Book digest

We wrap up book news for our readers in our regular Book Digest feature with anthologies from writers from across the continent.

When Secrets Become Stories edited by Sue Nyathi

Publisher: Jonathan Ball Publishers SA
Publication Date: July 7, 2021
Genre: Fiction
Contributors: Lorraine Sithole, Desiree-Anne Martin, UCT vice-chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng, Shafinaaz Hassim, Cathy Park Kelly and Olivia Jasriel
Language: English
Where to find it: Loot, Exclusive Books,

Sue Nyathi

Sue Nyathi
Sue Nyathi

Sue Nyathi who was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe worked as an investment analyst, writing has always been her leading passion. She has so far had three novels published: The Polygamist, The Gold Diggers and A Family Affair.

Now living in Johannesburg, she says that she has many more manuscripts to come.
When Secrets Become Stories

A young girl on the Cape Flats is gifted in exchange for a bottle of alcohol, a woman is beaten by her boyfriend and told to bezekela (persevere), a businesswoman is asked for sexual favours to secure a contract, while a child rapist is released on bail after three years…

South Africa is a country at war with its women. Rarely a woman can be found who has not been the victim of some kind of abuse or does not know a friend or a family member who has. Gender-based violence takes many different forms – emotional, financial, physical, sexual and structural – and it can be meted out by strangers, intimate partners or a family member.

Many women are overcome by a sense of shame when they are sexually or emotionally abused but sharing what was once a secret, helps to break shame’s hold. ‘I am not defined by the abuse I have suffered,’ writes Sue Nyathi. ‘I am not a victim; I am a survivor.’

In When Secrets Become Stories, women from all walks of life, across racial lines, age and income demographics, boldly speak out. With contributions by Lorraine Sithole, Desiree-Anne Martin, Mamokgethi Phakeng, Shafinaaz Hassim, Cathy Park Kelly and Olivia Jasriel, who as a child was sexually abused by tennis star Bob Hewitt.

20.35 Africa: An Anthology of contemporary Volume IV guest edited by Nadra Mabrouk and K. Eltinaé

Publisher: 20.35 Africa
Publication Date: August 2021
Genre: Poetry
Contributors: Martins Deep, Alírio Karina, Rabha Ashry, Khadija Abdalla Bajaber, Akosua Zimba Afiriyie-Hwedie, Basma Osman, Somto Ihezue, Njoku Nonso, Phodiso Modirwa, Kweku Abimbola, Simon Ng’uni, Grace Adeyemi, Iyanuoluwa Adenle, Lanaire Aderemi, Onyedikachi Chinedu, and Cicely Yasmina Nuny Silva
Language: English
Where to find it: Official website

Nadra Mabrouk and K. Eltinaé

Nadra Mabrouk

Nadra Mabrouk. Photo/Kat Alvarez
Nadra Mabrouk. Photo/Kat Alvarez

Nadra Mabrouk is the author of Measurement of Holy (Akashic Books, 2020), part of the New-Generation African Poets: A Chapbook Box Set. The recipient of the 2019 Brunel International African Poetry Prize, she holds an MFA in Creative Writing from New York University and works in publishing in New York City.

K. Eltinaé

K. Eltinaé
K. Eltinaé

K. Eltinaé’s work has been translated into Arabic, Greek, Farsi, French, and Spanish. His work has appeared in The Ordinary Chaos of Being Human: Many Muslim Worlds (Penguin) and The African American Review, among others. He is the winner of The 2019 Beverly Prize for International Literature (Eyewear Publishing) and co-winner of the 2019 Dignity Not Detention Prize (Poetry International).

An Anthology of contemporary Volume IV

Poetry stirs us from within, awakens our senses and reminds us of what we knew before we forgot all that is important to us as a species. The cadre of poets selected by Ebenezer Agu and his team demonstrate the sensitivity and courage that marks true poetry. From Africa and its diaspora, poets spin beauty into images that rain their urgent message to humanity in the throes of a moral drought. In a range of styles, these poems explore and expand English to resonate the multiplicity of African voices. From the minuscule yet significant placement of every comma, every line break, the breath of these poems speaks to the heart, to the mind, to the soul. These are indeed words “to grow a garden from the little seeds of your heart” (Simon Ngu’ni), poems that will spawn more poems, will awaken more poets. Serious, strident, playful – a promising, powerful clutch from the next generation of greats.

