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.
South African author Gareth Crocker goes from strength to strength and he certainly does not believe in being predictable.
His first book, Finding Jack, dealt with the relationship between a traumatised American GI and his service dog in Vietnam.
Ben Viljoen se boek is ’n roman wat uit ’n reeks kortverhale opstaan. ’n Nuwe wildernis behoort heelwat aandag te trek.
Dit sal tot baie spreek: oudsoldate (van die SAW sowel as die struggle), jong mans, heldhaftiges sowel as meer skroomvallige lede van die manlike spesie, en almal wat in oorlog, mans en geweld belangstel.
Local author Lauren Beukes is taking the UK book world by storm with the publication of her latest book The Shining Girls (published in South Africa by Umuzi in April 2013).
Oliver Munson, Lauren’s Literary Agent from A.M. Heath says: “The media response for The Shining Girls has been tremendous. In addition to the fantastic blog reviews we’ve had terrific coverage in the national press, including this absolutely cracking piece in yesterday’s The Observer. It states: ‘Forget Gone Girl, now it’s all about The Shining Girls‘ and other extremely quotable lines, ‘Brilliant… By placing the victims centre stage, Beukes celebrates each girl’s life and transforms a genre that often seems sickly sensationalist’.”
Lauren had an extensive UK publicity tour from 29 April to 3 May which included:
Media interviews included:
“You’re in for a wild, brutal ride through the 20th century, in the company of one of the sarkiest, most resilient heroines you’re likely to meet this year. For sheer, page-turning nerve… ‘The Shining Girls’ is going to take some beating this summer.” – The Guardian
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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