Nigerian author Elnathan John has been shortlisted for the 2013 Caine Prize for African Writing for his short story “Bayan Layi”, published in Issue 25 of Per Contra. John is up against fellow Nigerians Tope Folarin, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim and Chinelo Okparanta, as well as Pede Hollist from Sierra Leone, for the £10 000 prize, the winner of which will be announced on 8 July.
While you await the announcement of the award, we invite you to read “Bayan Layi”:
The boys who sleep under the Kuka tree in Bayan Layi like to boast about the people they have killed. I never join in because I have never killed a man. Banda has, but he doesn’t like to talk about it. He just smokes wee-wee while they talk over each other’s heads. Gobedanisa’s voice is always the loudest. He likes to remind everyone of the day he strangled a man. I never interrupt his story even though I was there with him and saw what happened. Gobedanisa and I had gone into a lambu to steal sweet potatoes, but the farmer had surprised us while we were there. As he chased us, swearing to kill us if he caught us, he fell into a bush trap for antelopes. Gobedanisa did not touch him. We just stood by and watched as he struggled and struggled and then stopped struggling.
- A Life in Full and Other Stories: The Caine Prize for African Writing 2010 by The Caine Prize for African Writing
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Image courtesy Flash Point News
The Mail & Guardian have published a piece by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on the nature of truth in fiction. She describes an incident were she overheard a young Igbo woman in Abba exclaim “Fuck!” after falling, Adichie writes that if she were to include this in a story she imagines her readers not believing it, “But this particular Igbo girl did say “fuck”. And it was its singularity that made it interesting.”
Adichie describes writing real life events into her fiction and having readers respond that this would never really happen, she says that she doesn’t explain to them that it really did happen, as “if it is unbelievable then you, the writer, have failed at your art, which is to use language to achieve the suspension of belief.”
It was Christmas in Abba, my ancestral hometown. I was walking to my uncle’s house on a dirt road baked and cracked by the Harmattan. Ahead of me were two young women, perhaps 17, talking loudly. They were local; I could tell from their clothes, their rural Igbo dialect, their gait. Then one of them slipped and fell. “Fuck!” she said, in English. “Fuck!”
I almost stopped to ask if I had heard her correctly, it was the last exclamation I would have imagined coming out of her mouth. I expected “Ewo!” or “Jesus!” or, more fancifully, something else in Igbo, deep and authentic to my city ears. But she said “fuck”. I promptly pulled out the notebook I carry for moments of the unexpected, such as this; moments I might later mould into fiction. I am yet to use this incident in a story, but I can already imagine a potential reader saying: “I don’t believe an Igbo village girl would say ‘fuck!’” — a reasonable protest. But this particular Igbo girl did say “fuck”. And it was its singularity that made it interesting.
Jacana Media is having its bi-anual book sale where you can pick up quality books for as little as R20!
See you there!
- Date: 28 to 30 May 2013
- Time: 2:00 to 5:30 PM
- Venue: 10 Orange Street
Johannesburg | Map
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Umuzi is pleased to be the local publisher of 2011 Caine Prize winner NoViolet Bulawayo’s much-anticipated debut novel, We Need New Names:
“To play the country-game, we have to choose a country. Everybody wants to be the USA and Britain and Canada and Australia and Switzerland and them. Nobody wants to be rags of countries like Congo, like Somalia, like Iraq, like Sudan, like Haiti and not even this one we live in – who wants to be a terrible place of hunger and things falling apart?”
Darling and her friends live in a shanty called Paradise, which of course is no such thing. It isn’t all bad, though. There’s mischief and adventure, games of Find bin Laden, stealing guavas, singing Lady Gaga at the tops of their voices. They dream of the paradises of America, Dubai, Europe, where Madonna and Barack Obama and David Beckham live. For Darling, that dream will come true. But, like the thousands of people all over the world trying to forge new lives far from home, Darling finds this new paradise brings its own set of challenges – for her and also for those she’s left behind.
“Bulawayo’s use of contemporary culture, as well as her fearless defense of the immigrant experience through honouring the cadence of spoken language, sets this book apart.”
– Oprah magazine
“Darling is 10 when we first meet her, and the voice Ms. Bulawayo has fashioned for her is utterly distinctive — by turns unsparing and lyrical, unsentimental and poetic, spiky and meditative… stunning novel… remarkably talented author.” — Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
About the author
NoViolet Bulawayo was born in Tsholotsho a year after Zimbabwe’s independence from British colonial rule. When she was eighteen, she moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan. In 2011 she won the Caine Prize for African Writing; in 2009 she was shortlisted for the South Africa PEN Studzinsi Award, judged by JM Coetzee. Her work has appeared in magazines and in anthologies in Zimbabwe, South Africa and the UK. She earned her MFA at Cornell University, where she was also awarded a Truman Capote Fellowship, and she is currently a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University in California.
