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Saturday, 31 October 2015

55 Years of Nigerian Literature: New Releases from Elnathan John and Abubakar Adam Ibrahim

... and with this comes the end of my celebration of art in Nigerian literature. I have had so much fun putting these posts together this year and showcasing all the amazing works. From Three Crown Books in the 1960s and Edel Rodriguez's amazing book covers for the reissue of Chinua Achebe's books to the many different covers of Things Fall Apart and the gorgeous, gorgeous illustrations of Nigerian artists including Alaba OnajinOnyinye Iwu and Karo Akpokiere.

I know there's a lot more I could have looked at, and the end of this celebratory month does not mean an end of my celebration of art in Nigerian literature and beyond. Still, I do hope you have enjoyed this series on art and literature as much as I have, and see you again same time next year for my month dedicated to Nigerian literature. For now, I leave you with two new releases from the North of Nigeria - debut novels from Elnathan John and Abubakar Adam Ibrahim. As Ibrahim says in a recent interview, 'there are not enough stories from the North of Nigeria [leading to a] perpetuation of stereotypes of the people who live in this part of the country', which is why I'm really excited for these two new releases.

First up is Elnathan John's much awaited debut novel, Born on a Tuesday, published by Cassava Republic  and out next month. 

Dantala lives in Bayan Layi, Nigeria and studies in a Sufi Quaranic school. By chance he meets gang leader Banda, a nominal Muslim. Dantala is thrust into a world with fluid rules and casual violence. In the aftermath of presidential elections he runs away and ends up living in a Salafi mosque. Slowly and through the hurdles of adolescence, he embraces Salafism as preached by his new benefactor, Sheikh Jamal. Dantala falls in love with Sheikh's daughter, Aisha and tries to court her within the acceptable limits of a conservative setting. All the while, Sheikh struggles to deal with growing Jihadist extremism within his own ranks.

This novel explore life, love, friendship, loss and the effects of extremist politics and religion on everyday life in Northern Nigeria.


Then there's Abubakar Adam Ibrahim's, Season of Crimson Blossoms, published by Parresia (also out in November) about 'a fifty-something year old widow and her explicit relationship with a twenty-year old weed dealer and political thug'. As Ibrahim explains, the novel explores all the dynamics that a relationship of this nature can throw up, while situating it within the social and religious context in which the story is set. This interview goes into more detail of this story about a widow who wants to explore her sexual side in Northern Nigeria.  
Image via Parresia's Facebook page

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