We wrap up book news for our readers in our regular Book Digest segment with books from Safia Elhillo, Omolola Ijeoma Ogunyemi, Umar Abubakar Sidi, and Kukogho Iruesiri Samson.
Girls That Never Die by Safia Elhillo
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Publication Date: July 12, 2022
Where to find it: Click here
Sudanese by way of D.C., Safia Elhillo is the author of The January Children and Home Is Not a Country and co-editor of the anthology Halal If You Hear Me. Winner of the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets, the Arab American Book Award, and the Brunel International African Poetry Prize, she is also the recipient of a Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University, a Cave Canem Fellowship, and a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from The Poetry Foundation. Her work has appeared in POETRY Magazine, The Atlantic, and The Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day series, among others, and has been translated into several languages.
Girls That Never Die
In Girls That Never Die, award-winning poet Safia Elhillo reinvents the epic to explore Muslim girlhood and shame, the dangers of being a woman, and the myriad violences enacted and imagined against women’s bodies. Drawing from her own life and family histories, as well as cultural myths and news stories about honor killings and genital mutilation, she interlaces the everyday traumas of growing up a girl under patriarchy with magical realist imaginings of rebellion, autonomy, and power.
Elhillo writes a new world: women escape their stonings by birds that carry the rocks away; slain girls grow into two, like the hydra of lore, sprouting too numerous to ever be eradicated; circles of women are deemed holy, protected. Ultimately, Girls That Never Die is about wrestling ourselves from the threats of violence that constrain our lives, and instead looking to freedom and questioning:
[what if i will not die]
[what will govern me then]
Like Butterflies Scattered About by Art Rascals by Umar Abubakar Sidi
Publisher: Masobe Books
Publication Date: July 2022
Where to find it: Click here
Umar Abubakar Sidi
Umar Abubakar Sidi is a Nigerian naval helicopter pilot. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria.
Like Butterflies Scattered About by Art Rascals
There is a luminescence of words in Umar’s sophomore collection of poetry, an audacity to employ poetic license without boundaries; a rascality, sometimes verging on creative mischief, to explore all perceptive and expressive possibilities. To probe, using the language as pathfinder, through dense uncharted regions of experience. To discover the mythical, pellucid elixir of eternal life hidden behind the screening stardust of mortal existence.
Jollof Rice and Other Revolutions by Omolola Ijeoma Ogunyemi
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: September 13, 2022
Genre: Literary fiction
Where to find it: Click here
Omolola Ijeoma Ogunyemi
Omolola Ijeoma Ogunyemi was born and raised in Ibadan, Nigeria. A finalist for the 2009 PEN/Studzinski Literary Award, her stories and poetry have appeared in New Writing from Africa 2009, Ploughshares, The Massachusetts Review, the Indiana Review, Wasafiri, Dance the Guns to Silence: 100 Poems for Ken Saro-Wiwa, and The American Poetry Review. She graduated from Barnard and UPenn with bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in computer science. Omolola is a professor of preventive and social medicine at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in South Los Angeles, where she teaches and conducts research on using biomedical informatics to reduce health disparities. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband.
Jollof Rice and Other Revolutions
Moving between Nigeria and America, Jollof Rice and Other Revolutions is a window into the world of accomplished Nigerian women, illuminating the challenges they face and the risks they take to control their destinies.
Students at an all-girls boarding school, Nonso, Remi, Aisha, and Solape forge an unbreakable sisterhood that is tempered during a school rebellion, an uprising with repercussions that will forever reverberate through their lives. The children of well-to-do families, these young women have been raised with a thirst for independence, believing a university education is their right—a legacy of ambition and hope inherited from their foremothers.
Leaving school and adolescence behind, the women grapple with the unexpected possibilities—and limitations—of adulthood and the uncertainties of the world within and outside of Nigeria. A trip to Ghana opens Nonso’s eyes to the lasting impact of the transatlantic slave trade, she falls in love with an African American, and makes a new home in the United States. Remi meets Segun, a dynamic man of Nigerian descent from Yonkers whose own traumatic struggles and support gives her the strength to confront painful family wounds. Aisha’s overwhelming sense of guilt haunts her, influencing career and relationship decisions until she sees a chance to save her son’s life and, through her sacrifice, redefine her own.
Revolving around loss, belonging, family, friendship, alienation, and silence, Jollof Rice and Other Revolutions is a moving, multifaceted portrait of lives shaped by hope and sorrow—of women who must contend with the ever-present and unsettling notion that moving forward in time isn’t necessarily progress.
Devil’s Pawn by Kukogho Iruesiri Samson
Kukogho Iruesiri Samson
Kukogho Iruesiri Samson is the author of four collections of poetry. He won the 2018 Dusty Manuscript Prize, 2017 ANA Prize for Fiction (first runner-up), Nigerian Writers Award (NWA) for Best Poet in Nigeria and Orange Crush Prize for Poetry (2012). He is a multimedia journalist, youth mentor and publishing entrepreneur.
When the Black Cats join their capone to “punish” a fellow student, they have no idea the terror they are about to unleash. When Simon, a student at Buscan University, awakens from a dream covered in blood, he has no idea he has become a puppet in the hands of a vengeful spirit. When the police are called to investigate heinous murders on a university campus, they have no idea they are up against something more sinister than their eyes can see. Different worlds collide in this chilling novel that blurs the lines between justice and revenge.