frica Writes is one of my favourite literary festivals in London and this year’s iteration was fantastic again. Alongside amazing panel discussions, stagings etc. there was ample opportunity to buy books. I went in with big plans but ended up buying only three books – what?! The ones I bought, though, sound absolutely amazing, and two of them have been on my radar for a little bit. So here goes: Africa Writes 2019 Book Haul!
If there’s one thing the characters in Jennifer Makumbi’s stories know, it’s how to field an uncomfortable question.
‘Let me buy you a cup of tea…what are you doing in England?’
‘Do these children of yours speak any Luganda?’
‘Did you know that man Idi Amin?’
But perhaps the most difficult question of all is the one they ask themselves: ‘You mean this is England?’
Told with empathy, humour and compassion, these vibrant, kaleidoscopic stories re-imagine the journey of Ugandans who choose to make England their home. Weaving between Manchester and Kampala, this dazzling collection will captivate anyone who has ever wondered what it means to truly belong.
Extremely High! I have heard nothing but high praise for this book and Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi’s first book ‘Kintu’ was phenomenal as well. It doesn’t help that I heard Jennifer N. Makumbi speak at Africa Writes and absolutely fell in love with her. So I’m very excited to start reading this highly anticipated book! Watch this space for the review!
In Be(com)ing Nigerian: A Guide, Elnathan John provides an affecting, unrestrained and satirical guide to the Nigerians you will meet at home and abroad, or on your way to hell and to heaven. It is a searing look at how power is performed, negotiated and abused in private and in public; in politics, business, religious institutions and in homes. From the exploration of religious hypocrisy to inequality in matters of the heart, the collection is a jab at Nigerian society and what it means to be a Nigerian. Beyond poking fun at the holders of power, it is a summons, a provocation and a call for introspection among all levels of society. As is often said in Nigeria, when you point with one finger, there are four others pointing back at you. This engrossing read is a must-have for Nigerians on how to move beyond shame and arrogance, and for non-Nigerians, a uniquely informative guide on how to accept their awe and envy of Nigerians. It is an invitation for everyone to embrace and rejoice in their inner Nigerian. Here is your definitive guide to Be(com)ing Nigerian.
Very high! I have just finished reading and reviewing ‘Born on a Tuesday’ by Elnathan John and I thoroughly enjoyed his first novel, which is why my expectations for this one are very high. In addition, most reviews have been very promising, so I’m eager to get into this book.I think I’ll be reading this one very soon!
Yolande Mukagasana is a Rwandan nurse and mother of three children who likes wearing jeans and designer glasses. She runs her own clinic in Nyamirambo and is planning a party for her wedding anniversary. But when genocide starts everything changes. Targeted because she’s a successful woman and a Tutsi, she flees for her life.
This gripping memoir describes the betrayal of friends and help that comes from surprising places. Quick-witted and courageous, Yolande never loses hope she will find her children alive.
Through the roof! I had not heard of this book before, but I went to the launch of the English translation of Yolande Mukagasana’s memoir and I was so touched by the strength and character of this woman. She is a survivor of the Rwandan genocide against the Tutsi, she lost her husband and three children to the massacre, and there she was, telling us to hold our governments accountable for the atrocities they have instigated and perpetrated in the past and present – there was no way I was not going to buy this book. My expectations are high and I’m expecting this memoir to be absolutely devastating and encouraging at the same time. I’ll report back as soon as I’ve read it.