ve had the benefit of them for long enough.” And she closed the door.

 
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Akhatenje reviews Season of Crimson Blossoms by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim

Season of Crimson BlossomsVerdict: carrot

I love this book. I hate it too. I feel all manner of healthy and unhealthy things about Seasons of Crimson Blossoms. I also know the smell of cockroaches because I grew up in a house that smelled of giant cockroaches, thanks to the infestation from and at the neighbour’s house. Those damned insects never died, and they moved houses with us twice. The third time we got a liquid exterminator. Anyway, I am glad someone else knows how roaches smell.

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New books by 2 South African authors published by Ankara Press, the feminist romance imprint of Cassava Republic Press

New books by 2 South African authors published by Ankara Press, the feminist romance imprint of Cassava Republic Press

 

The latest releases from Ankara Press – the feminist African romance imprint of Cassava Republic Press – are novels by South African authors Aziza Eden Walker and Amina Thula.

The new books are Walker’s The Seeing Place, the story of an up-and-coming actor who falls for his casting director, and Love Next Door, the second novel by Thula, whose first book, Elevator Kiss, was an extremely popular release for Ankara.

“It’s exciting to be part of a new era in romance literature,” Thula says in an interview with Juwairiyya Asmal-Lee of Cassava. “It also feels empowering that now, we Africans are dictating the way the world should see us.

“I feel Africa is finally part of the global sphere and not some external third world continent.”

Walker says she is “honoured and delighted” to join the imprint: “As a South African woman with a local voice, stepping onto a broader platform, this means a lot to me.”

About Ankara Press

Ankara Press is a new imprint bringing African romance fiction into the bedrooms, offices and hearts of women the world over. Our mission is to publish a new kind of romance, in which the thrill of fantasy is alive but realised in a healthier and more grounded way. Our stories feature young, self-assured and independent women who work, play and, of course, fall madly in love in vibrant African cities from Lagos to Cape Town.

Ankara men are confident, emotionally expressive and not afraid of independent and sexually assertive women. Our sensuous books will challenge romance stereotypes and empower women to love themselves in their search for love, romance and wholesome sex.

We want our books to reflect the realities of African women’s lives in ways that challenge boundaries and go beyond conventional expectations.

 
 

The Seeing Place by Aziza Eden Walker

About The Seeing Place

Hot-shot producer Thuli Poni is holding auditions for her latest play in Cape Town. Andile Sebe is an up-and-coming star, just waiting for his big break. Thuli casts Andile and challenges him to link his painful past with the role he is portraying, leading him to open up to her. The two fall for each other and a passionate romance ensues.

But when auditions open for Sins of the Fathers, the most-watched TV show in South Africa, Thuli turns cold. Will she play a part in Andile’s rise to fame, or will she hinder it?

This is a story about how love can triumph against the odds if we stay humble, take risks and are willing to learn. The Seeing Place offers a very different kind of romance – between a powerful woman and a man who wants something only she can offer.

About the author

Aziza Eden Walker is a former actress and psychologist who now writes full-time. She began writing love stories on a little blackboard as a teen, the advantage being that she could rub the risqué bits out before anyone saw them! She has published short stories and poetry. The Seeing Place is her first novel with Ankara Press.
 
 

Love Next Door by Amina Thula

About Love Next Door

When business analyst Abby finally moves into a place of her own, she is delighted to discover that her new apartment block is also home to a hunk-next-door. Kopano – teacher, swim coach, artist and all-round nice guy – seems too good to be true. Until Abby discovers evidence of a mystery girlfriend.

As neighbours Abby and Kopano spend more and more time together as “just good friends”, the attraction deepens and their close connection develops into something more intense.

But just as her love life finally seems on track, a fabulous career opportunity opens up for Abby in New York – and she is torn between making her career aspirations come true and leaving behind the man of her dreams …

About the author

When Amina Thula was six years old her older brother bought her a comic book, a simple gift that would be the start to a lifelong love of books and reading. Her introduction to romance was the love triangle between comic book characters Archie Andrews, Betty and Veronica, before she graduated to the Sweet Valley and Sweet Dreams series in her teens – the start of her love affair with tall, brooding, hot, dark, handsome strangers. Love Next Door is her second novel with Ankara Press; her first, The Elevator Kiss, was published in 2014.

 
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