April’s most read Reviews and General posts
one from #Present | & one from our archives – #Past
(click the images to read)
Festivals, Salons, & Conversations | Readings – Books, Journals & Mags | Performance, Visuals, Sounds | Awards & Congrats | Calls for… | And also on our radar…
Festivals, Salons & Conversations
The 10th annual international Igbo Conference ran 8-10 April, under the heading “A New Dawn: Rebirth, Renewal, Regeneration”:
All conference proceedings are available via the IgboConference YouTube channel, including book chat, storytelling and literary legacies, the “Achebe Challenge” with Andy Amadi Okoroa, as well as the refiguring of colonial archives, and the re-centering of healthy values – a discussion with novelist Okey Ndibe.
“As we consider the global challenges presented by Covid-19, and as we edge towards the end of this period of immense disruption and transformation, we wanted to utilise this moment to consider the possibilities for renewal, regeneration and rebirth. We have invited our speakers to draw on a range of historical periods or forms of cultural expression from within the Igbo context to provide insight into how Igbo people have fared with and re-emerged from episodes of change.”
Igbo Conference 2021 – Welcome.
The Abuja Writers Forum have held open a monthly virtual platform called “The AWFLinkUp” since February, to encourage creative writing and facilitate the growth of the book industry. April’s session was on Writers’ Groups, a vital spring and support for new writing, and instrumental in enabling the social kinds of creative-critical thinking that literature can offer.
#ConnectAfrica is a group of scholars who work on African literary and cultural studies and are located in the Northeast USA. Speaking with Brittle Paper, according to Prof. Shringapure, “…this edition of the event is designed like “an exhibit so we glean all kinds of info on new books in this dynamic and ever-growing field…
“As you know, so many book launches got lost to covid. I decided to create a format that resembles an exhibit so we glean all kinds of info on new books in this dynamic and ever-growing field. I know also that people are so fed up long zoom conferences and so you can come and go as you wish during this event. We’re allocating 30 minutes to two scholars and have 9 such “lightning rounds.”
We were super excited for this literary salon with poet Romeo Oriogun, reading from his work, and in conversation with Tolu Daniel…
Our latest Q&A was with award-winning Oriogun, published on April 30th – you can find it here:
Our review of Oriogun’s Sacrament of Bodies, written for us by Tikondwe Kaphagawani Chimkowola, can be read here:
“Here’s My Body, Take it!”
“Romeo Oriogun’s Sacrament of Bodies (2020) opens with a quote from Kazim Ali that mourns, “in one place everyone looks like me – has my name – I am the most foreign”. This longing for belonging complements the title of the book and refutes the notion of the uniformity of human bodies…”
The final installment of ACCUTE’s Pandemic Webinar Series (#4), titled “Poetry and Impermanence”, featured Nduka Otiono and Uchechukwu Umezurike’s edited anthology Wreaths for a Wayfarer, a special collection of poems which features 127 contributors from Africa, as well as from writers around the world:
This reflective workshop with the editors and contributors to Wreaths followed our two posts about the book – published in honour of writer, academic, beloved mentor and esteemed public intellectual Pius Adesanmi, who lost his life in the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash of 2019:
Edited by Nduka Otiono and longtime AiW contributor Uchechukwu Umezurike, this superb anthology of commissioned poems features 127 contributors from Africa – including 3 contributions from our very own Reviews Editor, Wesley Macheso (‘Tears on Canvas’, ‘Nausea’ and ‘This Easter’) – as well as from writers around the world – in Asia, Europe and North America, a range testament to the reach and touch of Adesanmi’s life and work, and his great loss to the global African Studies community. ..
With our great thanks to the editors for this insight into the book and the event, as well as their permissions to share some of the poems from Wreaths here…
And a wonderful Words on the Times Q&A with Nduka Otiono:
Nduka’s rich and thoughtful answers offer a moving and in-depth insight into the production and distribution of Wreaths as the pandemic began to hit last year, as well as to the World Poetry Day event detailed in yesterday’s post. Enjoy!
Readings – Books, Journals & Mags
The cover for Nnedi Okorafor’s forthcoming African Futurist novel Noor was just revealed, and it’s a beauty!
The Journal of African Cultural Studies (JACS) opened access in the month of April for their latest special edition ‘The Possibilities and Intimacies of Queer African Screen Cultures’.
Thirteen years after he started writing it, TJ Benson’s debut novel The Madhouse has finally arrived. The book is set in the 1990s and is a dazzling story of a Nigerian family. The Madhouse can be purchased here from Penguin Books South Africa.
The Boston Review has published Binyavanga Wainaina’s first published piece of fiction, “Binguni!” (1996), which was thought to have been lost. Twenty-five years after it debuted, it is now available to be read here.
Performance, Visuals, Sounds
The Seattle Black Film Festival was presented virtually from April 16 – 26 April 2021.
“LANGSTON cultivates Black brilliance. Not just through their annual Seattle Black Film Festival but also presenting year round theatrical and cultural events, often in partnership with other exceptional organizations (Wa Na Wari, Central District Forum for Art and Ideas, Northwest African American Museum, and many more), they are one of many outstanding organizations who are leading by centering Black voices.”
Check out our Words on the Times with Prof. Frimpong, at the foot of his review of Wole Soyinka’s Beyond Aesthetics, where he discusses this work, investigating popular media genres in Ghana including cartoons, hiplife music, and hand-painted visual works, as well as the ways the pandemic affected plans….
Awards & Congrats
Congratulations Yomi Sode! We’re looking forward to reading Manorism in 2022.
Congrats to Rémy Ngamije (and all) shortlisted for the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.
Congratulations Joshua Chizoma for winning the 2020 Awele Creative Trust Award.
Longlist to shortlist! Congrats to Yaa Gyasi whose novel Transcendent Kingdom has been shortlisted for the 2021 Women’s Prize for Fiction.
Congrats to Niq Mhlongo whose collection Joburg Noir won the NIHSS award for ‘Best Fiction Edited Volume’. Fools Gold, compiled by Arja Salafranca, was also shortlisted.
A number of Calls for submissions that may be of interest to our readers…
Submissions are still open for the African Writers Awards – deadline 31 May:
Since 2018, Writers Space Africa in partnership with the African Writers Development Trust, has held the annual African Writers Awards as the highpoint of the African Writers Conference.
For 2021, we are delighted to announce a call for submission for the African Writers Awards under the theme: The Future of Africa. We accept submissions to the following categories:
- Poetry (Structured or unstructured) – 1 poem per entry
- Creative Non-Fiction (1,500 words maximum)
- Drama (6 acts maximum)
This call will run from 1st February until 31st May 2021.
A cash prize of $100 will be awarded to each winner along with a certificate.
You’re allowed to submit one entry and to only one category.
All submissions must be in English.
The author retains copyright.
LOATAD – open call for Ghanaian WomanFest. N.B. This is a women-only writing residency for Ghanaian women writers. Deadline for submissions: 23 May, 2021.
For more about the Festival and to apply – see the Google form.
And a revisit to the Nyabola Prize for Science and Speculative Fiction in partnership with Mabati-Cornell – because submissions are still open… Deadline end May.
And also on our radar…
Some tweets from a range unfolding across social media around the fire that swept down Table Mountain in Cape Town on Sunday 18th April.
And finally – icymi…
… celebrating a happy blog birthday with the tireless JamesMurua.com!
Thank you all for reading, and for being here with us! If there’s anything you’d like to see featured on the site, or if you’d like to connect up and we can help, in any way – don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our Contact Us page has all the details you need, or catch us on our SMs.