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The 15 Best Local Book Covers of 2014: Do you agree with our selection?

Brittle Paper Announces a New African Fantasy Series: Read Part 1 and 2 of Eugene Odogwu's In The Shadow of Iyanibi

Brittle Paper have announced a new African Fantasy Story Series in which they plan to publish original stories by African authors.

Eugene Odogwu’s story In The Shadow of Iyanibi packs a powerful punch as it kicks off the series. It will be published in three sessions, with the first two parts already delivered.

“Fantasy has a common denominator – imagination. Imagination of the awe inspiring, the amazing, the magical, the otherworldly. Look closely enough and you’ll see that at its core, it’s all the same, just with different names. Magic or Juju, what’s the difference?” Odogwu told Brittle Paper in an interview about being a fantasy writer.

Odogwu also revealed that “Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream was a great influence, Ovid’s The Metamorphoses even more so”.

Originally from Warri, in Southern Nigeria, Odogwu says his love of fantasy was inspired by the place where he grew up. “Anyone who knows anything about Warri knows that fantasy lurks around its every corner. From tales of men transforming into tubers of yam after touching a stray note on the ground, women birthing tortoises, people riding plantain leafs like private jets to tales of giant birds snatching unsuspecting children from school playgrounds. Oh, trust me, fantasy happens everywhere, not only in the dark recesses of ancient woods.”

Read the article to find out more about this author and artist (Odogwu designs beautiful book covers when he is not writing), his views on fantasy and fiction in Africa and his new story series:

Tell us a bit about your new story series. Where did the idea for “In the Shadow of Iyanibi” come from?

I once heard a Yoruba tale about a tree that demanded the first child of a woman who’d come to it for favors. The idea of a malevolent and effeminate tree-creature seemed so fascinating. I had to explore it. As for Iyanibi, it’s a tribute to the thousands of dark and “evil” forests in all forms of literature, folklores and fairytales.

In The Shadow of Iyanibi is a story about a brave and gifted girl named Ihumbi, who is swept up in a series of frightening encounters involving the search for a missing sister in a forest of deep, dark shadows.

Read the first part:

Part 1

Ahu clenched the itosi hanging from her neck, the bird feather charm her father had given them at birth. It was all she could do to contain the anger building up inside her.

“Look at your sister,” the boy said, grinning mockingly. “Sitting on her own and talking to an ija-ja. Who spends all their time talking to a bush baby? She’s crazy too.”

The rest of the children in their age group laughed, some pointing fingers at her sister sitting under a tree and talking to a little creature with huge amber eyes.

“I’m warning you, Tamo,” Ahu hissed through clenched teeth. “I’m warning you, hold your tongue.”

Read part two of In The Shadow of Iyanibi:

Part 2

Ihumbi ran. Her chest burned with each breath she gulped down. Her calves ached each time her feet hit the ground. Her gut felt like it was being ripped from the inside out.

Still, she pushed on. The sound of the asan thrashing about behind her was enough motivation. Its shrill cries and grunts gave her the strength to keep running.

She ran and ran. But her body began to slowdown with each step until she could only flounder about, tired and disoriented.
As she glanced over her shoulder to catch a glimpse of the raging beast, her foot caught against a root. She tumbled forward, headlong into a ditch. Her face was deep in the dark soil before she could even gasp.

According to Brittle Paper, the final part of Odogwu’s story will be published on February 9, with two more series planned for 2015. We can’t wait!

Images courtesy of Brittle Paper

Paul C Venter gesels oor sy televisiereeks Vlug na Egipte, gebaseer op In die mond van die wolf

In die mond van die wolfRudolf Stehle het onlangs met Paul C Venter gesels oor sy nuwe televisiereeks, Vlug na Egipte, wat gebaseer is op sy boek In die mond van die wolf.

Die skrywer sê hy is verbaas oor kykers se reaksie op Facebook, tog is hy bly dat mense oor sy program gesels. “Dit beteken mense kyk, jy weet. Hulle stel belang,” sê hy.

Venter prys regisseur Human Stark se uitstekende interpretasie van In die mond van die wolf en gesels oor sy oorlede vrou Dalene Kotzé wat die verhale in die boek geïnspireer het.

