Book digest

We wrap up book news for our readers in our regular Book Digest segment with books from Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse, Ayanna Lloyd Banwo, Jessemusse Cacinda, and Okechukwu Nzelu.

Consolée by Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse

Publisher: LITTERATURE FRA
Publication Date:
August 17, 2022
Genre: Literary fiction
Language: French
Where to find it: Coming soon

Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse

Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse. Photo/Fondation Jan Michalski © Wiktoria Bosc
Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse. Photo/Fondation Jan Michalski © Wiktoria Bosc

Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse was born in Butare, Rwanda, and came to France in 1994 after surviving the genocide against the Tutsi. She now lives in Bordeaux. She studied political sciences and worked for NGOs, living in different continents. Her first collection of short stories, Ejo, was published in 2015, and her second, Lézardes, two years later, both winners of several French literary awards. Her debut novel Tous Tes Enfants Dispersés, was acclaimed by critics and won the Prix des cinq continents de la francophonie 2020. She also writes poetry.

Consolée

Consolée by Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse

1954. In Rwanda under Belgian guardianship, Consolée, daughter of a white man and a Rwandan woman, is taken away from her black family and placed in an institution for “mulatto children”. Sixty-five years later, Ramata, fifty years old Senegalese origin, is doing an art therapy course in a nursing home in the South West of France. There she meets Madame Astrida, an old Métis woman suffering from Alzheimer’s disease who has lost the use of French and expresses herself in an unknown language. confronted with her own family destiny and the difficulties of being black today in France. A story of symbolic repair and a rediscovered language, Consolée is a poetic, moving novel that resonates with the colonial past and the condition of the children of immigrants.

When We Were Birds by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo

Publisher: Doubleday
Publication Date:
March 15, 2022
Genre: Literary fiction
Language: English
Where to find it: Penguin Random House

Ayanna Lloyd Banwo

Ayanna Lloyd Banwo
Ayanna Lloyd Banwo

Ayanna Lloyd Banwo is a writer from Trinidad and Tobago. Her work has been published in The Caribbean Writer, Moko Magazine, Small Axe, POUi, Pree, Callaloo, and Anomaly. She is a graduate of the M.A. in Creative Writing program from the University of East Anglia and is now a postgraduate researcher in Creative-Critical Writing at UEA. When We Were Birds is her first novel.

When We Were Birds

When We Were Birds by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo

A mythic love story set in Trinidad, Ayanna Lloyd Banwo’s radiant debut is a masterwork of lush imagination and exuberant storytelling—a spellbinding and hopeful novel about inheritance, loss, and love’s seismic power to heal.

In the old house on a hill, where the city meets the rainforest, Yejide’s mother is dying. She is leaving behind a legacy that now passes to Yejide: one St Bernard woman in every generation has the power to shepherd the city’s souls into the afterlife. But after years of suffering her mother’s neglect and bitterness, Yejide is looking for a way out.

Raised in the countryside by a devout Rastafarian mother, Darwin has always abided by the religious commandment not to interact with death. He has never been to a funeral, much less seen a dead body. But when the only job he can find is grave digging, he must betray the life his mother built for him in order to provide for them both. Newly shorn of his dreadlocks and his past, and determined to prove himself, Darwin finds himself adrift in a city electric with possibility and danger.

Yejide and Darwin will meet inside the gates of Fidelis, an ancient and sprawling cemetery, where the dead lie uneasy in their graves and a reckoning with fate beckons them both.

Nampula: Antologia de hi-es-tórias de uma cidade vibrante edited by Jessemusse Cacinda

Publisher: Ethale Books
Publication Date:
June 2022
Genre: Nonfiction, essays, anthology
Language: Portuguese
Where to find it: Ethale Books

Jessemusse Cacinda

Jessemusse Cacinda
Jessemusse Cacinda

Jessemusse Cacinda is a philosopher, journalist, project manager, and cultural activist. He has published essays, articles, chronicles, and short stories in literary and philosophical anthologies, newspapers, press, and magazines, and has coordinated two literary anthologies bringing together contemporary Mozambican writers. In 2016 he founded, with Alex Macbeth, Ethale Publishing, a publishing house focused on promoting African narratives and their diasporas. He is the author of the book “Thinking Africa” (Ethale Publishing, 2020), Published The Hamburger that Killed George – Anthology of Mozambican Criminal Short Stories (Ethale Publishing, 2017). He has a degree in Philosophy and a Master’s degree in Sociology of Development and Project Management.

Nampula: Antologia de hi-es-tórias de uma cidade vibrante

Nampula: Antologia de hi-es-tórias de uma cidade vibrante edited by Jessemusse Cacinda

Nampula is a remarkable city for everyone who visits it. Being the largest city in Northern Mozambique, its characteristics, modes of social production, and identity constructions are peculiar and deserve to be featured in artistic agendas. This book is, on the one hand, a written celebration of a city that deserves to enter the script of Mozambican literature and, on the other hand, a presentation of the creative work of its authors, who have long been clamoring for exposure in the national literary system.

Here Again Now by Okechukwu Nzelu

Publisher: Dialogue Books
Publication Date:
March 10, 2022
Genre: Literary fiction
Language: English
Where to find it: Hachette Books

Okechukwu Nzelu

Okechukwu Nzelu
Okechukwu Nzelu

Okechukwu Nzelu is a writer and teacher. In 2015, he was the recipient of a New Writing North Award. In 2020 his debut novel, The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney, won a Betty Trask Award and was shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize and the Polari First Book Prize; it was also longlisted for the Portico Prize. He is a regular contributor to Kinfolk magazine. He lives in Manchester and is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Lancaster University.

Here Again Now

Here Again Now by Okechukwu Nzelu

From award-winning author Okechukwu Nzelu comes a spellbinding literary novel that asks, how do you move forward when the past keeps pulling you back?

Achike Okoro feels like his life is coming together at last. His top-floor flat in Peckham is as close to home as he can imagine and after years of hard work, he’s about to get his break as an actor. He’s even persuaded his father, Chibuike, to move in with him, grateful to offer the man who raised him as a single parent a home of his own.

Between filming trips, Achike is snatching a few days in London with Ekene, his best friend of twenty years, the person who makes him feel whole. Achike can put the terrible things that happened behind him at last; everything is going to be alright. Maybe even better.

But after a magical night, when Achike and Ekene come within a hair’s breadth of admitting their feelings for each other, a devastating event rips all three men apart. In the aftermath, it is Ekene and Chibuike who must try to rebuild. And although they have never truly understood each other, grief may bring them both the peace and happiness they’ve been searching for…