Hanna Ali is set to take the literary scene by storm with her dreamlike prose in her debut publication, “Sheekadii Noloshayada” / The Story of Us, a collection of four short stories published in Somali. Ali is the first contemporary writer to publish her debut in the Somali language as both in audio and e-book format. Hanna’s works have been described to accurately capture the unspoken tensions, hopes and wishes of displaced people. The unique, singular stories gently wrap themselves around your mind like your favourite melancholic song. Hanna truly shows: where there is pain, there is beauty. We got to review the English language version of her collection.
With lyrical flair, Peter Kimani whisks the reader on a journey of the Iron Snake railway as it travels from the coast and cuts through dense forestry. The advent of the railway is the advent of Kenya’s colonisation, which beckons indentured labourers from India to its shores, a country also currently colonised by the British. In its complicated tracks, Kimani masterfully lays one story of Kenya’s history, probing ideas of national identity and belonging, and love lost through the beginnings of the Lunatic Express to the Big Man leading the country towards her independence. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: Dance of the Jakaranda | Peter Kimani”
Published this year Nakisanze Segawa’s The Triangle is a work of historical fiction that will leave you wanting more. Set in the Kingdom of Buganda in the late 1800s the story centres on life at the royal palace. Segawa skilfully makes us privy to the varied and complex relationships played out between the young Kabaka (king) Mwanga II, his wives, his courtiers and the foreigners in his kingdom, European missionaries and Arab merchants. Segawa meticulously researched historical archives in the process of writing this book and it really shows; from Continue reading “Bite-size Review: The Triangle | Nakisanze Segawa”
This collection of stories and poems from Beatrice Lamwaka is a powerful contribution to Ugandan literature. Not only does she question the internal politics of Uganda but raises issues that are pertinent the world over. A few of the stories are rooted in the atrocities endured by the Acholi people of Northern Uganda during the time of Joseph Kony and the Lords Resistance Army. The opening story Butterfly Dreams is a short yet formidable read as it conveys the suffering of the individual, the family and society at large as it Continue reading “Bite-size Review: Butterfly Dreams and Other Stories | Beatrice Lamwaka”
With a steady hand Abubakar weaves an affair between fifty-five year old Hajiya Binta Zubairu and twenty-five year old Reza Babale. Reza, a local weed dealer, finds himself entangled in Binta’s life after robbing her place. As Binta stands shocked in the centre of her invaded living space, she suddenly feels a cool blade gently pierce her throat and Reza’s warm breath trailing behind her neck. His abrupt entrance and body warmth arouses Binta – something she had never experienced in her recent marriage before becoming widowed. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: Season of Crimson Blossoms | Abubakar Adam Ibrahim”
A rough gem long abandoned on the wayside waiting to be known. The Trouble Causer sends us on a journey into the wilderness of the African past, where land, man and animal shares close communion. It tells of the tale of Bugeiga, a rich cattle herder of the Mugirakwe clan whose vanity and pride results in a cycle of bitter rivalry, forced migration and disharmony between clansmen and old friends. Reminiscent of the ancient tales told around the fire side, the Ugandan writer, Solomon Kubeshenga presents an intricate web of history, myths and fables that beautifully unravels the customs and traditions that bind precolonial African societies together. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: The Trouble Causer | Solomon Kubeshenga”
Set against the backdrop of globalisation, The Kindness of Enemies is an intelligent, complex and inventive novel that deals with the ravages of cultural estrangement. The lives of five characters (Anna, Shalim, Natasha, Oz and Malak) are intricately threaded together by their experience of politics, religion and culture. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: The Kindness Of Enemies | Leila Aboulela”
A worthy and compelling collection of women’s struggles throughout the generations- from our great grandmothers to present. This gem elucidates the resilience and tenacity of the human spirit. In each story, regardless of the circumstance, each woman and girl wins on her own terms, singularly and collectively. There is no victimisation, no shaming but rather a showcase of variable strengths and quiet achievements. Exploring stories from all regions of the continent and diaspora, the collection really does open space for women to be celebrated, discussed and enamoured. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: Opening Spaces: Contemporary African Women’s Writing | Edited By Yvonne Vera”