Saturday, December 21, 2013

More 'amaBooks titles available in South Africa through Mega Books


Bryony Rheam's novel 'This September Sun', John Eppel's collection of stories and poems 'White Man Crawling' and 'Intwasa Poetry', which features poets who have read at the Intwasa Arts Festival koBulawayo, are now available in South Africa through the website

The books join other 'amaBooks titles already on the website - 'Long Time Coming: Short Writings from Zimbabwe', 'Where to Now?: Short Stories from Zimbabwe', Christopher Mlalazi's 'Dancing with Life: Tales from the Township' and Pathisa Nyathi's 'Zimbabwe's Cultural Heritage'.


Monday, December 2, 2013

A Memory This Size: The Caine Prize Anthology 2013 reviewed

“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold,” said WB Yeats in his poem The Second Coming, his words famously echoed in the title of Chinua Achebe’s groundbreaking 1958 novel. But does the centre still hold? Is Western tradition still the centre, for literature, after all?

At first inspection – and bearing in mind that NoViolet Bulawayo’s Booker-nominated We Need New Names and Nigeria’s acclaimed Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s latest novel, Americanah are both set in the States – the reader might think America is some kind of axis for the African imagination. Three of the five shortlisted stories are directly concerned with America. However, read on and you soon discover the majority of themes are tied to home soil. Even so, “[p]eople have a way of getting lost in America,” fears a mother in the story titled America. “America has a way of stealing our good ones from us. When America calls, they go.”

This year’s Caine Prize was not without controversy. Things turned nasty after Adichie said in an interview that she wasn’t interested in the Caine collection, and didn’t think it’s where you’d find the best African writing. Shortlistee Abubakar Adam Ibrahim responded with a swift “F*ck you” on Twitter, while Elnathan John revealed perhaps more than he should have of his feelings towards Adichie on his blog.

A Memory This Size and Other Stories consists of the five stories shortlisted for the 2013 Caine Prize – all of exceptional quality – as well as 12 new, specially produced stories created at this year’s Caine Prize workshop in Uganda.

First prize went to Tope Folarin for Miracle, set in a Nigerian evangelical church in Texas. While I agree with one judge’s appraisal that Miracle is “a delightful and beautifully paced narrative, that is exquisitely observed and utterly compelling,” I prefer Pede Hollist’s Foreign Aid.

This story, of a man from Sierra Leone who emigrates to America and becomes fat on both fast food and on the worst of the values he finds there, was filled with the same cynicism as the winning story, but with perhaps even more dark humour. In this account of the protagonist’s return to his native “Salone”, a “Louis Vuitton fanny pack” of dollars strapped to his waist, we are shown what happens when a man behaves like a tourist in his home country. While the writer pokes fun at certain American ways, he does not shy away from illustrating Sierra Leone’s problems.

Abubakar Adam Ibrahim’s The Whispering Trees contains elements of magic realism. A young man, dead but not dead, blinded by the accident that killed him but didn’t, emerges from the hell of depression able to see the souls of people and objects. The protagonist’s bad behaviour, in the darkest period of his blindness, held for me flashes of Orhan Pamuk. I love this story, but Ibrahim’s workshop story, The Book of Remembered Things, also included in the anthology, I love more. It deals with religious disbelief, but also zeal. It is a sensitive, moving portrayal of one family’s love, hate and hurt, and ways of protecting, that will stay with me for a long time.

Bayan Layi, by Elnathan John, is a brilliant and terrifying story of children running wild; boys without hope, without love, that speak the language of violence and of killing. I was impressed by the writer’s ability to make you warm to the protagonist, even though the child is someone you’d hate to meet in person. John’s characters are striking and complex.
Perhaps my favourite was Chinelo Okparanta’s America, in which a young Nigerian teacher, who dreams of being an environmental engineer, follows her lover to America. It is a poignant love story in which we are reminded that there are trickier places than America to be gay. The protagonist explains to the visa interviewer that she wants to go to America to study environmental engineering so that she can learn about recent oils spills in the US and how to apply the lesson in the Niger Delta.

