Wednesday, July 23, 2014


LONDON — Karen Joy Fowler and Joshua Ferris were among four American novelists who made it onto the 13-strong longlist of the 2014 Man Booker Prize, which for the first time is open to all novels originally written in English and published in Britain.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014



Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani was born in Enugu, Nigeria. She earned her very first income from winning a writing competition at the age of thirteen. As a teenager, she secretly dreamed of becoming a CIA or KGB spy. She ended up studying Psychology at the University of Ibadan instead. She lives in Abuja, Nigeria. I Do Not Come to You by Chance is her first novel. (Hyperion)

A deeply moving debut novel set amid the perilous world of Nigerian email scams, I Do Not Come to You by Chance tells the story of one young man and the family who loves him.
Being the opera of the family, Kingsley Ibe is entitled to certain privileges?a piece of meat in his egusi soup, a party to celebrate his graduation from university. As first son, he has responsibilities, too. But times are bad in Nigeria, and life is hard. Unable to find work, Kingsley cannot take on the duty of training his younger siblings, nor can he provide his parents with financial peace in their retirement. And then there is Ola. Dear, sweet Ola, the sugar in Kingsley?s tea. It does not seem to matter that he loves her deeply; he cannot afford her bride price.
It hasn?t always been like this. For much of his young life, Kingsley believed that education was everything, that through wisdom, all things were possible. Now he worries that without a ?long-leg??someone who knows someone who can help him?his degrees will do nothing but adorn the walls of his parents? low-rent house. And when a tragedy befalls his family, Kingsley learns the hardest lesson of all: education may be the language of success in Nigeria, but it?s money that does the talking.
Unconditional family support may be the way in Nigeria, but when Kingsley turns to his Uncle Boniface for help, he learns that charity may come with strings attached. Boniface?aka Cash Daddy?is an exuberant character who suffers from elephantiasis of the pocket. He?s also rumored to run a successful empire of email scams. But he can help. With Cash Daddy?s intervention, Kingsley and his family can be as safe as a tortoise in its shell. It?s up to Kingsley now to reconcile his passion for knowledge with his hunger for money, and to fully assume his role of first son. But can he do it without being drawn into this outlandish mileu? (Hyperion)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Looking Back at Nadine Gordimer's Life and Work

Accepting the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1991, Nadine Gordimer, the South African writer who died on Sunday at 90, said “I am what I suppose would be called a natural writer. I did not make any decision to become one. I did not, at the beginning, expect to earn a living by being read. I wrote as a child out of the joy of apprehending life through my senses — the look and scent and feel of things; and soon out of the emotions that puzzled me or raged within me and which took form, found some enlightenment, solace and delight, shaped in the written word.” (John Williams, New York Times)

Remembering Nadine Gordimer, a Lioness of Literary Activism

At 90 years of age, the South African writer Nadine Gordimer died Sunday, leaving behind a global legacy of both art and activism. “By the time she won the Nobel Prize in 1991, at age 68,” her obituary in The Mail and Guardian (South Africa) recalls, she had “10 novels, nearly 20 collections of stories or essays and innumerable pieces of journalism to her name.” (Jake Flanigin, New York Times)

Thursday, July 3, 2014

New Wave of African Writers With an Internationalist Bent

Black literary writers with African roots (though some grew up elsewhere), mostly young cosmopolitans who write in English, are making a splash in the book world. Read this article for some excellent reading suggestions:

Wednesday, July 2, 2014