Thursday, June 30, 2011

Africa’s imaginary Gay crisis - Ebenezer Obadare

"A SPECTRE is haunting Africa - the spectre of homosexuality. But it is an unusual spectre: it does not exist. It is a phantom. Over the past decade, a curious and totally unlikely coalition of religious leaders, the ruling class, and sections of the mainstream media, has launched a vigorous campaign against homosexuality and perceived homosexuals. Trading in the most spiteful rhetoric and symbols imaginable, members of this alliance have sung from the same hymn book, affirming, implausibly, that homosexuality is a recent import intoAfrica, and that homosexuals are responsible for the continent’s postcolonial throes."

I enjoyed this essay. I thought you might. ENJOY

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"Learn to Be Open to Criticisms" _ Jude Dibia advises in this interview with Jeff Unaegbu

"You can say so. Nigerians are renowned for taking just about anything you dish at them. If you don’t provide them with light, they will find a way of getting light. If you don’t give them pipe borne water, they will dig boreholes for themselves in their homes. If you give them bad roads, they find a way of buying big cars to maneuver the potholes etc"
This is a smart observation, friends. I believe it gives you an inroad into the mind of our one of our excellent young writers.

So, You Know How To Write About Africa

"Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina is inexhaustible, a public intellectual very much engaged with the literary and political worlds. His memoir, One Day I Will Write About This Place, published this July by Graywolf Press, chronicles the multiplicity of his middle-class African childhood: home squared, we call it, your clan, your home, the nation of your origin."
Great interview. I like this guy.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Once upon a life: Helen Oyeyemi

"As the daughter of Nigerian immigrants, novelist Helen Oyeyemi knows how hard it can be to feel at home. But when she was assaulted in broad daylight in a London park, she had no option but to pack her bags."
There are many traits I've inherited from my parents. Among them are a love of, and geeky interest in, perfume (that's from my mum), an innate conviction that the plausibility of a piece of information is in no way connected to its truth (that's from my dad), and (from both of them) the idea that you don't have to stay in a place just because you were born there, or because you're used to it.
An insightful essay. Philosophical. Deep.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Award Winning Author Hisham Matar on the 2011 Caine Prize

"Hisham Matar was born in New York City to Libyan parents and spent his childhood first in Tripoli and then in Cairo. His first novel, In the Country of Men, was published in 2006 and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the Guardian First Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award in the US. It won six international literary awards including the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Best First Book award for Europe and South Asia, the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Pr, and the inaugural Arab American Book Award."

Can you comment on this year’s prize – the range, number, and quality of entries? What impressed you?

I can only compare this year’s entries to my 2008 experience, which is the only other time I have been a Caine Prize judge. The previous time, the entries were generally not as good as what we’ve received this year. Yes, there were a few powerful stories that clearly stood out. But this time, while we still do have a number of powerful stories, the general standard is better overall.


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Loving and hating Julius

This seems to be the appropriate title for Ikhide's review of Teju Cole's "Open City."

"I loved Julius, I hated Julius. He is a Walter Mitty character, a creep even. Julius is eclectic, some would say too eager to appear so, precise, almost anally-retentive. knows his Chopin, Bach partitas, Beethoven sonatas and Shostakovich symphonies by heart. The peasant reader asks: Who are these people that Julius knows on a last-name basis? Who is Veláquez? Gilles Deleuze? Gaston Bachelard? Paul Claude? Julius comes across as a caricature of the African intellectual schooled in Western ways and loudly wearing his intellect like a pimp overwhelmed by his loud clothes."

I think I recognize some of these European guys. Will I be able to recognize a character who showcases his knowledge of them?