The story speaks of some form of restitution. If, for centuries, colonial powers tapped Africa of its natural resources, with little regard for environmental impact, perhaps they can at least pass on knowledge of how to deal with environmental disaster today.
The second section of the collection, the workshop stories, holds some brilliant work, and some of a less polished standard. The short story is a difficult form for the new(er) writer, and especially endings can be elusive. This is clear from the weaker stories, which are sabotaged by their endings more than anything else. Yet there is no shortage of excellent writing in the workshop section.

Wazha Lopang’s The Strange Dance of the Calabash is a delightful dig at patriarchy and arranged marriage. Melissa Tandiwe Myambo’s Blood Guilt is an ironic, chilling but darkly humorous account of post-liberation atrocity. Hellen Nyana’s Chief Mourner deserves special mention for its pathos and focus on relationships. Rotimi Babatunde’s Howl is a wonderful piece of satire and magic realism. Stanley Onjezani Kenani’s haunting Clapping Hands for a Smiling Crocodile deals with environmental concerns. And Elnathan Johns’ A Memory This Size is magnificent piece of work. As it happens, John’s bio reads that he has “tried hard, but has never won anything.”
I’m willing to bet that last part will change.

Published in Zimbabwe by amaBooks, Bulawayo

Reviewed by Maya Fowler, who is a writer, editor and translator.

This review first appeared in the Cape Times in November 2013

Saturday, November 9, 2013

'Together' reviewed by Mbongeni Malaba in the English Academy Review

Combining the poems and short stories of the late Julius Chingono and John Eppel, the book, Together, focuses principally on the trials and tribulations of Zimbabweans during the last decade or so. Chingono read his poetry at the Poetry International Festival in the Netherlands and at Poetry Africa in Durban.

The title, Together, resonates with significance: the racially charged atmosphere that has characterized the politics of the country since the land invasions is one of the recurrent themes, as is the descent into lawlessness. Yet, respectively, the writers provide interesting and valuable insights into the plight of the poor, dispossessed and marginalized. The horrific brutality of the politically motivated violence that has plagued the nation is exposed; the vulnerability of those made destitute by Operation Murambatsvina is foregrounded, as is the self-serving nature of the elite. The struggle for a dignified existence on the part of blacks and whites living in Mashonaland and Matabeleland is highlighted in the poems and stories that challenge the docility of many Zimbabweans; the authors champion the decency and courage of those who reach out to serve those worse off than themselves, regardless of race; and they celebrate those who are willing to stand up and be counted, whilst defending the principles they live by. 

The two writers, curiously, were born within a year of each other. Chingono spent most of his working life as a rock blaster in the mines, the same profession as that of Eppel’s father. Both authors have a great sense of humour, which reflects Zimbabweans’ strategy of coping with hardship; both have a keen eye for the lighter side of life, as well. Chingono’s style is more direct, Eppel’s is often consciously literary, but between them, they take seriously the African artists’ roles as the voice of the voiceless, as the chroniclers of their age.

Mbongeni Malaba
English Department
University of KwaZulu-Natal
South Africa

from: English Academy Review 29 (7) 2012
© The English Academy of Southern Africa

