Fiction

image Cutting Culture Off: A Review of Mary Karooro Okurut’s The Switch

By Timi Odueso


  • Title: The Switch
  • Author: Mary Karooro Okurut
  • Publisher: FEMRITE Publications Limited
  • Number of pages: 211
  • Year of publication: 2016
  • Category: Fiction

‘Culture can be the worst form of imprisonment’. – Dr Medard

Mary Karooro Okurut’s The Switch contains numerous exhilarating elements but first and foremost is the intensity and intrigue the first few pages offer. The suspense, right from the first few pages, is reminiscent of a thriller novel. Readers will feel the same impending sense of danger they feel in reading prolific thriller writers like James Patterson, John Grisham or Nora Roberts, and although The Switch is not a crime thriller or a mystery novel per se, it still, heavily so, employs elements from those sub-genres and that gives it a unique style. In fact, the style of writing and the elements involved are so unusual for books with the same or similar themes as The Switch that the effect is pleasantly surprising. More…

image People of the Book: A Review of Diary of a Jewish Muslim

By Ona Akinde 


  • Title: Diary of a Jewish Muslim 
  • Author: Kamal Ruhayyim 
  • Translator: Sarah Enany
  • Publisher: The American University in Cairo Press
  • Number of pages: 240
  • Year of publication: 2014
  • Category: Fiction

In the first half of the twentieth century, there were thousands of Jews living in Egypt. With the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, their lives in Egypt became increasingly difficult and many emigrated to Europe. Not only did the war have an effect on the status of things in reality, it led to a great absence of Arab Jews in African literature in Arabic. Kamal Ruhayyim, through his novels, tells stories that place Arab Jews not just at the centre of the novels, but as part of the fabric of Arab communities. More…

image Everything to See

By Omotola Otubela


  • Title: Nothing to See Here
  • Editor: Hilda Twongyeirwe
  • Publisher: FEMRITE Publications Limited
  • Number of pages: 283
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Fiction

Nothing to See Here is an anthology that comprises sixteen short stories by sixteen African women writers. One can think of it as a box containing cupcakes of different flavours, with the flavours representing the different subject matters addressed by these stories. The icing on these cupcakes is the biographies of the authors at the end of the book. The bird perched on a wire on the book cover depicts the perspectives of not only the writers as they address certain issues but also of the readers as they perceive these stories. More…

image Appraising the Bliss of Innocence

By Ayodele Ibiyemi 


  • Title: Deserted
  • Author: Bob G Kisiki
  • Publisher: Rhema Books
  • Number of pages: 218
  • Year of publication: 2016
  • Category: Fiction

For Uganda, long years of dictatorship seem to have affected the volume of literature produced, which in any case focuses heavily on politics in the way South Africans focused on apartheid. Bob Kisiki, with four published novels, cannot be called a new author even though he does not enjoy the continent-wide fame that some of his contemporaries do. A complete man of the arts, he also writes songs, plays and newspaper columns, as well as short stories and poems. More…

image When Systems Fail Us

By Ekemini Pius


  • Title: The Honking
  • Author: Mulumba Ivan Matthias
  • Publisher: Mattville Publishing House
  • Number of pages: 311
  • Year of publication: 2017
  • Category: Fiction

Set in Uganda, Mulumba Ivan Matthias’s The Honking examines the breakdown in human relationships and social systems, and how this leads to failure in the lives of individuals, in particular, and society, in general. More…

image Freedom

By Ona Akinde 


  • Title: Zura Maids
  • Author: Apio Eunice Otuko
  • Publisher: FEMRITE Publications Limited
  • Number of pages: 300
  • Year of publication: 2017
  • Category: Fiction

When we tell our stories of Africa, we cannot do so without highlighting the reality of human trafficking, from slaves in Libya to girls sold into prostitution in Europe, with many drowning at sea in the process. It is clearly an ongoing reality. In Zura Maids, Apio Eunice Otuko’s debut novel set in Uganda, we follow the protagonist, Lena Ayugi, as she tries to gain justice for herself and save others from going through the same experiences that she did. More…

image Above and Beyond

By Munah Nicola Tarpeh


  • Title: Wrecked
  • Author: Dumebi Ezar Ehigiator
  • Publisher: Winepress Publishing
  • Number of pages: 208
  • Year of publication: 2016
  • Category: Fiction

By remembering me you remember all those innocent victims. Moving forward and forgetting what happened is forgetting me. Then there will be no reason for me to live. I live to bear witness, to tell my testimony. Once I was wrecked, maybe I still am, but now I have hope. As for my son, if there is something that tortures me, it is the tomorrow of my son.

Wrecked is the story of five remarkable women who represent a large percentage of women in Nigeria, damaged by circumstances that were set in motion before they were born, circumstances that shape what they become, some with devastating effects. More…

image Punctured Silence

By Veronica Elias Ugian


  • Title: Crocodile Girl
  • Author: Sam Omatseye
  • Publisher: Parrésia Publishers Ltd
  • Number of pages: 276
  • Year of publication: 2017
  • Category: Fiction

Crocodile Girl by Sam Omatseye brings out the bold and unique storytelling abilities of the author and attests to his experience as a renowned columnist. The novel explores the history of slavery, witchcraft, love and bravery through the character of Alero. Although considered one of the most beautiful women in Orogun, she is called ugly and evil on suspicion of killing unsuspecting strangers. Believing her to be cursed, she and her family are ‘inxiled’ by the community, but in an unexpected twist an American by the name Tim Forester, the descendant of a family of slave traders with roots traceable to the village, turns up and alters her destiny. More…

image When Things Fall Apart

By Ekemini Pius 


  • Title: Den of Inequities
  • Author: Kinyanjui Kombani
  • Publisher: Longhorn Publishers
  • Number of pages: 188
  • Year of publication: 2013
  • Category: Fiction

Den of Inequities is a subtle satire that interrogates the problems of Kenyan society, just like Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s excellent novel, Wizard of the Crow. Kinyanjui Kombani weaves this story around the lives of three characters – Omosh, Gosti and Aileen – through whom we are made to understand the lives of the ordinary people of Nairobi and the failure of the Kenyan government on different levels. One reason Kombani deserves a lot of praise for this historical novel is because this is exactly the kind of blazing attack on the government that forced Ngũgĩ into exile when Kenya was still under a dictatorship. Even though this novel was published in 2013, when Kenya had transitioned to a democracy and writers who criticise the government are not persecuted as fiercely as before, it takes some guts to attack a powerful government with literature. More…

image W Is for Woman and War: A Review of Beatrice Lamwaka’s Butterfly Dreams and Other Stories

By Timi Odueso


  • Title: Butterfly Dreams and Other Stories
  • Author: Beatrice Lamwaka
  • Publisher: Lakalatwe Books
  • Number of pages: 115
  • Year of publication: 2016
  • Category: Fiction

Although it claims to be a collection of short stories and poems, Beatrice Lamwaka’s Butterfly Dreams and Other Stories features a continuous plot line told from different, yet similar, points of view. Instead of a collection of stories with different plots across diverse settings, Lamwaka’s collection is a confluence of points of view with the same spatial setting. Where the spatial settings of the stories vary, the collection reads like it covers the lifespan of one character, as Lamwaka tells her stories from the viewpoints of a child, an adolescent, a full-grown woman and an old woman. More…