Fiction

image To Be or Become: A View of Lagos through an Oyibo’s Black Nyash

By Su’eddie Vershima Agema


  • Title: Blackass
  • Author: A Igoni Barrett
  • Publisher: Kachifo Limited
  • Number of pages: 302
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Fiction

When the bare arse has been seen, what remains for a man to hide? How does our pigment determine our destiny? These questions seem to be the thrust of A Igoni Barrett’s Blackass, a funny novel of being and becoming. When one reads Barrett’s Blackass, Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis comes to mind, and that remains so throughout the book. One notices tributes to that famous, human-to-insect transformation story. For the first few pages, the reader will wonder whether they are not reading Kafka. It does not help matters that the first part of the book is preceded by a quote from the same Kafka. But, let us focus on our Blackass.

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image Of Transitions, Agendas and Bad Balls: Thoughts on Hamid Qabbal’s The Road to Mogador

By Su’eddie Vershima Agema


  • Title: The Road to Mogador
  • Author: Hamid Qabbal
  • Publisher: Editions Sefrioui, Essaouira, Morocco
  • Number of pages: 128
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Fiction

Hamid Qabbal has balls. In his third novel, The Road to Mogador, he disowns allegiance to his balls and paints men as monsters and women as angels trampled by these monsters. The novel is one of transition, new beginnings and gender relations. It belongs to the broad collection of works that form the corpus of Moroccan literature. More…

image Kintu: The Relevance of a Name and a Story

By Tọ́pẹ́ Salaudeen-Adégòkè


  • Title: Kintu
  • Author: Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
  • Publisher: Kwani Trust
  • Number of pages: 442
  • Year of publication: 2014
  • Category: Fiction

 

– you know, there are the likes of Chinua Achebe, the pioneer editor of the African Writers Series, Wole Soyinka, Léopold Sédar Senghor, Naguib Mahfouz, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Nadine Gordimer, and a host of other giant writers who have fed the world with African stories. More…

image Roses for Betty and Other Stories: Ode to the Journey

By Tinuke Adeyi


  • Title: Roses for Betty and Other Stories
  • Editors: Emmanuel Sigauke and Sumayya Lee
  • Publisher: Centre for African Cultural Excellence (CACE)
  • Number of pages: 119
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Fiction

The writing of a short story demands a skill set that is unique and quite different from that required in writing a novel. A lot of the choices available to the novelist in the art of creation are simply off-limits to the short story writer, who has to contend with limitations of space in delivering their message, no matter how impassioned, important or controversial. More…

image Blood, Guts and Gore

By Agatha Aduro


  • Title: A Family Portrait: A Collection of Short Stories from the Breaking the Silence Project
  • Editors: Tsitsi Dangarembga et al
  • Publisher: ICAPA Publishing
  • Year of publication: 2014
  • Number of pages: 117
  • Category: Fiction

A Family Portrait is the ambitious product of a ten-day workshop, Breaking the Silence Project, which held in 2012 in Harare, organised by the Institute of Creative Arts for Progress in Africa (ICAPA) Trust and funded by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. There are seven fictional stories centred around the theme of violence in A Family Portrait. The stories are based on sixty true-life stories that were submitted to the workshop as letters from the public. More…

image In Praise of Death: An Existentialist Reading of Smithereens of Death

By Richard Oduor Oduku


  • Title: Smithereens of Death
  • Author: Olubunmi Familoni
  • Publisher: WriteHouse Collective, Ibadan, Nigeria
  • Number of pages: 124
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Fiction

‘Life is about death; tiny pieces of dying… but when the last piece has been peeled away, the grief that remains is an open sore on the hearts of those left behind – you cannot cover it with anything, with living … It will not heal tomorrow, or the day after …’ (‘A Rain of Many Things’, p 88)

 Life is inherently devoid of meaning. Like Jean-Paul Sartre would say, it is up to man to find meaning for himself. The inherent meaninglessness does not equal doom and depression. Rather, it opens up doors of possibilities and feeds the idea that we earn our freedom by finding ourselves and creating our own meanings. Existentialism lies at the heart of Smithereens of Death. In this collection of short stories, the characters create their own sense of purpose because of the failure of externalities – God and society – to provide one. More…

image A Review of John Habwe’s Kovu Moyoni (‘Scar in the Heart’)

By Redscar McOdindo K’Oyuga


  • Title: Kovu Moyoni
  • Author: John Habwe
  • Publisher: Bookmark Africa
  • Number of pages: 154
  • Year of publication: 2014
  • Category: Fiction

Kovu Moyoni (translates loosely as ‘Scar in the Heart’) is a Kiswahili novel based on a series of land clashes in an imaginary village that witnesses the same wrangles as befell the Mt Elgon area of Kenya from 2005 to 2008. The intriguing story is set in the fictional village of Siloko, in a post-independence nation called Tandika. What strikes the reader is how John Habwe expertly documents the intellectual, economic, social and spiritual emptiness of life in contemporary African nations. More…

image Plumbing the Unfathomable

By Tinuke Adeyi


  • Title: Terra Incognita: New Short Speculative Stories from Africa
  • Editor: Nerine Dorman
  • Publisher: Short Story Day Africa
  • Number of pages: 278
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Fiction

If, according to Rachel Zadok, the survival ethos of the publishers of the anthology Terra Incognita: New Short Speculative Stories from Africa is to ‘reclaim a place for non-conformist writing’ and ‘subvert ideas about what it means to be a writer in Africa’, the anthology unapologetically declares they are here to not only survive but to blaze an exciting new trail. The small but rapidly expanding cult of enthusiasts of African speculative fiction – with all of her freak children, including futuristic tales, science fiction, stories of the supernatural and fantasy fiction – will find this third and latest result of the annual Short Story Day Africa Prize difficult to put down. More…

image These Streets: Our Slum Dwellers Demand the Key to the City

By Emeka Ugwu


  • Title: True Citizen
  • Author: Oduor Jagero
  • Publisher: KoaMedia
  • Number of pages: 248
  • Year of publication: 2014
  • Category: Fiction

‘The street hadn’t changed. And I was raised on these streets, on kindness and loot’. – Roots in the Sky, Akin Adesokan.

‘A slum is not a chaotic collection of structures; it is a dynamic collection of individuals who have figured out how to survive in the most adverse of circumstances’. – Rediscovering Dharavi, Kalpana Sharma.

Nairobi, popularly known as ‘Green City in the Sun’, is both the largest city in and capital of Kenya. Nairobi is also home to the headquarters of UN-Habitat as well as an estimated two hundred slums and squatter settlements. It seems the perfect setting for Oduor Jagero’s pulsating, satirical thriller, True Citizen. More…

image The Pyramid of Askia Burtune: An Example of a Bad Book

By Tọ́pẹ́ Salaudeen-Adégòkè


  • Title: The Pyramid of Askia Burtune
  • Author: Aminu Hamajoda
  • Publisher: Fasihan Nigeria Limited
  • Number of pages: 290
  • Year of publication: 2014
  • Category: Fiction

The print-on-demand book on Amazon by Aminu Hamajoda can be said with considerable justification, if assessed by the raisons d’être of creativity, fluidity of narration and sublimity of subject matter, to be an example of a bad book that is not worthy of space on anybody’s bookshelf or anybody’s time for that matter. More…