We wrap up book news for our readers in our regular Book Digest segment with books from Binyavanga Wainaina, Monique Severin, Nike Campbell, and Yessoh G.D.
How to Write About Africa by Binyavanga Wainaina
Publication Date: September 29, 2022
Genre: Nonfiction, Essays
Where to find it: Penguin.
Binyavanga Wainaina was a seminal author and activist, remembered as one of the greatest chroniclers of contemporary African life. After his death in 2019, this ground-breaking collection brings together his pioneering writing on the African continent for the first time. A rule-breaker full of wry satire and piercing wisdom, this collection includes many of Binyavanga’s most critically acclaimed pieces, including the viral satirical sensation How to Write About Africa. Writing fearlessly across a range of topics – from politics to international aid, cultural heritage and redefining sexuality, this is a remarkable illustration of a writer at the height of his power.
How to Write About Africa
Featuring a foreword by his long time friend Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A trailblazing collection of writing from Binyavanga Wainaina’s extraordinary life
‘In your text, treat Africa as if it were one country. It is hot and dusty with rolling grasslands and huge herds of animals and tall, thin people who are starving. Or it is hot and steamy with very short people who eat primates. Don’t get bogged down with precise descriptions.’
Le Peine de L’eau by Monique Severin
Publisher: Editions Projectiles
Publication Date: September 6, 2022
Where to find it: Editions Projectiles.
Monique Séverin, born in St-Joseph de La Réunion, has worked mainly on the Réunion issue. Co-editor of the first edition of the Kréol-Français Dictionary (Océan Editions, 1987) by Alain Armand, she campaigns for the recognition of Reunionese identity within cultural associations. For several years, Monique Séverin has devoted herself entirely to writing.
Le Peine de L’eau
At the edge of a swimming pool, Marie ferments seven juices, as many as children born to the father who has gone to war, plus one for the unborn! She, whose own father was engaged in Diên Biên Phu at the time of her birth, tries to abolish chains and deleterious ties in the middle of this island in the Indian Ocean, Reunion. The singular story then joins the collective. Marie settles her account with the water that encircles and propelled her mother into a violent land. Sisyphus besieged by prejudices, she begins again with each wave the absurdity of the imposed identity. “Ni ni” who wants to be black, [she] refuses to be a prisoner of appearance and gender. But neither society, too loose, nor the mother, too saturated, hear it that way. Its seven juices alternately acidic, sweet, unctuous, sour or bitter, reveal the reality of an island that exists other than through its volcano, its sharks and the conventional beauty of its women.
The Release of Saro by Nike Campbell
Publisher: Narrative Landscape Press
Publication Date: September 22, 2022
Where to find it: Narrative Landscape,
Nikę Campbell is a Nigerian-American, born in Lviv, Ukraine, and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. She was a finalist for the 2018 Red Hen Press Fiction Award for her historical fiction manuscript. A selection of her short stories from her collection, Bury Me Come Sunday Afternoon, have been adapted for film, which have won international awards. She is the author of the historical fiction, Thread of Gold Beads. SARO is her second work of historical fiction. Nikę is based in Florida, USA, with her family.
The Release of Saro
On a visit to the coast of Marina, Lagos, Siwoolu and his young family are lured by a traitor to a grand merchant ship where they are captured by slave holders masquerading as traders. On the way to the new world, they are rescued by abolitionists on a British naval ship, and sent to Freetown, a haven for freed slaves.
They settle in their new home, grow their family and become successful merchants, trading goods between Freetown and Eko. Dotunu, Siwoolu’s wife, falls in love with another man and is caught in a love triangle. But their lives are upended again when they hear that the kingdom has selected the traitor as king. Siwoolu, content with his new life, yet fearful of a curse that lurks in the shadows, refuses to return, but Dotunu is determined to keep the traitor from the throne. She turns to their son, Oșolu, who is running from his own demons, to seize the throne that is rightfully theirs.
SARO is a multigenerational tale of betrayal and restitution, love and war, inspired by true events that will take the reader from the rocky terrain of Abeokuta and burgeoning city of Lagos to the lion mountains of Freetown and Hastings of Sierra Leone from the 1830s to the 1850s.
Ta Le, Book 1: Knowledge by Yessoh G.D
Yessoh grew up in a small city on the Ivory Coast, also known as Côte d’Ivoire, officially the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, a country on the southern coast of West Africa. He believes that books have the power to change people for the betterment of the whole. When he is not day-dreaming about stories and the world, he is a visual effects artist and a gamer. Yessoh did the visual effects for several studio projects, including Netflix’s Lost In Space. He studied telecommunications in Morocco and then moved to India for six years, where he transitioned to study computer generated imagery. He specialized in 3-D animation and visual effects. Yessoh has worked on many films, television shows, and commercials, including for Disney, Netflix, and Apple TV.
Ta Le, Book 1: Knowledge
When two strangers are thrown into a world of African sorcery, unseen evil, and mystical phenomena, they are forced to confront a fantastical realm that they never imagined existed.
Very few manage to land a job working in the special services for the West African government of Côte d’Esperance. Even fewer are given the responsibility that has been entrusted to Kobenan at such a young age in a role that includes analysing files for the secretive S-cell; a unit which specializes in incidents involving African mysticism and sorcery.
Tasked with investigating a high profile murder, seemingly brought about by mystical means, Kobenan joins Agent Biafle in order to diffuse this delicate political situation. What Kobenan discovers will force him to change his perspective on the world around him as he learns truths he never thought possible, and things he never imagined.