Showing posts from July, 2011

89. Underground People by Lewis Nkosi

Title: Underground People Author: Lewis Nkosi Genre: Fiction Publisher: Ayebia Clarke Pages: 308 Year of First Publication: 2002 Country: South Africa Lewis Nkosi's second novel coming after the award-winning debut Mating Birds  is a unique story. Its uniqueness lies not in any attempt to create something which has never been done. Nor does it turn every sentence into a literary masterpiece, though each word, sentence, paragraph is a relish to read. The uniqueness of Lewis Nkosi's  Underground People  lies in its beautiful, fast-reading, and tension-building prose. And his ability to satirise South Africa's apartheid system whilst still keeping its seriousness, its human suffering closer to the reader. Cornelius Molapo is a high-school teacher, amateur poet, speaker, a jitterbug dancer, a passionate lover and a lover of cricket. He is also a peripheral member of the National Liberation Movement, the movement fighting to end apartheid rule in South Africa. Whe

NLNG 2011: Six Books Shortlisted

In 2009 there was a no-show for the NLNG shortlisted authors . In that year, the award was to go for a poet and even though there was a shortlist of authors, none of them was deemed good enough to win the award, according to the Advisory Board. On Friday July 22, 2011, the Advisory Board for The Nigerian Prize for Literature approved an initial shortlist of six out of the 126 books for the 2011 edition of the NLNG prize. Making up the shortlist are: Uche Peter Umez winner of the 2006 Commonwealth Short Story Prize and runner-up for the 2007 The Nigeria Prize for Literature with his book The Runaway Hero ; Philip Begho, author of over 70 books and two-time contender for The Nigeria Prize for Literature in 2004 and 2010 with his Aunty Felicia Goes to School ; Ayodele Olofintuande with Eno's Story ; Chinyere Obi-Obasi with The Great Fall ; Mai Nasara with The Missing Clock ; and Thelma Nwokeji with her debut Red Nest. The children’s literature prize do

Additions to my Library

It's been a long time since I went into a bookshop. However, thanks to the Writers Project of Ghana's monthly book reading titled Ghana Voices Series, I have purchased two autographed novels from the June and July readings. The first book I purchased was Ama: the Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade  by Manu Herbstein . Manu Herbstein is a South African who has lived and worked in several countries including India, Nigeria and Ghana, but has been living in Ghana for sometime now. His novel won the 2002 Commonwealth Writers Prize Award for Best First Book. From  GoodReads : Thrust into a foreign land, passed from owner to owner, stripped of her identity. This is the life of Nandzi, who was given the name Ama, a name strange to her and her tribal culture. A life of struggle and resignation, bondage and freedom, passion and indifference, intense love and remorseless hate. Though forced into desperation, Ama never lets her soul be consumed by fear. While the stories of indivi

Man Booker Prize 2011 Longlist

I have been monitoring twitter for the past four hours for this announce. According to the announcement: A total of 138 books, seven of which were called in by the judges, were considered for the ‘Man Booker Dozen' longlist. They are: Julian Barnes The Sense of an Ending  (Jonathan Cape - Random House) Sebastian Barry On Canaan's Side  (Faber) Carol Birch Jamrach's Menagerie  (Canongate Books) Patrick deWitt The Sisters Brothers  (Granta) Esi Edugyan Half Blood Blues  (Serpent's Tail - Profile) Yvvette Edwards A Cupboard Full of Coats  (Oneworld) Alan Hollinghurst The Stranger's Child  (Picador - Pan Macmillan) Stephen Kelman Pigeon English  (Bloomsbury) Patrick McGuinness The Last Hundred Days  (Seren Books) A.D. Miller Snowdrops  (Atlantic) Alison Pick Far to Go  (Headline Review) Jane Rogers The Testament of Jessie Lamb  (Sandstone Press) D.J. Taylor Derby Day  (Chatto & Windus - Random House) The chair of judges, Dame Stella Riming

Proverb Monday, #32

Proverb: Yεmfa y'ani na εka nkwan hwε Meaning: We don't use our eyes to taste soup Context: Don't judge by appearance No. 2247 in Bu me Bε by Peggy Appiah et al.

Quotes for Friday from George Orwell's 1984

Curiously, the chiming of the hour seeming to have put new heart into him. He was a lonely ghost uttering a truth that nobody would ever hear. But so long, as he utter it, in some obscure way the continuity was not broken. It was not by making yourself heard but by staying sane that you carried on the human heritage. Page 26 The Party said that Oceania had never been in alliance with Eurasia. He, Winston Smith, knew that  Oceania had been in alliance with Eurasia as short a time as your years ago. But where did that knowledge exist? Only in his own consciousness, which in any case must soon be annihilated. And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed - if all records told the same tale - then the lie passed into history and became truth. "Who controls the past," ran the Party slogan, "controls the future: who controls the present controls the past." And yet the past, though of its nature alterable, never had been altered. Whatever was true now w

