Saturday, April 25, 2009

Harare North, By Brian Chikwava Scams, scrapes and survival in a city of refugees

The reviews keep pouring in. I'm loving this. Margaret Busby enjoyed Brian Chikwava's Harare North. She urges us to "Come to this novel with an open mind and, as well as giving you much to ponder about the nature of right and wrong, exile and belonging, it will surely make you go kak kak kak."
I guess I can't wait to go kak kak kak.
So here you go.

N.B: I read Petina Gappah's response to Aminatta Forna's review of her book in her blog. An interesting conversation went on there. For those who would like to have a glimpse, see:

Friday, April 24, 2009

Survival instincts Reveiw of Brian Chikwava and Petina Gappa

Those of us who came of age in the business of literature in the 80s and 90s knew that beside Nigeria who boasted of Achebe and Soyinka, among others, and beside Kenya and perhaps South Africa, Zimbabwe is the, should I say? African preeminent literary powerhouse. I don't know whether I got this right. Well, I think I did. Just think of names like Marechera who mesmerized us all with the existentialist bent of his writings; Yvonne Vera, who pulled at the lyrical strings of our souls. Or Chenjerai Hove etc etc. Then Mugabe suddenly reminded us all what we hate about African leaders: they love to die in office, of course, having sent uncountable others to their early graves.
Anyway, literature, like many other things went into a kind of winter sleep. Like the polar bears.
But then the human spirit never dies. Zimbabwe experiences a cultural renaissance in the narrative art now. Petina Gappah and Brian Chikwava blaze the trail in this regard. I have heard that many more are following their example.
Here is a review of their works by Aminatta Forna. I thought that the review was excellent. I had to read this sentence more than three times, though: "Through humour and compassion, she depicts that most quintessential of African characteristics: the ability to laugh at life, for fear of crying."
Quintessential African characteristics? Hmmm.
Well, enjoy.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Penguin Prize for African Writing

Friends, it's finally here. Months ago, I wrote about the new African literature prize. Penguin publishers has finally unveiled the prize. It's for full novel manuscript. For all African writers regardless of where you live, regardless of age and gender. Okay, I think I should just go back to my table and write.
By the way, here is the real scoop. Good Luck!

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: How the acclaimed novelist is becoming a role-model and mentor

Katy Guest interview Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in Independent. Great interview with some morsels of information on Adichie.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Petina Gappah's An Elegy for Easterly has received its first full review on Guardian, by Tom Fleming. Tom is very excited and promises that the collection will not disappoint. Here are his words:

"More and more I have come to admire resilience," begins the epigraph, a poem by Jane Hirshfield. Yet sometimes laughter is the only form of resilience Petina Gappah's characters can manage, and it is the frequent humour in these stories that makes them remarkable, even if their outcomes can be tragic. Often satirical, occasionally lyrical, they are a delight."

I look forward to having m own copy on my table soon. Here is the whole review, by the way. ENJOY!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Interview: Brian Chikwava - Double life of Brian

Brian Chikwava's short stories, Harare North is out now from Jonathan Cape
I was looking for a review of this book, instead I chanced on an interview. Sure, I prefer reviews, but, well in the absence of one, an interview helps.
Here is an interview he gave to LEE RANDALL Well HERE is the interview.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The interview: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

In her harrowing novel Half of a Yellow Sun, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie transported 650,000 British readers to war-ravaged Biafra. Now she turns her fierce intelligence to short stories telling of her life in America. William Skidelsky meets the prize-winning author.

Dambudzo Marechera: The life and times of an African writer

Helon Habila, one of my favorite Nigerian writers, has a profound essay on Dambudzo Marechera, one of very powerful African writers of the late 20th century. I regard Marechera highly, second only to Yvonne Vera, also from Zimbabwe.
Habila provides background, analytical information about Dambuzdo the man. It helped me understand his novella, House of Hunger.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Books to look out for in 2009

Helon Habila take us through the most important books to look out for this year in his highly interesting piece. Some of the books are already making noise here and there; reviews are already trickling in. I'm excited; I can't wait to have these books on my table. Habila seems to love Zimbabwean authors. "Zimbabwean authors never disappoint," he writes. Hmmm, the Nigerian in me wants to resist, but, the objective spirit in me tells me to please shut up. And so, I agree with Habila. Well, read the entire essay and see for yourself. HERE YOU GO!