Showing posts from July, 2016

The 2016 Man Booker Dozen - Should we Worry?

The Man Booker Prize has, overtime, become the most prestigious literary award, not because of its 50,000 Pounds Sterling prize money (which is good but dwarfed by Nigeria's US$ 100,000 NLNG Prize for Literature), but for the fame and opportunities it opens up for nominees. To be long-listed is itself an achievement and the route to literary fame. Every year readers, writers, publishers and literary aficionados look forward to long-list and then the countdown to the shortlist and winner begins. Not until 2013, when it was announced that the award will be expanded (in 2014) to cover all books written in English by any author anywhere on the planet but published in the UK, the Man Booker has been reserved for only authors in Britain, Ireland, the Commonwealth, and Zimbabwe. Since its inception in 1968, the prize has given out 48 awards (including the Lost Man Booker Prize in 1970 and the award-sharing in 1974); however, very few nominees and, therefore, fewer winners have come f

New Books Acquired

How do you justify your book purchases with limited book budget? Especially, when you want to break your promise to yourself? My excuse is that I am using the new books to ginger up the drastic drop of interest in reading. And who can argue against this reason? Once I have filled up my unread shelf again, I will be forced to deplete it. Though I know it really does not work. Cognitive dissonance?  The following are the books I have in the past weeks and months: My Watch by Olusegun Obasanjo . This is a three-volume work by the former Nigerian president. I usually do not like biographies and autobiographies. They are a nice of rehashing people's deeds. It's as if the person is telling you how to remember him, which is like hacking into the minds of the people and rearranging the thoughts they have of you. It is unfair. However, it is also a way of learning from people. Others have retold completely doubtful biographies. Others have been called out on certain aspects of

Discussion: New African Literary Books

It is always easy to come across posts that discusses or 'reviews' newly published books. However, in most cases these reviews are skewed to western audience and so most of the books listed are from America and Europe, with one or two African writers thrown into the mix to give it a semblance of wide coverage. However, most of the names that are thrown into the mix are Africans who are fortunate enough to have their works distributed in the UK and/or US. Whereas the literary output from the continent cannot be compared with those coming from the rest of the world in terms of numbers, they are more than insignificant. Hence, kindly share with me  - with links and if possible your review (in the comments section) - of new African books you have come across. By new I am referring to books published since January 1, 2016 to present. You can even stretch it back a few months but it should not be more than twelve months since publication. So effectively books should have been pu

298. Born on Tuesday by Elnathan John

I have criticized the Caine Prize for pandering to a certain trope of stories. I can recite the number of times that the 'the poor/refugee boy waiting for a miracle from the West and killing people or finding dead bodies in the interim' has won the Caine Prize. In fact so severe was my aversion to this trend that I altogether stopped reading the short stories. It was as if there was a hidden agenda and every story must conform. In fact, I felt justified when in 2012 the chair of judges said they will look  ' beyond the more stereotypical narrative .'  And Elnathan John has been shortlisted twice - 2013 and 2015. The story, Bayan Layi , which developed into Born on a Tuesday was shortlisted in 2013 . By 2013 I had lost all interest in the prize and had stopped reading the stories for my Short Story Mondays . When the Writers Project of Ghana selected this book for its book for June, I did not know what to expect. I had no knowledge that it had developed from a sho