This year Afrikult. was invited once again to facilitate two half day workshops as part of the Africa Writes Young Voices Showcase outreach programme. We were lucky enough to return to Parliament Hill School for Girls and work with a wonderful group of students.
‘In Creative Fiction, We See What Others Don’t’ – Lawrence Amaeshi
Lawrence Amaeshi is presently a student of Novel Writing in Stanford University, USA and in this conversation we try to explore in-depth the ideas behind the story, the structure and his style of writing.
In this book that could be described as many things but best regarded as a crime thriller, Bruce Telema, a young man who has recently lost his job and now works selling technical filter replacement kits to oil companies based in the Niger Delta, is approached by Steve, a representative of a high calibre network of oil criminals, skilled in the siphoning of oil from government pipelines using armed militants and selling the stolen oil to ‘the highest bidder’ in the international market. Bruce is offered the opportunity of representing the interests of this organization based in London – he is to be their point man, with the responsibility of travelling to the Niger Delta creeks to negotiate for oil from militants, villagers who have scooped oil from burst pipes, various local illegal refineries, and helping the network deliver these products to their clients. Bruce Telema is promised ‘wealth beyond his wildest imagination’ and yes, he gets into this business and soon begins to make lots of money, living an exotic ‘fast life’. However, soon rival militant groups, security operatives and even his own network place a price tag on his head.
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”
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”
Witty, shy and quirky were the three words that came to mind upon meeting Irenosen Okojie. Her début novel Butterfly fish, found its way to my desk- unannounced. Replacing my customary pick- me- up, I was intoxicated by its rich imaginative ardour. Butterfly fish by Irenosen Okojie came out in 2016 and is a smooth literary hooch, with a dark personality and complex finish.
Enchanting readers with the eloquence of a griot, Irenosen Okojie’s début novel Butterfly Fish brings to life the magic of story telling. In a spellbinding saga of love, deceit, guilt and atonement, it tells of the scourge of the sins of the ancestors upon the coming generation. A brass head forge out of blood, seeks retribution from succeeding heirs, tearing families apart and destroying livelihoods. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: Butterfly Fish | Irenosen Okojie”
Upon winning the 2015 Etisalat prize for literature, for his novel Tram 83, Fiston Mwanza Mujila has been on the lips of many literary pundits and enthusiasts as a rising star. As we impatiently await the announcement of the Man Booker Prize shortlist 2016, many speculate whether the name Fiston Mwanza Mujila will once again emerge out of the judges’ hat. In spite of this, it is best to remind ourselves that it is not so much the prizes that defines a good piece of literature, but the originality of form and ingenuity. In Tram 83, the writer works into his novel the rhythm of jazz and soul, with tenors of thrilling fast pace Afro beat like action, sketching a captivating portrait of the human landscape. In the words of the famous novelist Alain Mabanckou, “When I turned the last page, I exclaimed: This is a masterpiece!”
In the dark pits of civil warfare, Chris Abani mimes a human poetry; of love and redemption. My Luck, a twelve- year- old boy recounts his travails as a child soldier tasked with the perilous job of a mine detector. Through his journey across the wretched terrain of human wreckage and ruin, we hear the cries of the human soul as it yields to the lust of hate and violence. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: Song For Night | Chris Abani”
A pulsating literary score, with a ragbag of plucky characters. In Tram 83 we meet, an ensemble of courtesans, a bevy of thrill seekers, a throng of gangsters and racketeers, all mired in the bleating hustle of survival. Out of this gritty melting pot of degenerates, emerges Lucien, a struggling writer obstinately bent on creating his masterpiece- a locomotive novel. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: Tram 83 | Fiston Mwanza Mujila”
Estranged, accursed and displaced, our protagonist in The Book of Memory pieces together the accounts of her demise. Memory is an albino woman facing the death penalty in Chikurubi, a maximum prison in Harare for the death of Lloyd Hendricks, her adopted patron. The accounts of her life, flows in fragments and scattered recollections mapping the painful guiles of memory. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: The Book of Memory | Petina Gappah”