From New Daughters of Africa to The Other Americans: 11 New Releases for 2019

by - 15:11

Waterstones TCR. Photo: Mine.

I was doing my usual sweep of the internet - catching up on what is happening in the world of literature and beyond - when I saw a tweet by Laila Lalami with the cover of her forthcoming book, The Other Americans. The Moor's Account is up there as one of my favourite books (I would go as far as saying it would be in my top 10 of books) - so obviously I was excited to see this tweet. 

Laila Lalami's new book then got me thinking about some of the new releases for 2019, and specifically some of the books being published by women's writers. A more comprehensive list soon come - as there are so many exciting books out next year. For now, here are 11 books from women writers to look forward to in 2019. Also, looks like March is going to be an expensive month for some of us - with 6 of these new releases scheduled for then.

Children of Virtue and Vengeance is the stunning sequel to Tomi Adeyemi's New York Times bestselling debut Children of Blood and Bone, the first title in her Legacy of Orïsha trilogy.

After battling the impossible, Zélie and Amari have finally succeeded in bringing magic back to the land of Orïsha. But the ritual was more powerful than they could've imagined, reigniting the powers of not only the maji, but of nobles with magic ancestry, too. 

Now, Zélie struggles to unite the maji in an Orïsha where the enemy is just as powerful as they are. But when the monarchy and military unite to keep control of Orïsha, Zélie must fight to secure Amari's right to the throne and protect the new maji from the monarchy's wrath.

With civil war looming on the horizon, Zélie finds herself at a breaking point: she must discover a way to bring the kingdom together or watch as Orïsha tears itself apart.

This major new international anthology celebrates the work of women of African descent, captures their continuing contributions, and charts a contemporary literary landscape as never before. A glorious portrayal of the richness and range of the singular and combined accomplishments of more than 200 contributors, New Daughters of Africa showcases their global sweep, diversity and achievements while also testifying to a wealth of genres: autobiography, memoir, letters, short stories, novels, poetry, drama, humour, journalism, essays and speeches.

Following up Margaret Busby’s landmark 1992 anthology Daughters of Africa, this companion volume brings together the words of writers from across the globe—Antigua to Zimbabwe, Angola to the USA—to honour a unifying heritage while showing the remarkable range of creativity from the African diaspora particularly in the past 25 years. Arranged chronologically, New Daughters of Africa illustrates an uplifting sense of sisterhood and the links that endure from generation to generation, as well as common obstacles writers still negotiate around issues of race, gender and class.

New Daughters of Africa features key figures and popular contemporaries, as well as overlooked historical authors and today’s new and emerging writer.

From the Pulitzer Prize finalist, author of The Moor's Account - a timely and powerful new novel about the suspicious death of a Moroccan immigrant that is at once a family saga, a murder mystery, and a love story, all of it informed by the treacherous fault lines of American culture.

Late one spring night, Driss Guerraoui, a Moroccan immigrant in California, is walking across a darkened intersection when he is killed by a speeding car. The repercussions of his death bring together a diverse cast of characters: Guerraoui's daughter Nora, a jazz composer who returns to the small town in the Mojave she thought she'd left for good; his widow Maryam, who still pines after her life in the old country; Efraín, an undocumented witness whose fear of deportation prevents him from coming forward; Jeremy, an old friend of Nora's and a veteran of the Iraq war; Coleman, a detective who is slowly discovering her son's secrets; Anderson, a neighbour trying to reconnect with his family; and the murdered man himself.

As the characters--deeply divided by race, religion or class--tell their stories, connections among them emerge, even as Driss's family confronts its secrets, a town faces its hypocrisies, and love, messy and unpredictable, is born.

From the award-winning author of Dust comes a vibrant, stunning coming-of-age novel about a young woman struggling to find her place in a vast world--a poignant exploration of fate, mortality, love, and loss.

On the island of Pate, off the coast of Kenya, lives solitary, stubborn Ayaana and her mother, Munira. When a sailor named Muhidin, also an outsider, enters their lives, Ayaana finds something she has never had before: a father. But as Ayaana grows into adulthood, forces of nature and history begin to reshape her life and the island itself--from a taciturn visitor with a murky past to a sanctuary-seeking religious extremist, from dragonflies to a tsunami, from black-clad kidnappers to cultural emissaries from China. Ayaana ends up embarking on a dramatic ship's journey to the Far East, where she will discover friends and enemies; be seduced by the charming but unreliable scion of a powerful Turkish business family; reclaim her devotion to the sea; and come to find her own tenuous place amid a landscape of beauty and violence and surprising joy. 

Told with a glorious lyricism and an unerring sense of compassion, The Dragonfly Sea is a transcendent story of adventure, fraught choices, and of the inexorable need for shelter in a dangerous world.

Influenced by the mysterious place gingerbread holds in classic children’s stories – equal parts wholesome and uncanny; from the tantalising witch’s house in Hansel and Gretel to the man-shaped confection who one day decides to run as fast as he can – beloved novelist Helen Oyeyemi invites readers into a delightful tale of a surprising family legacy, in which the inheritance is a recipe.

