African literary podcast episode 3

Welcome to Episode 3. Thank you everyone for liking and sharing the podcast on all social media platforms so far. Just like in previous episodes, I’ll start with the news section followed by an interview with Barbados/Nigeria/South Africa writer Yewande Omotoso from the side lines of Time of the Writer 2018.  This week we are now not only on Anchor but also on Soundcloud. You could listen to episode here;

The highlights from this week’s Podcast are;


  • Our book focus is Stanley Gazemba’s novel Forbidden Fruit which was born in 2002 as The Stone Hills of Maragoli. In the novel based in rural Kenya, Ombima commits a “harmless” crime while trying to get his hustle on. When our protagonist tries to conceal his misdeed, the simple farm labourer becomes a reluctant participant in a sinister affair. If discovered, the consequences could be disastrous for Ombima’s family, friends, and a spate of unwitting, gossipy villagers. This novel was published by a larger than life personality who went broke and vanished to the village never to be heard from again. The less said about that experience the better. In spite of this, the book went on to win the biggest prize in Kenyan fiction, the Jomo Kenyatta Literature Prize in 2003. Not bad. The next publisher who took it on was Kwani Trust who are famous for identifying amazing writers but not promoting or paying them. That didn’t go so well for the writer either. Gazemba didn’t give up and the book was reissued last year as Forbidden Fruit by US publisher The Mantle. You can buy it as an ebook right now; hopefully it will be available in book stores across the continent soon.
  • There have been two books announced this past week. First up is Tomi Adeyemi’sChildren of Blood Bone which is a New York Times bestseller. It will be released in April under the Ouida Books banner. Also on its way under Farafina in May is Akwaeke Emezi’s highly anticipated novel Freshwater. More will be coming on my blog about this books this coming week.


  • Those in the running for the newest prize for Zambian writers, the Kalemba Short Story Prize 2018 were announced this week. They are Chanda Chongo, Peter Nawa, Andrew Nguvu, Sampa Musaba, Mali Kambandu, and Mutinta Nanchengwa. The winner will be announced at a huge shindig in Lusaka at a yet unannounced date.
  • Thando Mgqolozana alongside John Trengrove and Malusi Bengu have won at the South African Film and Television Awards for Best Scriptwriting for controversial film Inxeba. Thando is famous in the literary world for his three novels A Man Is Not A Man, Hear Me Alone and Unimportance and as the founder of the Abantu Book Festival. We were amused when those announcing the winners called our guy Thabo instead of Thando. HEH!


  • The Women’s Poetry Festival in Blantyre, Malawi from March 20-21 featured Susan Kiguli of Makerere University, Beverley Nambozo of Babishai, TJ Dema the Sillerman Prize winning poet from Botswana, and PEN Malawi President Alfred Msadala.
  • The Jozi Book Fair 2018 announced the dates for their event this year in Johannesburg, South Africa; August 30th – September 2nd, 2018. The theme for the festival, in its 10th year, presented by director Dr Maria Van Driel on March 24 is “Our lives, Our communities.”
  • Gaborone, Botswana will have its first literary festival from September 21-22, 2018. They will start with the World Book Day in April 23 before bringing the big show in September. I met the organisers of the upcoming festival including Kenanao Phele and they seemed determined to bring an amazing festival to the Southern African country. Finally.