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Archive for the ‘Nigeria’ Category

New: Acclaimed NOMA Award Winner Sefi Atta’s Latest Novel, A Bit of Difference

A Bit of DifferenceSefi Atta’s new novel, A Bit of Difference, exposes the differences between the foreign images of Africa and the realities of contemporary Nigerian life:

At thirty-nine, Deola Bello, a Nigerian expatriate in London, is dissatisfied with being single and working overseas. Deola works as a financial reviewer for an international charity, and when her job takes her back to Nigeria in time for her father’s five-year memorial service, she finds herself turning her scrutiny inward. In Nigeria, Deola encounters changes in her family and in the urban landscape of her home, and new acquaintances who offer unexpected possibilities.

Through Sefi’s characteristic boldness and vision, readers are presented with a novel that perfectly encapsulates life’s truth beyond that of the book’s central character, while exposing the differences between foreign images of Africa and the realities of contemporary Nigerian life.

About the author

Sefi Atta is the author of two previous novels, Everything Good Will Come and Swallow (published by Jacana in 2010), and a collection of short stories, News from Home. Her first novel won her the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa and her short stories the NOMA Award for Publishing in Africa. Her novels have been published around the world and translated into numerous languages, and her radio and stage plays have been performed internationally. She was born in Lagos, educated in Nigeria, the UK and the US, and now lives in the USA. Atta will be attending the 2014 Open Book Festival in Cape Town this September.

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Now Available: The 2014 Caine Prize Anthology, The Gonjon Pin and Other Stories

The Gonjon Pin and Other StoriesThe new Caine Prize anthology The Gonjon Pin and Other Stories is to be published by Jacana:

The Caine Prize for African Writing is Africa’s leading literary prize. For fifteen years it has supported and promoted contemporary African writing. Keeping true to its motto, “Africa will always bring something new,” the prize has helped launch the literary careers of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Segun Afolabi, Leila Aboulela, Brian Chikwava, EC Osondu, Henrietta Rose-Innes, Binyavanga Wainaina, and many others.

The 2014 collection includes the five shortlisted stories and the stories written at the Caine Prize Writers’ Workshop along with 12 other stories from the best new writers. Insightful, arresting and entertaining – this collection reflects the richness and range of current African writing.

A last swim in a condemned pool leads a troubled teenager and her grandmother to common ground … A young woman finds it so hard to make her way in the city that she takes a drastic decision … A couple receive relationship counselling from a strange family grouping … A boy meets two exiles from Rwanda – one of them a gorilla – with remarkable results … A woman summons her father back from the dead …

The authors shortlisted for the 2014 Caine Prize were: Diane Awerbuck (South Africa) for “Phosphorescence”; Efemia Chela (Ghana/Zambia) for “Chicken”; Tendai Huchu (Zimbabwe) for “The Intervention”; Billy Kahora (Kenya) for “The Gorilla’s Apprentice”; Okwiri Oduor (Kenya) for “My Father’s Head”. The prize was won by Oduor. In addition, 12 writers took part in the Caine Prize Writers’ Workshop, held this year in Zimbabwe, where each produced a special story for this volume. These 17 stories – insightful, arresting and entertaining – reflect the richness and range of current writing on the African continent.

“Africa’s most important literary award.”International Herald Tribune

“Entertaining. Deserves to be widely read.” – Sunday Independent, South Africa

“It provokes and challenges.” – Harare News, Zimbabwe

“Dazzling and splendidly diverse.”The Times, UK

“The Caine Prize continues to gather the many-varied stream of African writing.”The Mercury, South Africa

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Book Preview: Afropolis Edited by Kerstin Pinther, Larissa Förster and Christian Hanussek

AfropolisJacana is pleased to share a book preview of the German book, Afropolis: City/Media/Art, which has now been translated into English.

The flipping preview contains an entire contents page, which delineates the five different cities (Cairo, Lagos, Nairobi, Kinshasa, Johannesburg). The preface, foreword, and the three first chapters from the Cairo section make up the bulk of the preview of the book, which takes a fascinating look at the African metropolis.

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Afropolis, a Study of Rise of the Big Five African Cities, Now Available in English

AfropolisMetropolises often evoke images of flashy high-rise buildings, permanent background noise, backed-up cars and people moving quickly in all directions in their masses. New York, Tokyo, London, Sao Paulo. But what about Cairo? Lagos? Nairobi, Kinshasa, Johannesburg?

More than half of the world‘s population lives in cities. Countries of the South in particular are facing fast-paced globalisation, with the highest rates of urbanisation taking place in African cities. Beyond Western models of urban development, African cities are creating their own urban structures, topography and cultures. How do these structures work? How do the residents of these cities organise their daily lives? What discussions are taking place in Africa about the history and future of cities? And how are artists thinking about and representing urban life in Africa?

Lavishly illustrated and meticulously researched, Afropolis is the product of an exhibition developed by the Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum in Cologne, Germany. The book focuses on the Big Five of African cities: Cairo, Lagos, Nairobi, Kinshasa and Johannesburg, and brings together positions of artistic and cultural studies, as well as detailed histories and the specific dynamics of these African cities, in order to expand our understanding of the concept of urbanity and the phenomenon of the City from an African perspective.

This is the first time the book is available in English.

About the editors

Larissa Förster is a research associate at the Morphomata International Centre for Advanced Studies Genesis, Dynamics and Mediality of Cultural Figurations, University of Cologne. Her doctoral thesis dealt with postcolonial landscapes of memory. She has spent long periods in Namibia and South Africa for her research, which focuses primarily on museum studies, visual and material culture, and the history and cultures of remembrance in southern Africa. She also co-curated the exhibition Namibia – Deutschland: eine geteilte Geschichte: Widerstand, Gewalt, Erinnerung shown in the Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum in Cologne and the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin (2004/2005).