Friday, October 18, 2013

Authors, Publishers, Techprenuers Converge In Byo

From the Financial Gazette 17 October 2013

by Admire Kudita

“There have been dramatic changes in the publishing industry over the last few years due to new technology and it is important that writers are aware of the different ways in which they can publish their work in order to make an informed decision. publishersThere are many factors to consider and what may suit one writer may not be the best approach for another,” said Jane Morris of amaBooks Publishers, an independent publishing house, at a recently held workshop at Selbourne Hotel in Bulawayo.
The meeting which saw about fifty established and aspiring writers converge at the local hotel, was held under the auspices of the major arts festival and funded by the British Council. This would be the third time that the workshops have been run in as many years. The workshop weighed the pros and cons of traditional and self-publishing. Traditional publishing has its advantages of allowing the author to concentrate on their core competency: writing, and has no financial risk accruing to the writer.These benefits are juxtaposed against those of self-publishing in that authors have creative autonomy,control, less bureaucracy and a larger percentage of the profit.
The last few years have witnessed a number of developments that are altering the publishing landscape. These are eBooks which are read on e-readers and devices such as Kindle and other cutting edge communication devices, on demand printing, short run printing, Amazon shorts (short books) and importantly, crowd-funding. Interestingly, there are also innovations that enable eBook authors to receive feedback from readers. 
At the workshop it was my honour to meet a very smart Zimbogeek called Tafadzwa Makura from Harare. Okay, here is why he deserves mention on this platform: the tech wiz is the conceptualiser of Mazwi. Mazwi is a ‘revolutionary platform’ built around a simple application. It is an all in one mobile book market place that lets local writers and publishers share and sell stories in digital form directly to mobile devices. 
The groundbreaking innovation was conceived to help mitigate the increasing costs of printing, distribution and marketing for writers and publishers in emerging markets. 
“We are making premium local stories from local writers and publishers available to over a billion mobile internet users across the world on most mobile devices for a fraction of the cost. We are calling it a revolution because it is,” states the Mazwi innovators.
The system works like this: authors and publishers approach Mazwi and sign agreements that allow them to submit final drafts for uploading on to the Mazwi server. Book lovers can download the Mazwi app for free   to their phones, tablets and computers. They can then pay for the book via Ecocash, PayPal and Visa after which it is downloadable to the  communication device. The seller takes 30 percent and the rest goes to the author or copyright holder. Potential uses for the app is in e-learning, literacy programmes and digital libraries among others. Currently, the content partners of the company are Weaver Publishers (the local publishers of NoViolet Bulawayo), amaBooks and Innov8. The institutional and technological partners of the company are British Council, Alliance Francaise, biNu, iWayAfrica, TechZim and Worldreader.
Significantly, the diffusion of innovations i.e. the internet, smart phones and tablets has impacted negatively on the market for printed books. Rather than ignore the reality, authors and publishers are  being given an opportunity to adapt and profit from platforms such as Mazwi.
How extensively and speedily the innovation diffuses into the targeted emerging world markets will have a lot to do with the activation and sustenance of the reading culture of peoples in those same markets.
To my mind, the Mazwi application, being downloadable free of charge to mobile communication devices just like the popular Whatsapp application, is a sterling example of the creativity of Zimbabweans in meeting contemporary challenges.
Interested authors, publishers and book lovers can access the platform on

Saturday, October 12, 2013

This September Sun reviewed in The English Academy Review

This September Sun

Dr Thabisani Ndlovu, of the International Human Rights Exchange at the University of the Witwatersrand, reviews Bryony Rheam's novel This September Sun in the
English Academy Review: Southern African Journal of English Studies, Volume 30, Issue 2, 2013.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

A Memory This Size: The Caine Prize for African Writing 2013 reviewed in the Financial Gazette