Lees die artikel:

“Wat met my en my oorlede vrou gebeur het toe ons op Hanover aangekom het, het my geïnspireer om die boek te skryf en toe Stark Films by my aanklop vir ’n script, toe is daai wêreld in my kop en so was die boek die vonk vir die reeks.”

Maar die reeks gaan op heel ander paaie, sê Venter.

“Vlug na Egipte bied ’n kykie op ’n klein dorpie en omgewing in die Karoo waar mense hard probeer oorleef onder baie moeilike omstandighede, sowel sosiaal-polities as natuurgewys.”

Vlug na Egipte wys Dinsdae om 20:30 op kykNET. Dit speel af op ‘n tipiese Karoo-dorpie genaamd Breipaal en verbeeld die ingewikkelde aard van ‘n ontwrigte klein gemeenskap. Frank Opperman, Leandie du Randt, Clara Joubert, Ivan Zimmerman, Marion Holm, Rolanda Marais, Chris van Niekerk, Richard van der Westhuizen en nog vele ander bekende name kan in die rolverdeling gesien word.

Loer na die lokprent:

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Fiction Friday: "Olikoye", A New Short Story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Olikoye<br />
A new short story by the author of Americanah and We Should All Be Feminists Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

AmericanahHalf of a Yellow Sun Purple Hibiscus

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has penned a new short story as part of The Art of Saving a Life Project, which aims to increase awareness around the value of vaccines for children.

More than 30 world-renowned photographers, painters, sculptors, writers, filmmakers, and musicians took part in the project, which was commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The result is a collection of stories about how vaccines can change the course of history.

Adichie’s story focuses on Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, a former paediatrician, activist, and Nigerian health minister who passed away in 2003. Ransome-Kuti’s brother was the famous musician Fela Kuti.

“I hope the story humanises the importance of healthcare, in addition to paying tribute to a great Nigerian,” Adichie says. “I was happy to be involved because I admire the work being done, and because I believe that access to basic healthcare is a human right.”

Read this week’s Fiction Friday:


By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

How softly the rain fell that Monday morning when my water broke. Because I was used to the raging downpours of Lagos, this quiet patter calmed me, filled me with peace. My husband Omoregie was at work and so our neighbor took me to the hospital, my dress slightly damp, my heart full of expectation. My firstborn child. The nurse on duty was Sister Chioma, a woman with an unsmiling face who liked to crack sharp-tongued jokes. During my last check up, when I complained about the backache brought on by my pregnancy, her retort was, “Did you think about backache when you were enjoying it?”

She checked my cervix and told me it was early. She encouraged me to walk up and down the ward.

“You must be happy that your first is a boy,” she said.

I shrugged. “As long as the baby is healthy.”

“I know you are supposed to wait until he is born to decide on a name but I’m sure you already have something in mind,” she said.

“I will name him Olikoye.”

“Oh.” She paused. “I didn’t know your husband was Yoruba.”

“He’s not. We’re both Bini.”

“But Olikoye is a Yoruba name.”

“Yes it is.”

“Why?” she asked.

My contractions were slow. I told Sister Chioma to sit down and I would tell her the story.

Book details

Image courtesy of Medium

Presenting Tafelberg Short – Nkandla: The end of Zuma? with a Foreword by Ferial Haffajee

Nkandla: The end of Zuma?Tafelberg Short – Nkandla: The end of Zuma? is available from Tafelberg:

Nkandla has come to symbolise a political cross-roads.

The R250-million upgrades to President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla estate have tainted his image in the eyes of South Africa and the world. It may even signal the demise of his presidency.

The story of Nkandla goes back to 2004 and Zuma’s connection to Shabir Shaik. In the ensuing years, there have been numerous reports, speculations and opinions about the lavish spending at the president’s home and in the Nkandla district, as well as questions about where the money came from and who exactly benefitted.

City Press and Tafelberg Publishers have condensed these stories into an e-book, which examines the saga behind the Public Protector’s report. The full report, with analysis, is included.

With a foreword by Ferial Haffajee.