The Sunday Times shortlist for the Alan Paton Award and the Fiction Prize were announced at the Franschhoek Literary Festival on Saturday 18th of May.
Random House Struik is pleased to announce that Killing for Profit by Julian Rademeyer and Rat Roads by Jacques Pauw were both shortlisted for the 2013 Alan Paton Award, both published under the Zebra Press imprint. Imraan Coovadia’s The Institute for Taxi Poetry (published by Umuzi) has been shortlisted for the 2013 Fiction Prize.
Killing for Profit has been described as a good book on a bad subject – the tracking and poaching of rhinoceroses that is threatening to make these animals extinct. A terrifying true story of greed, corruption, depravity and ruthless criminal enterprise…
Rat Roads is a searing story of hardship and survival, and an unforgettable tale of courage and triumph. In this extraordinary book, celebrated journalist Jacques Pauw gives a human face to some of the most tumultuous events in recent African history.
In the world of Imraan Coovadia’s tragicomic novel, The Institute for Taxi Poetry, taxi companies thrive in a single-party state. Taxi poets are admired, sliding-door men rule, professors and politicians strut and fret and connive in a society shaped by violence and ambition, love, and the unsettling power of the imagination.
Other 2013 Alan Paton shortlisted titles include: Biko: A Biography by Xolela Mangcu, The Last Afrikaner Leaders by Hermann Giliomee and Endings and Beginnings by Redi Tlhabi.
Other 2013 Fiction prize shortlisted titles include: The Book of War by James Whyle, For the Mercy of Water by Karen Jayes, The Unlikely Genius of Dr Cuthbert Kambazuma by Chris Wadman, Entanglement by Steven Boykey Sidley.
The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on June 29th.
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The late author Chinua Achebe is to be buried today on his family compound in the town of Ogidi, after his remains arrived in his home country, Nigeria, on Tuesday.
Achebe passed away on 22 March at the age of 82 in Boston, Massachussetts in the US. A memorial service was held for the great writer in South Africa on 28 March.
Yesterday about 2 000 admirers paid their last respects to Achebe at a stadium in Awka in Anambra state in Nigeria’s southeast. Today, Achebe will be buried following a service at a local Anglican church in Ogidi.
It is reported that several Nigerian leaders, foreign dignitaries and Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, will be attending the funeral, while The Washington Post points out that Achebe “hated the trappings of power in Nigeria, which include looting government funds, local elected officials arrived in tinted-glass SUVs with police sirens wailing”.
OGIDI, Nigeria — Writer Chinua Achebe, whose works focused on the conflict between modernity and the way of life in rural Nigeria, has returned home for the final time.
Achebe’s corpse arrived Wednesday in his native Anambra state. There, local government officials and writers feted the late novelist, who died in March at the age of 82. While the man himself hated the trappings of power in Nigeria, which include looting government funds, local elected officials arrived in tinted-glass SUVs with police sirens wailing.
Al Jazeera reports from the funeral service:
The funeral of Nigeria’s celebrated writer, Chinua Achebe, is due to take place in his small hometown in a ceremony expected to draw crowds of mourners.
Achebe, author of the widely praised novel Things Fall Apart, will be buried on Thursday, two months after he died in the US aged 82.
His private burial on the family compound will follow a service at a local Anglican church.
GMA News was at the stadium in Awka where Achebe was honoured:
AWKA, Nigeria – The body of revered Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe arrived Wednesday in his home state in Nigeria, where hundreds of admirers packed a stadium to pay tribute a day ahead of his funeral.
A wooden coffin transported the body of Achebe, the celebrated author of the novel “Things Fall Apart”, who died in March in the United States at age 82.
The Guardian Nigeria looks at the weeklong transition activities which started on Sunday:
PROMINENT Nigerians from all walks of life continued their effusion of tributes as they paid their last respect to the master storyteller, Prof. Chinualumogu Achebe, who died on March 21 in the United States (U.S.), just as his remains will be interred today in his hometown, Ogidi, Anambra State.
In Abuja, where the weeklong transition activities started on Sunday, the literary giant was eulogised for blazing the trail that others followed. Among the dignitaries during his commendation service at The National Church, Abuja, was the Primate of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, The Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, who presided.
Image courtesy Al Jazeera