Kaleidoscope Of Adventures, Experiences From Africa

Diana Rodrigues 3 Oct 2013
Fame may be the spur for many of Zimbabwe’s aspiring and established writers, but the Caine Prize for African Writing offers winning authors not only book readings, book signings and press releases, but prize money worth GBP10 000. The first prize giving ceremony for this prestigious award took place in Harare in 2000, at the Zimbabwe International Book Fair, when the winner was Leila Aboulela, who grew up in Khartoum. In 2004 Bulawayo-born Brian Chikwava won the coveted prize for his short story Seventh Street Alchemy, and in 2011 NoViolet Bulawayo was declared winner for Hitting Budapest.
Established in 2000, the same year as The Caine Prize, amaBooks, an independent Bulawayo publisher, opened its doors to budding and published writers, with the intention of promoting creative writing not only in Bulawayo but throughout Zimbabwe and the region. Their latest offering is an anthology of stories shortlisted for the Caine Prize 2013, entitled A Memory this Size and Other Stories, a volume that includes this year’s winning contribution, Miracle, by Tope Folarin of Nigeria. Tales from the remaining short-listed writers make up the anthology and represent a kaleidoscope of experiences and adventures from Sierrra Leone, Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, Botswana and Zimbabwe.
Born in Utah and living in Washington DC, Folarin may not appear to be typically African — he describes himself as ‘a writer situated in the Nigerian diaspora’, and feels both American and African. If the judges and chair of the prize committee, Gus Casely-Hayford, felt any qualms about awarding the prize to Folarin, the light touch, narrative skill and humour in the story of a young man singled out by a Nigerian holy man for healing in an evangelical church in Texas, convinced them that he was a worthy winner.
Nigerian Rotimi Babatunde who lives in Ibadan, and won last year’s Caine Prize for Bombay’s Republic, the tale of a veteran who ‘went to Hitler’s War as a man and came back a spotted leopard’, was shortlisted this year for Howl, the tale of a puppy called Jack ‘that had a baby’s eyes’ and improbably grew up to be a paediatrician.
Yet another Nigerian writer, Elnathan John, made the Caine Prize short list, so it would appear that Nigeria sets great store by literature, values its writers and provides fertile ground for creative writing. Trained as a lawyer, Elnathan lives in Abuja. When he’s not writing short stories he dispenses free legal and social aid through his project, Legal Aid. His shortlisted story, Bayan Layi, is about a gang of street kids who fight, take drugs and ‘boast about the people they have killed’.
Short-listed author Chinelo Okparanta was born in Port Harcourt, the chief oil refining city in Nigeria and is familiar with the petroleum industry. In the short story America, her protagonist, who is a science teacher, laments the damage the oil industry has wrought on the ecosystem. Fishermen in Gio Creek fail to catch any fish, but come out of the water ‘harvesting Shell oil on their bodies’. Okparanta has a deft and easy way with words as she describes the science teacher’s enduring love affair with another woman and her parents’ disappointment that they will be without grand children, her ambition to study environmental engineering in America, and vivid insights into the customs, food and people of Nigeria.
Zimbabwean Melissa Myambo is once again short-listed for the Caine Prize, this time for Blood Guilt, a complex psychological story of a liberation war matriarch known as Gogo, whose authority and family are threatened when a damaging video of her interrogation of her ex-comrade Beatrix ‘goes viral’.
Also on the short list again this year is Malawian Stanley Kenani who is an accountant for The Lilongwe Water Board. An avid reader of fiction, whenever he is not ensuring the smooth running of the utility company he works for, he is writing poetry, working on a novel entitled The Auditor, or dreaming about the plot of the next short story to win the Caine Prize. This year’s entry, Clapping Hands for a Smiling Crocodile, describes the perils involved when a government official forces a fishing village on the shores of Lake Malawi to allow an oil drilling company access to the ‘shimmering waters’ of the lake.
amaBooks and other Zimbabwean publishers are seeing the fruits of their efforts, as the country’s literacy rate improves and an increasing number of local writers are encouraged to hone their writing skills and give free rein to their creativity.
Reproduced from the Financial Gazette

A Memory This Size: The Caine Prize for African Writing 2013 is available in Zimbabwe from:
in Harare - National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Grassroots Xarra at the Book Cafe and Avondale Bookshop
in Bulawayo - National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Induna Arts, Tendele Crafts, BooksEtc, Indaba Book Cafe, Z&N Bookshop

Saturday, September 28, 2013

More amaBooks as ebooks

Books from the amaBooks backlist have now been added to the list of titles available as ebooks through the African Books Collective.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

