Showing posts from December, 2010

2010 in Review

I took this meme from Marie of Boston Bibliophile . I have taken the liberty to add some of the questions myself How many books read in 2010? Twenty-nine (29), two more than last year. Except that this includes two single stories. Plays (2); Memoir/(Auto)Biography (1); Single Stories (2); Anthologies (short stories) (4); Novels (20).  Total pages read was 7,799 (7,541 last year) and the average number of books per month is 2.42 (2.25 last year). How many did you review? Twenty-two (22). The remaining 7 were non-African novels. How many of the books read were on the Top 100? Only six. (hmm!) How man fiction and non-fiction? Only 1 non-fiction: You Must Set Forth at Dawn by Wole Soyinka Male-Female Ratio 8 Female, 18 Male and 3 indeterminate (?), I mean anthologies from various writers. Favourite book of 2010 African book: The Beautyful Ones are not Yet Born by Ayi Kwei Armah Non-African book: Between Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake and Wil

54e. Contemporary African Short Stories

[ continued from here ] WEST AFRICA This is the concluding part of the series of reviews from the Contemporary African Short Stories, edited by Chinua Achebe and C.L. Innes. The anthology was categorised into geographic areas: SOUTHERN AFRICA , CENTRAL AFRICA , EAST AFRICA , NORTH AFRICA and WEST AFRICA.  I decided to review the stories one after the other instead of finding common thread running along them and reviewing them along those lines or using themes to merge stories. This has been fulfilling but also tasking. Future short stories collection might take a different approach. Converging City by Ben Okri (Nigeria) Ben Okri This is the second time I am reading this story, first encountering it in his collection of short stories title Incidents at the Shrine . I must say that reading it a second time has helped me appreciate the story very well. Converging City is a mosaic of interconnecting scenes through which Okri portrays the urban stragglers and strugglers; th

54d. Contemporary African Short Stories

[ continued from here ] NORTH AFRICA The Foreigner, Sister of the Foreign Woman by Assia Djebar (Algeria) Translated from French by Dorothy S Blair Assia Djebar This tells the story of two sisters - Sirin and Marya - who were sent from Alexandria to Medina to be given to Prophet Mohammed. The story captures the struggles these two sisters faced as they worked to settle among the natives. Sirin was given in marriage to the Prophet's favourite poet, Hassan ibn Thabit, and Marya became the wife of the Prophet. Sirin's co-wives hardly ever talked to her because of her Christian background but are quick to send to her their children because she loves them and love to tell them her stories. Then Sirin's co-wives made an effort to be civil, and their courtesy was almost genuine. The women gathered in the shady part of the little courtyard under a palm tree. One of the hostesses would very ostentatiously bring out from her room a silken cushion, another a silver tray,

54c. Contemporary African Short Stories

[ continued from here ] EAST AFRICA Cages by Abdulrazak Gurnah (Zanzibar) Abdulrazak Gurna Cages is a story about an émigré, Hamid, who has moved from his village to settle in the city. The old man who took him in when he arrived and gave him work as a storekeeper is sick and dying. Hamid has never moved beyond his kiosk before and has always wondered what life is beyond the sprawling darkness that is the squatters' camp. Then a beautiful girl came to buy something from his shop one day; she came the next day and the following day... and the next thing was that Hamid had somehow fallen for the girl but is unable to tell her. One evening Hamid broke the imaginary borders and ventured into the darkness beyond. This story could be an allegory of life, where one bottles up his potential, afraid to live the kind of life he is capable of living. Literally, it also defines the kind of lives some of the urban populace live. Especially those who have moved into cities wit

54b. Contemporary African Short Stories, A Review

[continued from here ] CENTRAL AFRICA The Rubbish Dump by Steve Chimombo (Malawi) Steve Chimombo (Blue shirt) Joey and his parents have just moved into the airport neighbourhood. He is fascinated by the planes that fly over their quarters and would do everything possible to have a look. They called the big planes 'Four Engine'. Mazambezi - airport garbage collector - collects the waste from the airplanes and dump them at the general dump area. Through the eyes of these two individuals we see the stark disparities that exist between the haves and have not. Mazambezi and Joey gather the leftover foods meant for the dump and would, while eating it, imagine themselves to be in the places where the foods come from: Russia, America, Hong Kong, England and others. And they were surprised about the volume of food that went wasted.  As I sit here everyday munching bits of cheese, a whole world is opened up to me. How many thousands of miles has this can of fish t

