image Ẹkúndayọ̀: From Sorrow to Joy

By Munah Nicola Tarpeh


  • Title: Thorns in My Boots 
  • Author: Awoleye Ayokunle Dominic
  • Publisher: Parrésia Publishers Ltd
  • Number of pages: 153
  • Year of publication: 2017
  • Category: Fiction

They say the rose flower also has thorns, but my life was just merely thorns, all the flowers were withered. They say it is he that wears the shoe that knows where it pinches; I decided not to wear just a shoe but boots. But my boots were full of thorns and it pinched me all over.

Thorns in My Boots is the short, gripping tale of a young man, Ojo, and his struggle for identity as he wrestles to restore his family’s dignity. The death of his father, a palmwine tapper and dipsomaniac, when he was only two years old leaves only him and his mother, a petty trader. He grows up with a strong sense of determination to complete anything he sets his mind to, hence his childhood moniker, ‘wa pa mi l’oni’, meaning you will have to kill me to stop me. More…

image Of Juju Powder and Jollof Rice: Unconventional Afrocentrism in Nnedi Okorafor’s Sunny and the Mysteries of Osisi

By Timi Odueso


  • Title: Sunny and the Mysteries of Osisi
  • Author: Nnedi Okorafor
  • Publisher: Cassava Republic Press
  • Number of pages: 329
  • Year of publication: 2018
  • Category: Young Adult

Unlike its prequel, What Sunny Saw in the Flames, with its heretical use of language, idiosyncratic description of African mythology and blinding characterisation, Nnedi Okorafor’s Sunny and the Mysteries of Osisi with every page excited and intrigued this reader. Set in contemporary Africa, the new book continues the story of the Leopard Folk – people with surreal abilities – through the hazel eyes of the heroine, Sunny. While the author employs a third-person point of view in presenting the heroine, the other characters are only seen through Sunny’s eyes. In more ways than one, this can be viewed as an allusion to the relationship between her albinism and the meaning of her spirit name, Anyanwu, eye of the sun. More…

image Garden Weights as Political, Social and Spiritual Realism

By Ofuonyeadi Chukwudumebi Mercy


  • Title: Garden Weights: An Original Stage Play
  • Author: Andrew Busingye
  • Publisher: KHAMEL Publishing
  • Number of pages: 104
  • Year of publication: 2018
  • Category: Drama

Most works of literature are clearly products of the writer’s immediate environment or society. This is because most writers base their works on societal happenings and use their works as a form of constructive criticism of society at large. Literature has also been a powerful tool for depicting societal norms and values. Some writers like Wole Soyinka, J P Clark, Chinua Achebe, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Micere Mugo and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie have been able to use their works to promote African culture beyond the boundaries of Africa. More…

image Prime Suspect: Guilty or Not Guilty?

By Tọ́pẹ́ Salaudeen-Adégòkè


  • Title: The Final Bet
  • Author: Abdelilah Hamdouchi
  • Translator: Jonathan Smolin 
  • Publisher: Hoopoe
  • Number of pages: 138
  • Year of publication: 2016
  • Category: Fiction

‘The true test of democracy is in the police stations and not in the dome of parliaments’. – Abdelilah Hamdouchi

When only the circumstantial facts and evidence of a case point to a person as guilty in a repressive police state, where the police are reckless, hostile, shoddy and can coerce a false confession out of anyone, then one has already lost the trial before it begins, that is if there will be any trial at all. One will easily be convicted for a murder especially when there is an ostensible motive. More…

image Identity and Language in When We Speak of Nothing

By Adaudo Anyiam-Osigwe


  • Title: When We Speak of Nothing
  • Author: Olumide Popoola
  • Publisher: Cassava Republic Press
  • Number of pages: 256
  • Year of publication: 2017
  • Category: Fiction

The one word which comes to mind on reading Olumide Popoola’s When We Speak of Nothing is daring. It is a daring novel, without inhibitions in terms of language and its portrayal of identity. The novel – set in London, United Kingdom, and Port Harcourt, Nigeria – is a bildungsroman of the two teenage protagonists, Abu and Karl, on the verge of eighteen, questioning and seeking out wholeness and authenticity in life and, just as important, a place in the world where they can live out this authenticity. Karl lays this bare in an honest conversation with his mother when he says, ‘There is no wholeness. Nowhere I really am…I was not here. I didn’t exist’. More…

image Unrealistic Optimism in Hyginus Ekwuazi’s One Day I’ll Dare to Raise My Middle Finger at the Stork and the Reaper.