88. 1984 by George Orwell

1984  (1949) is perhaps the greatest work of English Author, Essayist, Journalist and Political and Literary Critic, Eric Arthur Blair, writing under the pseudonym George Orwell. This 'futuristic' dystopian book is more of a prophecy than a novel. It is everything but fiction. In Orwell's  1984 world of Oceania, present day England, society has lost its humanity to politics and the rule of the all-knowing, all-seeing, immortal Big Brother is in full swing. The proles have been conditioned to accept whatever Big Brother tells them and because Big Brother controls all sources of information and able to rewrite the past, his control over the thoughts and minds of the people is complete. In Oceania 2+2 could be 5 if Big Brother says so. Similar to most Socialist countries, production is centralised and all human needs and wants are rationed and even though there are shortages the people do not notice it because Big Brother speaks of over-production and meeting production,

One Day I will Write about this Place by Binyavanga Wainaina

I first heard of, and met, Binyavanga Wainaina  at the American Corner of the Legon Centre for Foreign Affairs (LECIA) of the University of Ghana. He had come there with another literati, Kojo Laing, whom I was also meeting for the first time . In his white linen trouser and long-sleeved round-neck top and green shoe, I settled to listen to this eccentric author in the company of friends. He informed the audience that what he was going to read would be from the manuscript of an upcoming memoir. Like most authors, he brought out his Apple laptop with care and set it on his lap. Opening it, he set out to read to us paragraphs. All I remember now from the reading is the tiny voice he had used to read to us pictures from his childhood and, most importantly, the loud laughter that followed every line. The very next day I requested to be his friend on facebook. For those who are still not sure of whom he is, Binyavanga Wainaina is the author of, arguably, the most referred to satirica

Proverb Monday, #31

Proverb: Ogyatanaa, wokɔ ho na w'annwene wo se a, wokyea wo ti. Meaning: A flaming fire, if you go near it you either show your teeth or turn your head. Context: You have violent reaction to a dangerous situation. No. 2491 in Bu me Bε by Peggy Appiah et al.

87. Weep Not, Child by Ngugi wa Thiong'o

Title: Weep Not, Child Author: Ngugi wa Thiong'o Genre: Fiction/Colonial Publishers: Heinemann Pages: 143 Year of First Publication: 1964 Country: Kenya For the Africa Reading Challenge To begin with, this is a book I last read almost seven years ago. It is also one of the very few books I have re-read. Though I only review books I have just (within the year) read I feel the need to share this with you. The story revolves around Ngotho and his children and their relationship with Jacobo and the Howlands. Ngotho was a man filled with emotions and loneliness. The type of emotion one cannot do anything to assuage its excruciating pains. As a patriarch Ngotho hurts from the knowledge that even though his children show great potential he cannot help them to fulfill. Worst of all is his inability to stand against Jacobo, the anglicised local man for whom he works. And when he remembers that his son, Boro, fought in the second Big War, his impotence becomes hurti

Quotes for Friday from Ola Rotimi's The Gods Are not to Blame II

This is a continuation of the 'proverbial quotes', which began last week. All lizards lie prostrate: how can a man tell which lizard suffers from bellyache? In time, the pain will make one of them lie flat on its back, then shall that which has been unknown be made known. Page 23 A chicken eats corn, drinks water, swallows pebbles, yet she complains of having no teeth. If she had teeth, would she eat gold? Let her ask the cow who has teeth yet eats grass. Page 26 Is it not ignorance that makes the rat attack the cat? Page 28 The hyena flirts with the hen, the hen is happy, not knowing that her death has come. Page 29 The lion's liver is vain wish for dogs Page 37 Because the farm-owner is slow to catch the thief, the thief calls the farm-owner thief. Page 46 The mangrove tree dwells in the river, but does that make it a crocodile? Page 51 Can the cockroach be innocent in a gathering of fowls? Page 53 The toad likes water,

Kwei Quartey Launches Children of the Street

On July 12, 2011, Children of the Street , a new novel by the Ghanaian mystery writer and physician, Kwei Quartey , went on sale. Children of the Street is part of the Inspector Darko Dawson series. Copies could be purchased from bookshops or downloaded onto laptops, smartphones, Kindles, iPads, Kobos and other tablet devices. The first book in the series is Wife of the Gods . Praise for Children of the Street “Quartey cleverly hides the culprit, but the whodunit’s strength is as much in the depiction of a world largely unfamiliar to an American readership as in its playing fair…”  —STARRED  Publisher’s Weekly “Searing and original and done just right . . . Inspector Darko Dawson is relentless, and I look forward to riding with him again.”  —Bestselling Author Michael Connelly “Darko Dawson, with his secret struggle to stop smoking marijuana and his son’s chronic illness, is one of the most engaging characters this reader has ever encountered. The police work, the

Wole Soyinka is 77 Today!