NoViolet Bulawayo Comes Home to Bulawayo

The launch of NoViolet Bulawayo’s debut novel ‘We Need New Names’ at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo on September 17 was a memorable occasion. It had been a long while since the gallery had hosted such a crowd, with over 300 people packing into the courtyard to welcome NoViolet home and to hear her in conversation with Dr Drew Shaw of the National University of Science and Technology. To use NoViolet’s words:
'Bulawayo came out proper with a crowd of close to 300, i'm made to understand, and gave me the launch of my dreams even as i had been told that folks in the City of Kings don't come out much anymore. very honored by the presence of many people i admire, and the many i do not know, who saw me worthy of their time and ears and hearts. then there was Ericah Gwetai (mother of the late Yvonne Vera, who found me in a room before the launch and sang me a song, dlala nkazana ). if you see me walk like i own the earth, forgive me because i'm suffering from too much love, from a small, proud place that came out big to show me who they were, and who i was. that was not a launch, it was a baptism, and Bulawayo, blue eyed city you, home of my girlhood you, you Bulawayo, ngiyazendlala on your feet with gratitude, thank you kabanzikazi.'

The launch was organised by ’amaBooks Publishers, the British Council – Zimbabwe, the Intwasa Arts Festival koBulawayo and Bulawayo Agenda. The book is published by Weaver Press in Zimbabwe and distributed by ’amaBooks in Bulawayo.

The link to the soundcloud recording of NoViolet Bulawayo's conversation with Drew Shaw during the Bulawayo launch of We Need New Names is below.

Photographs courtesy of Lene Lauritsen and Intwasa Arts Festival koBulwayo

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Publishing and The Writer workshop at Intwasa

Intwasa Arts Festival koBulawayo, British Council Zimbabwe and amaBooks Publishers invite you to the workshop

Publishing and The Writer

Thursday 26 September 11.00- 13.00
Selborne Hotel, Bulawayo

An informal meeting of writers to discuss writing and publishing options, particularly in the light of new technologies. The meeting will include sharing of experiences and will be facilitated by Jane Morris and Brian Jones of amaBooks Publishers. 

All welcome.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

A busy week for literary Bulawayo

NoViolet Bulawayo at the Indaba Book Cafe in Bulawayo
The big event of the week is the hometown launch of NoViolet Bulawayo’s debut novel ‘We Need New Names’, at 5.30pm on Tuesday 17 September in the courtyard of the National Gallery in Bulawayo. The book has been long-listed for the Guardian First Book Award and short-listed for the Man Booker Prize. NoViolet is the first Zimbabwean, and the first Black African woman, to be shortlisted for the Man Booker, which has been one of the most prestigious literary awards for 42 years. The event, open to all, will feature readings by NoViolet as well as a conversation between NoViolet and Dr Drew Shaw of the National University of Science and Technology. The event is supported by amaBooks, British Council Zimbabwe, Bulawayo Agenda and Intwasa Arts Festival koBulawayo.
Earlier that day, NoViolet will facilitate a workshop for promising Bulawayo writers. The participants have been selected from those who have entered the Intwasa Short Story competition for the Yvonne Vera Award.
The next day, on Wednesday 18 September, there will be another literary event, at 5.30pm in the John Knight Cinema at the National Gallery. This time it will be a slide show presentation by Dr Drew Shaw, titled 'Looking back / Looking forward: Zimbabwean literature of the GNU period, 2009-2013', to be followed by discussion about whether or not we can see discernible trends in the national literature and critical studies of it in the last four years. As the title suggests, some literature casts its gaze back to earlier times, while other writing considers the contemporary situation or 'Where to Now?' (which is the title of one short story collection under discussion, published by amaBooks). On 29th June, Dr Shaw gave this presentation at the Britain Zimbabwe Society's 'Culture Without Borders' Research Day in Oxford and got interesting responses from Zimbabweans in the Diaspora. Now the idea is to get Zimbabwe-based perspectives as we continue the discussion.
At the same time on Wednesday, Susan Hubert will be launching her novel ‘Sabi Star’ at Déjà vu.

