Posts

Showing posts from July, 2011

Vitabubooks Interview | Chika Unigwe

Image
A tale of choices, displacement and courage, suffused with the richness of the oral story-telling tradition and set against the backdrop of the Antwerp prostitute underworld. 
The blurb grabbed me several months ago when I first came across the book On Black Sisters Street. Perhaps because I am an African migrant worker, I get drawn to tales of displacement; of root shock among continental Africans--people of all creeds and from all walks of life. I found On Black Sisters Street essentially a tough story of people, of women on the so-called 'margins of society.'

In a time when human trafficking, modern-day slavery, forced labor and debt bondage are such hot button issues, more and more these days we read about or watch television documentaries on programs that are trying to raise awareness--how many men, women and children are trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation, where they come from, countries they transit in and where they end up. So there were al…

Vitabubooks Interview | Beatrice Lamwaka

Image
Beatrice Lamwaka’s story, ButterflyDreams, was published in a collection of shorts from Uganda bearing the same title: Butterfly Dreams and Other New Short Stories from Uganda, published by CCC Press. Lamwaka was also on this year’s Caine Prize shortlist for African Writing. The 2011 shortlist (the twelfth since the first prize began) was announced in May.

The same month, Ikhide R.Ikheloa published The 2011Caine Prize: How Not to Write About Africa in his popular Email From America. Of the five shortlisted stories selected from over 120 stories submitted from a total of seventeen African countries, Ikheloa thought NoViolet Bulawayo's piece was “fly-ridden”; Beatrice Lamwaka's Butterfly Dreams "a pathetic story about a child soldier"; Tim Keegan’s What Molly Knew, “a plodding tale with ingredients that make for an African howler”; and that Lauri Kubuitsile "fired a volley of ignobility" for portraying the men of Botswana as drunken simpletons. The saving…

Vitabubooks Interview | NoViolet Bulawayo

Image
Zimbabwe’s NoViolet Bulawayo won the 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing for her short story entitled ‘Hitting Budapest.’ It was published in The Boston Review, Vol 35, no. 6 - Nov/Dec 2010.

The Caine Prize is described as Africa’s leading literary award.
Hisham Matar, Caine Prize chair of judges, announced Bulawayo as the winner of the £10,000 prize at a dinner held Monday, July 11, 2011 at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, England. Matar said: "The language of ‘Hitting Budapest’ crackles. Here we encounter Darling, Bastard, Chipo, Godknows, Stina and Sbho, a gang reminiscent of Clockwork Orange. But these are children, poor and violated and hungry. This is a story with moral power and weight, it has the artistry to refrain from moral commentary. NoViolet Bulawayo is a writer who takes delight in language."
Another of her stories, ‘Snapshots’, was shortlisted for the 2009 SA PEN/Studzinski Literary Award. More recently, she completed a master's degree in fine arts…

Reflecting Life. Reflecting Wole Soyinka

Image
I'd like to thank 50 Cent for a perfect opening line: 'I'm just a mirror reflecting my life experiences. I'm wishing every one well who reads this.'
Special wishes go to Wole Soyinka, who celebrates his 77th birthday today. For all those outside Abuja, Nigeria, joining the national theater art’s birthday party for Soyinka is probably a 'sorry-I-can't -come RSVP. But I had an idea: Why not celebrate one of Africa's leading voices, virtually, with Vitabu's own version of  'My Favorite Wole Soyinka...'

In the coming days and weeks we'll bring you answers to the questions we asked: Which Wole Soyinka plays and books we want to read again and again, which characters we found the most memorable and which books we are glad to have read/ made us sad/ or have had a great impact in our lives.

I put my answers into a story that, you guessed it, reflect my own life experiences. So here's wishing everyone well who reads this:

I'm not sure …

Vitabubooks Interview | Mercy Ngozi Alu

Image
Mercy Ngozi Alu is a powerhouse. She sings, was top finalist in the 2000 "Miss Nigeria/USA" pageant,  a consummate networker and a published writer.

“Most good writers have read lots of books, says Mercy, author of a 2010 book about life in Nigeria. “I read just about any literature you can think of,” adds the **English graduate who's read lots of books from the African Writers Series as well as from the Pacesetters African Series, which she still collects.

“The more you read, the more you are able to build ideas and understand yourself as a writer,” she explains. “What appeals to you? What types of subjects you like to read about? This will propel you to understand what sorts of subject areas you would be good at writing about.”

Mercy's Halima celebrates a birth and the unity that, eventually, comes through the power of love, and pain of tragedy, to two families from opposing cultures. When the book was first announced in 2008, clashes between Muslim and Ch…

VitabuBooks Review

I think AllGov.com had one of the best headlines for the news of the day: A New Nation is Born: What is South Sudan? AllGov dot com, which provides up-to-date news about more than 300 branches of the United States government, had a good primer on the new East African nation and led its July 9 entry with a cheerleader.   

"American sports fans", allgov said, "may recognize the names of professional basketball players Luol Deng and Manute Bol, both of whom were born in what is now South Sudan and starred in the National Basketball Association."

Chicago Bulls star Luol Deng may miss out for Great Britain, according to the BBC, but Deng's role in his new 'old' country is not in doubt.
Like Deng, Manute Bol, who died a year ago this June, returned to his homeland, and he wanted to do everything he could to see southern Sudan make it through. During a fundraising drive, Manute said that he spent much of the money he made during his 10-year NBA career (an es…