Africa's first Nobelist, Akinwande Oluwole Soyinka - commonly referred to as Wole Soyinka, is celebrating his 77th birthday today. According to Cassava Republic, a list of literary events have been planned to celebrate this great personality. In Abuja, the Arojah Royal Theatre will be hosting a series of readings from Soyinka's plays and poems, as well as talks around the theme "My Favourite Wole Soyinka Book". [courtesy: Cassava Republic ] Over here at ImageNations - and this is something we would be looking out for, henceforth - I bring you links to Soyinka's books that have been reviewed here: The first is his memoir You Must Set Forth at Dawn  reviewed on August 25, 2010. The next is his play The Lion and the Jewel  reviewed on November 22, 2010. I also treat you to Soyinka's famous poem Telephone Conversation , wherein he treats racism with humour and sarcasm.             Telephone Conversation             The price seemed reasonable, loc

NoViolet Bulawayo wins 12th Caine Prize for African Writing

I had always known that the announcement of the Caine Prize for African Writing would fall on my birthday. However, in joyful and thoughtful moods that birthdays always bestow upon its adult celebrants, I entirely forgot to follow the announcement on twitter. Thanks, however, to the internet I have been able to retrieve the announcement of the winner. Press Release Zimbabwe’s NoViolet Bulawayo has won the 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing, described as Africa’s leading literary award, for her short story entitled ‘Hitting Budapest’, from The Boston Review, Vol 35, no. 6 – Nov/Dec 2010. The Chair of Judges, award-winning author Hisham Matar, announced NoViolet Bulawayo as the winner of the £10,000 prize at a dinner held this evening (Monday 11 July) at the Bodleian Library in Oxford. Hisham Matar said: The language of ‘Hitting Budapest’ crackles. Here we encounter Darling, Bastard, Chipo, Godknows, Stina and Sbho, a gang reminiscent of Clockwork Orange. But these

Proverb Monday, #30

Proverb: Onipa dɔ wo a, ɔdɔ wo ne wo nkwaseasεm. Meaning: If a person loves you, he loves you with all your nonsense. Context: You don't judge those you love, but you love everything about them. No. 4444 in Bu me Bε by Peggy Appiah et al.

Nana Brew Hammond in Essence

Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond , author of Powder Necklace and a fashion aficionado has granted Essence an interview. In it she talked about her book, her background and her work as a fashion editor at . According to the Magazine: Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond has proven herself to be a force to be reckoned with in the unforgivably competitive literary world. A cum laude graduate of Vassar College, sh ehas become a trailblazer in African literature and has risen to the challenge with her new book, "Powder Necklace." What began as a potential memoir ended up morphing into a striking portrayal of multi-faceted character whose eclectic cultural background and layered life experience created a story that is hard to forget. Currently the Style Editor for, this modern day fashionista and author had quite a bit to share with ESSENCE on her career, fashion philosophy and what it takes to stand out in the crowd. Read the full interview at ESSENCE . 

WPG Call for Submissions (for 2012 Anthologies)*

The Writers Project of Ghana intends to publish two anthologies of Ghanaian writing in 2012.  There will be one anthology of poetry and another of short stories. You are welcome to be a part of this. Poetry:  Send in five poems on any theme to . Maximum length of any poem is 120 lines. Short Stories: Send a short story between 400 – 4,000 words, on any theme to .   The target readership is young adults and older.   The language of choice is English, but works in other Ghanaian languages are welcome. Submissions should be received by 30 th September, 2011. Our 2011 anthology of poetry, look where you have gone to sit, is available at the following places: EPP bookshop University of Ghana Bookshop, Legon Citi FM, Adabraka ___________________ *Edited: July 09, 2011 @12:38 PM

Quotes for Friday from Ola Rotimi's The Gods Are not to Blame I

Though the title says 'quotes', the following quotes are more of proverbs than quotes. The richness of a culture, the values a group of people hold and their philosophies, distilled through time tested means, are quickly learnt from their proverbs. And every culture has one. It is not changing into the lion that is hard, it is getting the tail of a lion Page 7 Kolanut last long in the mouths of them who value it Page 7 Joy has a slender body that breaks too soon Page 8 When the chameleon brings forth a child, is not that child expected to dance? As we have made you King, act as King. Page 9 When the rain falls on the leopard, does it wash off its spots? Has the richness of kingly life washed off the love of our King for his people? Page 10 My people. Children of our fathers. Sickness is like rain. Does the rain fall on one roof alone? No. Does it fall on one body and not on another? No. Whoever the rain sees, on him it rains. Does it not? It is the same with sickness.  Pa

86. Dew in the Morning by Shimmer Chinodya

Title: Dew in the Morning Author: Shimmer Chinodya Genre: Fiction/Pastoral Publishers: Heinemann (African Writers Series) Pages: 218 Year of First Publication: 1982 (this edition, 2001) Country: Zimbabwe* For the Africa Reading Challenge Shimmer Chinodya's first novel,  Dew in the Morning,  deals with the gradual changes that engulf individuals, villages and the environment as population increases and the carrying-capacity is exceeded. Set in a small rural community in northern Zimbabwe, Dew in the Morning  tells this story from the point of view of Godi, a young boy whose father lives and works in the city but also keeps a farm and family in the village. As crops failed and life and the general agrarian economy began to suffer after seven years of adverse weather conditions, the government moved people into the northern parts of the country where the land is fertile and the forest virgin. This massive exodus of the derukas  - newcomers - into existing vi