On Friday 20 September, at 5.30pm in the National Gallery, Styx Mhlanga will launch ‘Acting Exercises & Games for Drama Plays in Schools & Colleges’.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

NoViolet Bulawayo comes home

NoViolet Bulawayo comes home to Bulawayo to launch her debut novel We Need New Names.
The launch will take place on Tuesday 17 September at 5.30pm at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo. The event has been organised and supported by 'amaBooks Publishers, British Council Zimbabwe, Intwasa Arts Festival koBulawayo and Bulawayo Agenda. All are welcome to attend the launch, there is no admission charge. The book has been longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and has just been shortlisted for the prestigious Man Booker Prize. We Need New Names is published in Zimbabwe by Weaver Press and distributed in Bulawayo by 'amaBooks.
NoViolet was in Bulawayo a couple of weeks ago, meeting with Jane Morris and Brian Jones of 'amaBooks to discuss arrangements for her launch and other activities to promote an interest in literature in Bulawayo. Before the launch, NoViolet is to facilitate a workshop for promising writers from the city.
Her short story, Snapshots, was published in 2011 by 'amaBooks in the anthology Where to Now? Short Stories from Zimbabwe. The anthology was co-published with Parthian Books in the UK. The collection is being translated into isiNdebele and will be published by 'amaBooks later this year.
NoViolet is a past winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing and, for the last two years, 'amaBooks have published the Caine Prize anthology in Zimbabwe.

Monday, September 9, 2013

amaBooks titles from Mega Books in South Africa

Dancing with Life: Tales from the Township, Where to Now? Short Stories from Zimbabwe, Long Time Coming: Short Writings from Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe's Cultural Heritage are now available through print-on-demand from Mega Books. Other titles will follow soon.

Monday, August 12, 2013

amaBooks in Kenya for a Feast of Literature

In June, we, Jane Morris and Brian Jones, the two directors of ’amaBooks, a small independent publisher based in Bulawayo, visited the bustling city of Nairobi, to participate in a workshop for those involved in promoting literature, as well as a series of literary events.

Luckily when we arrived we didn’t have to battle through rush-hour traffic as this is a foolhardy pursuit if you want to reach your destination in a reasonable time, with matatus zigzagging crazily through the long traffic jams.

The programme in Kenya was devised to celebrate the British Council’s partnership with Granta, the UK’s leading literary magazine on their recent announcement of the “Best of Young British Novelists 4”.

For three consecutive decades Granta has selected 20 young writers who have shown exceptional promise on the British literary scene. As well as the British Council in Kenya, the other local partner in the programme was Kwani Trust, a Kenya-based literary network dedicated to developing quality creative writing.

Running in parallel with our workshop on “Promoting New Writers” was a fiction writing workshop. Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, the Zimbabwe representative, joined writers from Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda.

The young writers were able to interact with award-winning British writers Adam Foulds and Nadifa Mohamed (two of Granta’s ‘Best of Young British Novelists’), Granta’s Deputy Editor, Ella Allfrey and Kwani’s Managing Director Billy Kahora.
 Attending the workshop gave us the opportunity to interact with others involved on the literary scene from other African countries and we were particularly pleased to meet up with two of the co-publishers of our next book. Femrite from Uganda and Kwani in Kenya are also publishing the latest collection of short stories from the Caine Prize for African Writing 2013 – “A Memory This Size”. The book has just arrived from the printers and will be in Zimbabwe outlets shortly.

Another highlight was exchanging ideas with the representatives from the Port Harcourt Book Festival, a literary event that takes place every October in the city, referred to as the Garden City, in the Niger Delta. Port Harcourt has had the honour bestowed on it of being elected as the UNESCO World Book Capital for 2014, the first city in sub-Saharan African to be chosen. The organizers of the festival are actively involved in promoting a reading and writing culture.