54a. Contemporary African Short Stories, A Review

Title: Contemporary African Short Stories Authors: Various Editors: Chinua Achebe and C.L. Innes Genre: Short Story Collection Publishers: Heinemann (African Writers Series) Pages: 196 ISBN: 978-0-435-90566-8 Year of Publication:1992 Country: Various The Contemporary African Short Stories anthology brings together writers from various parts of Africa, each carrying his or her own writing style. From the magical realism crossed with fantasy of Ben Okri, Kojo Laing, and Mia Couto to the political realism of Nadine Gordimer, Lindiwe Mabuza, Chinua Achebe and C.L. Innes have put together stories from the four corners of the continent that will give enjoyment to the general reader as well as students and teachers of African writing, [...] that it will encourage them to explore a literature which continues to develop and flourish. (Introduction, page 6) Also covered are issues of despotism and societal breakdown. Though political issues are raised, they are not dis

Conversation with Kuukua Dzigbordi Yomekpe - a Culinary Artist

Kuukua Yomekpe Kuukua Yomekpe is a young Ghanaian woman whose writings have been published in different anthologies. Kuukua's multi-ethnic background and her multiple degrees - Art, Theology and currently working on her MFA - have influenced her in her writings. However, she also believes in the informal form of education as much as she does in the formal ones. Kuukua draws a lot from her personal life and has found a point of convergence between her love for writing and that for cooking as she considers herself to be a 'culinary artist'. According to her she writes to give people who are 'different' a chance to hear a different voice, believing that by speaking for others, others might speak for her. Below is an interview ImageNations conducted with this literary talent. T ells us something about yourself, Kuukua? Well for starters, I was born and raised in Accra, Ghana at Aunty Hannah’s home in Chorkor. I am the oldest child on my mother’s side, and

The Man and The People

A poet's response to Laurent Gbagbo He slurps The People’s cries into his pockets And sucks their blood into his belly barns His eyes feast from The People’s minds Robbing them of their thoughts; After defecating into their singular bowls The Man wipes his anus on their faces He elects himself Lord of the Land God of the Sea, Fire God That no one farms, fishes or cooks Without a nod from his Kilimanjaro head And when guns stutter unceasingly at one end of Town The Man laughs, swaggers and boogies At the other end Don’t you know him? His voice is a thousand whispering souls In an octagonal room; And his grey hair speaks not the language of age. written 04.12.2010.

Proverb Monday

Proverb: W'amma wo yɔnko antwa nkron a, wo nso worentwa du Translation: If you don't let your companion to eat (or harvest) nine portions, you also won't get ten. Alternative form: W'amma wo yɔnko antwa ankɔ a, wo nso worentwa nnu (Note that some proverbs are said in different ways and yet they mean the same. Here there is a clear play on words and sounds: 'nkron' means nine in Twi and 'du' means ten. However, 'ankɔ' is the negative form of 'go', so it becomes 'do not go', and 'du' also means 'reach' and 'nnu', which should have been 'ndu' but 'nd' becomes 'nn', means 'do not reach'. Translation of Alternative form: If you don't let your companion clear the path forward, you also won't clear it to the end. Meaning: If you don't share, you don't prosper. Usage: This is mostly used when someone (often the one with some form of power: wealth, age, anythin

@Barcamp Ghana 2010: Where Ideas Walk

December 18, 2010 was the date. I participated in my first ever Barcamp. I have realised that ever since I started this book review and active blogging, I have moved from the hermit I was to become a socially vibrant person who is no more scared to share his thoughts. And I know, I can sometimes be vitriolic. That's my nature. I cannot suffer sycophancy or pure hypocrisy. I love ratiocinative thinkers. For the first time, I met some of the faces behind blogs I have been following for a long time such as Ato of Mighty Africa , and Nina of Accra books and things . I also met twitter friends such as MacJordan , Nii Ayertey and more. Barcamp Ghana brought together young individuals who have passion, ideas, and the zeal to let their ideas walk. It was not your usual Talk Shops where one went to sit and be talked to. At Barcamp, participants set the agenda they would want to talk about. People elect themselves to facilitate and no one imposes his or her ideas on the other, ra