Art & LifeBooksBook Review: Guns, oil and tenderness


Posted on Friday, 09 January 2015 16:50

Book Review: Guns, oil and tenderness

By A. Igoni Barrett - Author

Igoni Barrett. Photo©Unoma GieseStart off the new year with a work of contemplative mastery: The Alphabet of Birds by SJ Naude, out in January, explores tenderness, grief and asks what it means to truly belong.

These award-winning short stories written in Afrikaans now appear in English thanks to subscription-based publisher And Other Stories.

Liberian writer Johnny Dwyer tells the story of former president Charles Taylor's dashing but devastating son Chucky – and, through it, Liberia's troubled love affair with the US – in American Warlord (Knopf ) out in April.

The second edition of Imagine Africa (Archipelago) comes out in 2015, full of strong writing – both old and new – from literary greats such as Mozambique's Mia Couto and Wole Soyinka.

Former BBC correspondent Celeste Hicks delves into the issues behind oil production in countries including Chad, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Niger in Africa's New Oil (Zed Books), out in June.

The Caine Prize winner is announced in July, as is the winner of the Kwani? Manuscript Project, and Kenya's Storymoja Festival is in September. ●

I recently finished the final draft of my first novel, to be published in 2015, an extract of which was included in the Bloomsbury anthology Africa39. I'm looking forward to Jowhor Ile's debut novel And After Many Days. This novel is set in Port Harcourt during a restive season that I lived through, and I trust Jowhor's emotional intelligence enough to revisit this period of my life through his story. Also excerpted in Africa39 was Lola Shoneyin's Harlot. The narrator's voice is arresting, seductive, resilient. And the story promises to thrill." ● A. Igoni Barret

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