The workshop gave each participant the opportunity to talk about their experience of events and one of the examples we shared was the launches we had organized for the most recent book in the short writings series “Where to Now? Short Stories from Zimbabwe”, which seemed to fit in well with the theme of the workshop of promoting new writers.

We have used each of the five books in the short writings series to introduce new writers to the Zimbabwean reading public, through including their work with those of more established writers. Because of the scattering of Zimbabwean writers, we, for the first time, launched the book in South Africa as well as in Zimbabwe.

The venue for the launch was the Writers’ Centre at Wits University, where three of the writers featured in the collection, Thabisani Ndlovu, Novuyo Rosa Tshuma and Sandisile Tshuma, read from their pieces and answered questions from the audience. The Zimbabwe launch of the anthology, during the Intwasa Arts Festival koBulawayo and held at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo, featured readings, as well as a live drawing by the artist Owen Maseko, based on the short story “Snapshots” by NoViolet Bulawayo.

The growing emphasis on the use of social media in attracting and maintaining audiences for literary events was a key part of the workshop. Kwani gave the example of publicizing their events using Twitter and the innovative method of people buying a book prior to a launch by using Mpesa, an East African payment method via cell phones.

After the workshop, we were treated to a variety of literary events organized to celebrate Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists, featuring readings and discussions with Adam Foulds, Nadifa Mohamed and Kenyan writers. Adam Foulds read from several of his books, including his narrative poem, “The Broken Word”, set in Kenya about the Mau Mau uprising.
Nadifa’s readings were mainly from “Black Mamba Boy”, her fictionalized account of her father’s early life in the Horn of Africa. The literary week ended with Granta, Kwani and British Council combining to stage the ‘Best of Young British Novelists 4 Sunday Salon’; on a balmy Sunday afternoon it was a fitting end to what had truly been a literary feast. 
The picture shows Ellah Allfrey, Nadifa Mohamed, Zukiswa Wanner, Adam Foulds and others.
– By Jane Morris and Brian Jones © Panorama Magazine 2013.

from Panorama Magazine (

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Caine Prize Anthology 2013 - A Memory This Size - published in Zimbabwe

'amaBooks has co-published the 2013 Caine Prize anthology. A Memory This Size, with six other African publishers - Jacana Media in South Africa, Cassava Republic in Nigeria, Kwani? in Kenya, FEMRITE in Uganda, Sub-Saharan Publishers in Ghana and Bookworld in Zambia - and with New Internationalist in the United Kingdom. The winner of the 2013 Caine Prize for African Writing was Tope Folarin of Nigeria with the story Miracle.

A chronically shortsighted young man finds himself the target of a preacher’s miracle cure… Despite his American street phrases and his fistful of dollars, a prodigal son’s visit to his Sierra Leone home does not go quite as planned… A medical student blinded in an accident seems to lose everything but soon learns what he has gained… Life on the edge for a gang of street boys paid to disrupt an election… An oil spill opens a path for a Nigerian teacher to join the woman she loves in the US…

The shortlisted stories for the 2013 Caine Prize – Africa’s leading literary prize – offer five arresting, diverse, provocative snapshots of a continent and its descendants captured at a time of accelerating change.
The shortlisted authors are:

Tope Folarin (Nigeria) for Miracle
Pede Hollist (Sierra Leone) for Foreign Aid
Abubakar Adam Ibrahim (Nigeria) for The Whispering Trees
Elnathan John (Nigeria) for Bayan Layi 
Chinelo Okparanta (Nigeria) America

In addition, 12 writers from six different African countries took part in the Caine Prize Writers’ Workshop, held this year in Uganda, where they each produced a special story for this volume. 

These 17 stories show yet again the richness and range of current writing on the continent. They underline the primacy of the short story, with its oral antecedents, at the very heart of African literature.

Africa’s most important literary award.’  International Herald Tribune
‘Dazzling and splendidly diverse.’  The Times, London