– Phillipa Yaa de Villiers

Surfacing: On Being Black and Feminist in South Africa edited by Desiree Lewis and Gabeba Baderoon.

Publisher: Wits University Press
Publication Date: April 1, 2021
Genre: Nonfiction essays
Contributors: Pumla Dineo Gqola, Zoë Wicomb, Yewande Omotoso, Danai S. Mupotsa, Barbara Boswell, Grace Musila, Patricia McFadden, Zukiswa Wanner
Where to find it: Amazon, Waterstones, The Book Lounge.

Desiree Lewis

Desiree Lewis
Desiree Lewis

Desiree Lewis has taught literary studies at the Universities of the Witwatersrand, Cape Town, Kwazulu Natal, and the Western Cape. She has also lectured on Women’s and Gender Studies at universities in and beyond South Africa. She has a research interest in literary and popular culture, global feminist knowledge and politics, the politics of visuality and representation, and postcolonial writing and culture.

Desiree Lewis has also been active in developing feminist intellectual activist networks throughout Africa; within South Africa, and in the Western Cape. She undertook research and editorial work on feminist networking and knowledge production at the African Gender Institute between 2001 and 2003; taught course on feminist theory and epistemology for postgraduate students in the Zimbabwean-based network, SAPES between 1993 and 2005; has participated in webinars, workshops, and seminars on gender, race and sexualities in South Africa, produces accessible writings on and mentors’ new writers’ work on feminism and gender. She is the author of Living on a Horizon: Bessie Head and the Politics of Imagining, among other publications.

Gabeba Baderoon

Gabeba Baderoon
Gabeba Baderoon

Gabeba Baderoon is an award-winning South African poet and scholar and the author of the poetry collections, The Dream in the Next Body, A Hundred Silences and The History of Intimacy, and the monograph Regarding Muslims: from slavery to post-apartheid (NIHSS Best Non-fiction Monograph Prize, 2017). Baderoon received the DaimlerChrysler Award for South African Poetry in 2005 and has held writing fellowships at the Nordic Africa Institute, Civitella Ranieri and the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study. She is a member of the editorial board of the African Poetry Book Fund, and is an Extraordinary Professor of English at Stellenbosch University. She teaches Women’s Studies and African Studies at Pennsylvania State University.

Surfacing: On Being Black and Feminist in South Africa

An anthology of academic and non-academic writings, including by Patricia McFadden, Sisonke Msimang, Yewande Omotoso, Zoë Wicomb and Pumla Gqola, dedicated to contemporary black South African feminist perspectives currently influential in scholarship, radical thought and creative expression.

The Hope, The Prayer, The Anthem edited by Allwell Uwazuruike, Munachim Amah, Confidence Uwazuruike.

Publisher: Afritondo
Publication Date: August 25, 2021
Genre: Fiction
Contributors: Not listed
Language: English
Where to find it: Amazon, Waterstones, Barnes & Noble.

Allwell Uwazuruike

Allwell Uwazuruike is a lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire, United Kingdom. He is the co-founder of Afritondo, a literary platform for writers in Africa and the diaspora.

Munachim Amah

Munachim Amah worked briefly with CNN Africa as a digital journalist; during that period, he wrote feature stories and news reports and managed the bureau’s social media platforms. He has also been published by Business Day. At the Pan-Atlantic University, he teaches Prose Writing as Communication and Communication in English, and beyond his interest in finding good stories and telling them, he is interested in academic research projects that investigate journalistic principles and functions, journalistic practice, mediated identity, and writing on digital media.

The Hope, The Prayer, The Anthem

The Hope, The Prayer, The Anthem, is a collection of short stories on identity, love, hope, and self-discovery. Told by rising and award-winning writers from across the African continent and beyond, the stories are a rich blend of suspense, humour, drama, and romance.

“This anthology gives us a glimpse into the galaxies of possibility within African literature. It is complex, exciting, full of surprises, and brimming with brilliance.”

Maneo Mohale, Author, Everything is a Deadly Flower

“The stories in this collection are rooted in time and place. This specificity, steeped in clear language and vivid imagery, make them bold and urgent. An enthusiastic read that left me with fresh thoughts and feelings about the people in my continent.”

Kiprop Kimutai, Baldwin Fellow 2019