Perdita Lee may appear your average British schoolgirl; Harriet Lee may seem just a working mother trying to penetrate the school social hierarchy; but there are signs that they might not be as normal as they think they are. For one thing, they share a gold-painted, seventh-floor flat with some surprisingly verbal vegetation. And then there’s the gingerbread they make. Londoners may find themselves able to take or leave it, but it’s very popular in Druhástrana, the far-away (and, according to Wikipedia, non-existent) land of Harriet Lee’s early youth. In fact, the world’s truest lover of the Lee family gingerbread is Harriet’s charismatic childhood friend, Gretel Kercheval – a figure who seems to have had a hand in everything (good or bad) that has happened to Harriet since they met.

Years later, when teenaged Perdita sets out to find her mother’s long-lost friend, it prompts a new telling of Harriet’s story, as well as a reunion or two. As the book follows the Lees through encounters with jealousy, ambition, family grudges, work, wealth, and real estate, gingerbread seems to be the one thing that reliably holds a constant value. Endlessly surprising and satisfying, written with Helen Oyeyemi’s inimitable style and imagination, Gingerbread is a true feast for the reader.

An electrifying debut from the winner of the 2015 Caine Prize for African writing.

On the banks of the Zambezi River, a few miles from the majestic Victoria Falls, there was once a colonial settlement called The Old Drift. Here begins the epic story of a small African nation, told by a mysterious swarm-like chorus that calls itself man’s greatest nemesis. The tale? A playful panorama of history, fairytale, romance and science fiction. The moral? To err is human.

In 1904, in a smoky room at the hotel across the river, an Old Drifter named Percy M. Clark, foggy with fever, makes a mistake that entangles the fates of an Italian hotelier and an African busboy. This sets off a cycle of unwitting retribution between three Zambian families (black, white, brown) as they collide and converge over the course of the century, into the present and beyond. As the generations pass, their lives – their triumphs, errors, losses and hopes – form a symphony about what it means to be human. 

From a woman covered with hair and another plagued with endless tears, to forbidden love affairs and fiery political ones, to homegrown technological marvels like Afronauts, microdrones and viral vaccines – this gripping, unforgettable novel sweeps over the years and the globe, subverting expectations along the way. Exploding with color and energy, The Old Drift is a testament to our yearning to create and cross borders, and a meditation on the slow, grand passage of time.

Girl, Woman, Other follows the lives and struggles of twelve very different characters. Mostly women, black and British, they tell the stories of their families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years.

Joyfully polyphonic and vibrantly contemporary, this is a gloriously new kind of history, a novel of our times: celebratory, ever-dynamic and utterly irresistible.

In addition, there are books are coming out in 2019, but still waiting on covers and for some the exact publication date.
Irenosen Okojie has a short story collection, Nudibranch, to be published in November 2019 with Dialogue Books (and a novel, Curandera, which will follow in spring 2020). As reported in the Bookseller earlier this year, 
'Nudibranch' is Irenosen Okojie’s second collection of short stories, which focuses on "offbeat characters caught up in extraordinary situations". Such characters include a mysterious woman of the sea in search of love, who arrives on an island inhabited by eunuchs; dimensional-hopping monks, who, navigating a season of silence face a bloody reckoning in the ruins of an abbey; and an aspiring journalist returning from a failed excursion in Sydney who becomes what she eats. A darker, Orwellian future is also imagined where oddly detached children arrive in cycles and prove to be dangerous in unfamiliar surroundings.

There’s also In The Palace of Flowers by Victoria Princewill, which will be published by Cassava Republic; 
Set in Iran at the end of the 19th Century in the Persian royal court of the Qajars, 'In The Palace of Flowers' is an atmospheric debut in the tradition of Kamila Shamsie, Laila Lalami, Jessie Burton and Elif Shafak. 
Jamila, an African slave, stands at the funeral of a Persian nobleman, watching the rites with empty eyes. In that very particular moment, she realises that her life will never be acknowledged or mourned with the same significance. The fear of being forgotten, of being irrelevant, sets her and Abimelech, a fellow Abyssinian slave and a eunuch, on a path to find meaning, navigating the dangerous and deadly politics of the royal court, both in the government and the harem, before leading her to the radicals that lie beyond its walls. 
Love, friendship and the bitter politics within the harem, the court and the Shah’s sons and advisors will define the fate of these two Abyssinian slaves. 
Enchanting and page-turning, 'In The Palace of Flowers' is a magnificent debut about the fear of being forgotten.
Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi will also be releasing her first full story collection, Manchester Happened, by Oneworld in May 2019 (called Let’s Tell this Story Properly in the US and will be published by Transit in July 2019). Also look out for Out of Darkness, Shining Light by Petina Gappah “about the last days of Scottish explorer and missionary, David Livingstone, as well as the journey of his body from Zambia back to England".

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