Friday, June 21, 2013

At 52, Not Too Old for a Debut Novel

Among the many things I wasn’t prepared for after publishing my first novel at the age of 52 was the question I’m asked most often. I’ve heard it at book tour events in England, Germany, and here in the United States. The wording and language vary, but the gist of the question is the same: “Aren’t you too old for this?”

I love this line: "I had crossed a threshold, too old to imitate anyone."


Thursday, June 13, 2013

We Need New Names, By NoViolet Bulawayo

Adjusting to adolescent life in the US inevitably brings cultural collisions and awakenings, including a palpable loss of innocence when she is drawn into watching unspeakable internet porn. At points, the story could be read as a case-study in alienation and assimilation. Nevertheless, most affecting of all is the early intimate depiction of Darling and her sub-teen gang, with their speaking eyes and quick-witted banter - a wonderfully original set of characters whom Bulawayo allows a convincing combination of innocence and knowingness. Their indomitable energy, spirit and hope, often in the face of truly painful odds, are just memorable.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Teju Cole’s Open City Wins the International Literature Award

The Award Winner of 2013
The International Literature Award – Haus der Kulturen der Welt 2013 goes to the Nigerian-American writer Teju Cole for his novel Open City (Suhrkamp 2012) and to Christine Richter-Nilsson for the book’s first translation into German.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Here is my review of Afam Akeh's book of poems. I hope you enjoy it.

"To me, Akeh comes to life most in “Biafran Nights.” In it, one feels the weight of history and of a people nearly decimated by genocide and the war that should have been avoided. In “Biafran Nights,” Akeh returns to the Nerudean lyricism that distinguished the “Letter Home.” It is a style of noble lyricism that seeks to marry heaven and earth in a single breath. In this poem, memory becomes a “master griot” that is “stubborn with tales.” And, as if to warn us that those who ignore their history are bound to repeat its mistakes, or perhaps that we cannot wish away our past, the ultimate griot reminds us of our “network of neglected moments.” It is all about a “land imperiled imploding like a myth.”