We wrap up book news for our readers in our regular Book Digest feature with books from Lea N’Guessan, Raymond Antrobus, Shamiso Chikoti, and Taban Lo Liyong.
La Secret d’Adjaratou by Lea N’Guessan
Publisher: Vallesse Editions (Cote D’Ivoire)
Publication Date: November 11, 2017
Where to find it: Vallesse Editions
Lea N’Guessan is an Ivorian lawyer currently at the Paris Bar. La Secret d’Adjaratou is her debut novel.
La Secret d’Adjaratou
Ajaratou’s Secret is a text that begins with success, cheerfulness, love, joy. It’s almost a detective story built around Ajaratou Sylla. She is a good-natured woman who succeeds in everything; intelligent, direct, positive, playful, loving, friendly, upright and courageous, she is also that kind of independent and strong women with whom we like to identify … The story takes place in Africa, more precisely in Abidjan, and I would say that the description of the environment counts a lot in the success of this first novel by Léa N’guessan: it is colorful and energetic like everyday African life, like African fashion, like the African sun, like African festivals. All the senses are awake; there is so much to see, hear and understand.
All The Names Given by Raymond Antrobus
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Publication Date: September 2, 2021
Where to find it: Pan Macmillan, Tin House Books,
Raymond Antrobus’s debut collection, The Perseverance, won the Ted Hughes Award, the Rathbones Folio Prize, and the Somerset Maugham Award, and was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize, among others. Born in London, Raymond is currently based between London and New Orleans.
All The Names Given
On the heels of his much-lauded debut collection, Raymond Antrobus continues his essential investigation into language, miscommunication, place, and memory in All The Names Given, while simultaneously breaking new ground in both form and content.
The collection opens with poems about the author’s surname—one that shouldn’t have survived into modernity—and examines the rich and fraught history carried within it. The book is punctuated with [Caption Poems] partially inspired by Deaf sound artist Christine Sun Kim, which speak to the spaces between the poems as well as the moments inside them. As Antrobus outlines a childhood caught between intimacy and brutality, sound and silence, and conflicting racial and cultural identities, the poem becomes a space in which the poet reckons with his own ancestry, and bears witness to the indelible violence of the legacy wrought by colonialism. The poems travel through space—shifting fluidly between England, South Africa, Jamaica, and the American South—and brilliantly move from an examination of family history into the wandering lust of adolescence and finally, vividly, into a complex array of marriage poems—matured, wiser, and more accepting of love’s fragility.
Formally sophisticated, with a weighty perception and startling directness, All The Names Given is a timely, tender book full of humanity and remembrance from one of the most important young poets of our generation.
After Troy by Taban Lo Liyong
Taban Lo Liyong
Taban lo Liyong is a South Sudanese/Ugandan writer, author of over twenty books spanning poetry, plays, stories, essays, children’s books, literary criticism and folktales. His work bristles with satire, roguish comedy and a spirit of defiance. He has taught in universities in Africa, Asia, North America, and Europe, and is currently a professor at the University of Juba, South Sudan.
after troy, Taban lo Liyong’s book length poem, is an expansive and engaging elaboration of two classical Greek texts, Homer’s Odyssey and Aeschylus’s Oresteia. Its focus is the homecoming from the Trojan war of two hero-kings, Odysseus and Agamemnon. Lo Liyong recreates their thoughts and speech, adding dialogue from other characters, most of them women, who are not given a voice in the original stories. after troy is also a philosophical enquiry into retribution and justice.
Wonders by Shamiso Chikoti
Publisher: Pan African Publishers
Publication Date: September 10, 2021
Where to find it: Pan African Publishers
Shamiso Chikoti is a 7th grade student at the ABC Academy in Lilongwe, Malawi. Wonders is her debut poetry collection.
You must think of Wonders, as a spaceship that takes you on a journey to see different things. On this journey, you will encounter magic, science, strange creatures, and also beautiful words. On this journey, you will learn more about girl power, rain and rainbows, but you will also meet people like Naughty Judy. Let this poetry book take you on a journey to a whole new world of fun and fantasy.