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…

image How Many Drinks?

By Ona Akinde 


  • Title: Drunk
  • Author: Jackson Biko
  • Number of pages: 167
  • Year of publication: 2018
  • Category: Fiction

For years, Jackson Biko has run Bikozulu, one of the most widely-read blogs in Kenya. He has since become one of the country’s most prolific writers and journalists, so it was no surprise when he decided to put pen to paper and self-publish Drunk, his ‘first little book’, which tells the story of Larry, an alcoholic, and The Artisan, a devoted father. The book opens with Larry reminiscing about experiences shared with his girlfriend, Tina, and how she deserves better, but in no time we learn that it is not just Tina. There are a host of other girls. Alcohol is not the only thing Larry overindulges. More…

image Literature as an Initiative for Social Change: The Effects of the Society on the African Woman

By Ofuonyeadi Chukwudumebi Mercy


  • Title: Things I Will Tell My Daughter: Uncensored Truths on Love, Money and Womanhood
  • Author: Joan Thatiah
  • Number of pages: 180
  • Year of publication: 2016
  • Category: Essays

Joan Thatiah’s Things I Will Tell My Daughter, as the name implies, is loaded with harsh truths on sex, love, dating, money and womanhood. She gives detailed lessons on different issues confronting today’s young African woman, using Kenya as a case study. As she puts it:

This book is a candid look into things that I believe to be true. The lessons I learnt in time, the lessons I wish I had been taught earlier and the lessons I missed altogether; the lessons I hope to teach my daughter before life takes its turn on her (p 18).

More…

image The Thin Line between Heroism and Villainy

By Omotola Otubela 


  • Title: Deeper into the Night
  • Author: Dul Johnson
  • Publisher: SEVHAGE Publishers
  • Number of pages: 273
  • Year of publication: 2014
  • Category: Fiction

What happens when an individual wields an excess of power? Can there be a synthesis between tradition and modernity given that the former mostly frowns at that which the latter embraces? To what extent is the claim that every individual is a product of their society valid? These are a few of the questions raised by Dul Johnson’s Deeper into the Night. Although this is his first novel, his more recent novel, Across the Gulf, the collection of short stories, Why Women Won’t Make It to Heaven, as well as his other works attest to the fact that he is no dilettante when it comes to telling the African story. More…

image Beyond the Finish Line

By Kemi Falodun


  • Title: Mafoya and the Finish Line
  • Author: Ayo Oyeku
  • Publisher: Ouida Books
  • Number of pages: 61
  • Year of publication: 2018
  • Category: Children

A prayer in Yorùbá goes, ‘Kí ẹyẹ kó dún bí ẹyẹ, eku kó dún bí eku, ọmọ ènìyàn kó f’ọhùn bí ènìyàn’. It is an acknowledgment that strange things may occur, hence the content of the prayer, that life should continue to go on normally and smoothly with birds chirping as birds, rats squeaking as rats and humans sounding like humans. So, when the protagonist of Mafoya and the Finish Line finds herself in a land where animals speak like humans, she is petrified. More…

image In Search of a New Order

By Ayodele Ibiyemi 


  • Title: Conversations about the Youth in Kenya
  • Author: Raphael Obonyo
  • Publisher: The Youth Congress
  • Number of pages: 61
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Essays

One of the most powerful assets a nation has is its youth since it is they who contribute the most to the output of the nation. Across the world, political aspirants invariably campaign on the promise that they will prioritise the concerns of the youth. In Africa, the youth, who are the overwhelming majority have been uniformly sidelined, even though the difference between ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ countries turns on how the latent potential of youth is harnessed. More…

image The New Breed: The Emergence of the Strong Ones

By Veronica Elias Ugian 


  • Title: The Hundred Wells of Salaga 
  • Author: Ayesha Haruna Attah
  • Publisher: Cassava Republic Press
  • Number of pages: 231
  • Year of publication: 2018
  • Category: Fiction

The Hundred Wells of Salaga is historical fiction that offers insights into contemporary life through two strong female characters, Wurche and Aminah, whose paths cross and whose actions smash stereotypes and open pathways for other trapped women. The novel’s female characters are imbued with strength and freedom of choice; they are initially silenced by the patriarchy but they are ultimately fulfilled. More…

image The Story of Us

By Munah Nicola Tarpeh


  • Title: Son of Man 
  • Author: Amara Nicole Okolo
  • Publisher: Parrésia Publishers Ltd
  • Number of pages: 118
  • Year of publication: 2016
  • Category: Fiction

I am the story he wanted to publish. Each sentence simmered in bowls of wrath. The letters were fiery, their message scalding. I was eager to read, thirsty for attention. But as with every fateful story, I was rejected and put away because of my honesty, because I spoke the truth. And in 1996, nobody could handle my truth.

In this collection of six short stories, the author employs inanimate objects – a pair of worn shoes, a machete, a rosary, amongst others – to tell stories about human beings, the not-so-perfect world they live in and how it has affected them adversely. The stories have a common thread running through them: how the system has failed the citizens. More…