Book details

Herman Lategan gesels met Martie Retief-Meiring en Theunis Engelbrecht oor rare woorde

Binnekring van spookasems“Jacob Zuma kan maar soos ‘n glimlaggende papawer meesmuil, ons sien deur sy glippende Janus-masker.”

Só skryf Herman Lategan in sy Woorde wat wip-rubriek op Netwerk24 oor die betekenis van die woord meesmuil.

Lategan bespiegel die oorsprong van soenoffebiets en knaterkraker met Martie Retief-Meiring en gesels met Theunis Engelbrecht oor sý gunsteling woord, spykerspeurder.

Lees die artikel:

Knaterkraker, sê Martie, is as jy uit selfverdediging na ‘n man se kroonjuwele gryp. Sy vertel sy het na die oorsprong gaan snuffel (knipoog), dit kom dalk uit Deuteronomium (25:11): “As manne met mekaar veg, die een met die ander, en die een se vrou aankom om haar man te red uit die hand van die een wat hom slaan, en haar hand uitsteek en hom by die skaamdele gryp, dan moet jy haar hand afkap.”

Ook maar mín genade in daardie dae. Sy wou maar net help, en die volgende oomblik het sy die bal misgeslaan en kon sy daarna nooit weer die kloutjie by die oor bring nie. Ai.


Top 3 Announced in 2014 Etisalat Flash Fiction Competition: Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto, Neema Komba and Irabor Ikhide

The top three short stories in the Etisalat Prize for Literature, Flash Fiction category have been announced, including two Nigerian authors and one from Tanzania:

  • “I Saved My Marriage” by Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto (Nigeria)
  • “Setting Babu on Fire” by Neema Komba (Tanzania)
  • “These Words I Do Not Speak” by Irabor Ikhide (Nigeria)

These three stories were voted for by the public, emerging from the top 20 chosen by a panel of judges who came together for this new initiative from Etisalat, the Emirates telecommunications corporation behind the Etisalat Prize for Literature.

The winning author, to be announced on a date yet to be confirmed, will receive a £1 000 cash prize, as well as a Samsung Galaxy Note or iPad, and will have their published ebook promoted online and via SMS. The two runners up receive £500 each, and a Samsung Galaxy Note or iPad.

The winners of the main prize, Etisalat Prize for Literature for debut fiction – which sees two South African authors, Nadia Davids (An Imperfect Blessing) and Songeziwe Mahlangu (Penumbra), and Nigerian-American author Chinelo Okparanta (Happiness Like Water) on the shortlist – will be announced on Sunday, 22 February.

The prize for this relatively new award entails £15 000, an engraved Montblanc Meisterstück pen and a fellowship at the University of East Anglia. The inaugural Etisalat Prize was won in February by Zimbabwean NoViolet Bulawayo, for her novel We Need New Names.

An Imperfect BlessingPenumbraHappiness, Like Water

Read “These Words I Do Not Speak” by Irabor Ikhide, one of the top three flash fiction pieces:

The air shuddered in the overbearing silence.

“I know you’re probably thinking it’s your fault, Gare, but
mommy left because she wanted to, okay?”

Gare sat quietly on the edge of her bed. She was a most peculiar child. Her class teacher had remarked on her last report card: She does not mingle with other students, and when her parents had read it, they had shared a hearty laugh.

“Of course, she didn’t mingle. She’s Gare!” her father had laughed.

And he had laughed a little at first when he broke the news to her. When he sat by her bedside and said, “Your mommy’s run away, Gare. She didn’t even leave a note.”

It had been a most peculiar laugh, too. Gare hadn’t thought it an appropriate thing to do, laugh while telling her that, but she was not given to words.

In fact, she hadn’t said a word since she had been born seven years ago.

“Drink your juice, Gare,” her father cooed and he rubbed her hair affectionately. She took a sip, then a gulp.

Soon the cup was empty, and sleep wrapped pervasively around her like a bristly shawl.

“Go to bed,” he said, and he turned off the bedroom light.

What Gare didn’t know was that daddy had been under a lot of stress lately, and that a long time ago, since before she was born, daddy had burned down his foster home.

What she knew, however, was that her mother hadn’t run away.

She knew her mother was under a pile of earth in the backyard.

But she was not given to words.

Book details