By Uchenna Ekweremadu 


  • Title: One Day I’ll Dare to Raise My Middle Finger at the Stork and the Reaper
  • Author: Hyginus Ekwuazi
  • Publisher: SEVHAGE Publishers
  • Number of pages: 98
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Poetry

This slim volume of thirty-three poems, which was longlisted for the Nigeria NLNG Prize for Literature in 2017, is bound thematically by the three-ply cord of death, gloom and positive self-deception. Peering through the anguished eyes of the persona in the poems, the reader finds a world smeared with melancholy. And since such reality can be daunting, a reasonable diversion is to set up an alternative reality, even one that is unrealistically optimistic. More…

image To a Life of Kisses and Quarrels

By Tolu Akinwole 


  • Title: Niyi Osundare: A Literary Biography
  • Author: Sule E Egya
  • Publisher: SEVHAGE Publishers
  • Number of pages: 334
  • Year of publication: 2017
  • Category: Biography

Some people’s lives compel biographies, and Niyi Osundare is one of them. Or how else does one describe a life that exemplifies the classic grass-to-grace tale? Niyi Osundare: A Literary Biography captures in rich detail the trials and triumphs of one of the greatest poets to have risen from Nigeria; it outlines in bold relief the tortuous road to greatness. Only a few writers other than Sule E Egya, a poet, critic, academic and Osundare enthusiast, are qualified to present the story as he does. More…

image Suspect Sojourns: Time as Culprit

By Tomiwa Ilori 


  • Title: The Time-Travels of the Man Who Sold Pickles and Sweets
  • Author: Khairy Shalaby
  • Translator: Michael Cooperson
  • Publisher: Hoopoe
  • Number of pages: 327
  • Year of publication: 2016
  • Category: Fiction

The Time-Travels of the Man Who Sold Pickles and Sweets is set across time. From ancient Egypt till the late 20th century, Egyptian history is served through the use of time travels, catapulting the reader to and from different points in time. Ibn Shalaby, the protagonist, is a time traveller who, with his quaint briefcase, sets out on invitations from past Caliphs and meets with icons of Egypt’s past at different points in his travels. More…

image How It Happened: A Review of The Book of Memory

By Kemi Falodun


  • Title: The Book of Memory
  • Author: Petina Gappah
  • Publisher: Cassava Republic Press
  • Number of pages: 311
  • Year of publication: 2016
  • Category: Fiction

‘Blessed are the forgetful, for they get the better even of their blunders’, wrote Friedrich Nietzsche. For some people, forgetting is a defense mechanism against unwanted memories, a way to avoid pain: the one they were subjected to, the one they caused others, or both. For others, being involved in different activities may suppress, or at least help them cope with those unwanted memories. But what recourse is there for one who is imprisoned and has nothing more than silence, time and memories? How does such a one run from their past? More…

image The Statecraft of Winning Elections in Africa

By Seye Bassir


  • Title: How to Win Elections in Africa
  • Author: Chude Jideonwo with Adebola Williams
  • Publisher: Kamsi Farafina
  • Number of pages: 280
  • Year of publication: 2017
  • Category: Politics

How does one win elections in Africa? A humorous answer to this question might be that you do not. Chude Jideonwo in his book, How to Win Elections in Africa, writes that the African continent is ‘mostly defined by dictatorship’, despite an ‘exceptionally high number of elections’ having held in recent years. A good extension of this point would be that several recent elections across Africa have been flawed or have been smokescreens to create false legitimacy for undemocratic governments. More…