Christian Hanussek, born in Frankfurt am Main in 1953, is an artist, author and curator currently based in Berlin. He studied art and art theory at the Städelschule in Frankfurt and at ateliers 63 in Haarlem (NL). His art often combines three-dimensional painting with film and video, and his works include a number of permanent installations. Since 2001, he has published a series of articles on art from Africa. In 2005/2006, he curated his project Gleichzeitig in Africa… with exhibitions, seminars and discussions in several German cities.

Kerstin Pinther is a Professor for African Art at the Department of Art History, Freie Universität Berlin. Until early 2010, she was a research fellow at Goethe University Frankfurt/Main. Within her general research fields of photography and visual cultures in West Africa, she is presently focusing on architecture and urbanity in Africa, and on specific issues related to Africa’s contemporary art and cultural production in a global context. Her most recent publication is Wege durch Accra. Stadtbilder, Praxen und Diskurse (2010). Kerstin Pinther curated the exhibition Black Paris. Kunst und Geschichte einer schwarzen Diaspora (2006). She has spent periods of research in Accra, Paris, Lagos, and Cairo.

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Jude Dibia Talks Sex in His Novels

UnbridledJude Dibia has published three novels, the second, Unbridled, having been released in South Africa by Jacana in 2008. He recently gave a reading from his third, Blackbird, in Nigeria – where he also answered questions related to sex, and sex scenes, in his books:

Dibia’s first book, Walking With The Shadows, is a story of homosexuality. The second book, Unbridled, also tells the story of sexual abuse, while Blackbird also is a story with powerfully evocative sex scenes. Could it be that Dibia has found in sex a gimmick that sells his books.

But Dibia argues, “My first novel has no sex scenes. It suggests an alternative sexuality that challenges some people’s idea of what is normal. Sex is part of life, just like eating or breathing. When I write sexual scenes, it is not a cheap gimmick to excite readers but the sex scenes in my novels illustrate other deeper themes like power, domination and abuse.”

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This February: Swallow by Sefi Atta

SwallowSwallow, Sefi Atta’s latest novel, is set in the 1980s in Lagos. The government’s War Against Indiscipline and austerity measures are in full swing. A succession of unfortunate events leads Tolani, a bank secretary, to be persuaded by her roommate Rose to consider drug trafficking as a way to make a living. Tolani’s subsequent struggle with temptation forces her to reconsider her morality – and that of her mother Arike’s – as she embarks on a turbulent journey of self-discovery.

An excerpt from Swallow:

I had to leave the flat to clear my head. My mouth tasted of palm oil. I couldn’t swallow my condom; it was the size of my thumb and as hard as a bone. What used to be my throat was now a pipe, my intestines were a drain and my stomach had become an empty portmanteau. It was as though every possible emotion had charged at me and left me flattened. I didn’t have the will or the ability to care about myself anymore, even to feel sorry for myself, and it was just as well, because the physical challenges I had to face were all that mattered now.

Rose and I were to swallow condoms of cocaine. OC said pushing them up our vaginas or packing them in our luggage was out of the question; the risk was too high. He would give us further instructions when the time was right, take us to the airport, hand us tickets and spending money. Our passports and visas would be arranged meanwhile. We would assume new identities. We were both cashiers, working for a foreign trading company and going overseas for the first time. On vacation. We were to practice by swallowing condoms filled with garri. Margarine, groundnut oil or palm oil would help us get the condoms down. Tablets for constipation would also help. If we succeeded, OC would consider us for the journey. If we spoke a word about his plan, we would both disappear. We were tough enough to follow through; Lagos had made us that tough.

Look out for the novel in stores this February from Jacana Media.

About the author

Sefi Atta was born in Lagos, Nigeria. Her stories have appeared in journals like Los Angeles Review and Mississippi Review and have won prizes from Zoetrope and Red Hen Press. Her radio plays have been broadcast by the BBC. She is the winner of PEN International’s David TK Wong Prize and in 2006, her debut novel Everything Good Will Come was awarded the inaugural Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa, and the Noma Award in 2009. She lives in Mississippi with her husband and daughter.

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Work in Progress and Other Stories: The Caine Prize for African Fiction Collection 2009

Work in Progress and Other StoriesEC OsundoNow in its 10th year, the Caine Prize presents another unmissable opportunity to tune in to what is going on in African fiction. Work in Progress and Other Stories: The Caine Prize for African Fiction 2009 brings together the shortlist for the 2009 award as well as stories written at the Caine Prize writers’ workshop held near Accra, Ghana – in all, 16 short stories that make up some of the best new writing from across the continent.

The 2009 shortlisted authors were:

Mamle Kabu [Ghana] for “The end of Skill”
Parselelo Kantai [Kenya] for “You Wreck Her”
Alistair Morgan [South Africa] for “Icebergs”
EC Osondu [Nigeria] for “Waiting”
Mukoma wa Ngugi [Kenya] for “How Kamau wa Mwangi Escaped into Exile”

EC Osondu won the £10 000 award.

Last year’s winner, Henrietta Rose-Innes, is one of 11 other writers featured in this remarkable collection, which showcases the cultural relevance of the short story and up-and-coming talent in equal measure. Her story, Work in Progress, provides the title for the collection. See Rose-Innes’ own posts on the collection.

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