A 2020 (African) Literary Calendar

by - 23:06


It's that time of year when I happily scour the internet for new releases for the next year - fully aware there are books I am yet to read from the current year. Still, with debuts and favourites returning, 2020 looks pretty exciting. Here are 30+ books for 2020 and 1 for 2021. PS. Click on images for more details and link to sources of the blurbs.





January 2020
Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi 
Ella has a Thing. She sees a classmate grow up to become a caring nurse. A neighbour's son murdered in a drive-by shooting. Things that haven't happened yet. Kev, born while Los Angeles burned around them, wants to protect his sister from a power that could destroy her. But when Kev is incarcerated, Ella must decide what it means to watch her brother suffer while holding the ability to wreck cities in her hands. 

Rooted in the hope that can live in anger, Riot Baby is as much an intimate family story as a global dystopian narrative. It burns fearlessly toward revolution and has quietly devastating things to say about love, fury, and the black American experience.



February 2020
Black Sunday by Tola Rotimi Abraham 
Twin sisters Bibike and Ariyike are enjoying a relatively comfortable life in Lagos in 1996. Then their mother loses her job due to political strife, and the family, facing poverty, becomes drawn into the New Church, an institution led by a charismatic pastor who is not shy about worshipping earthly wealth.
Soon Bibike and Ariyike’s father wagers the family home on a “sure bet” that evaporates like smoke. As their parents’ marriage collapses in the aftermath of this gamble, the twin sisters and their two younger siblings, Andrew and Peter, are thrust into the reluctant care of their traditional Yoruba grandmother. Inseparable while they had their parents to care for them, the twins’ paths diverge once the household shatters. Each girl is left to locate, guard, and hone her own fragile source of power.
Written with astonishing intimacy and wry attention to the fickleness of fate, Tola Rotimi Abraham’s Black Sunday takes us into the chaotic heart of family life, tracing a line from the euphoria of kinship to the devastation of estrangement. In the process, it joyfully tells a tale of grace and connection in the midst of daily oppression and the constant incursions of an unremitting patriarchy. This is a novel about two young women slowly finding, over twenty years, in a place rife with hypocrisy but also endless life and love, their own distinct methods of resistance and paths to independence.


Sex and Lies by Leila Slimani 
The first work of non-fiction in English from the prize-winning and internationally bestselling author of Lullaby and Adele

In these essays, Leila Slimani gives voice to young Moroccan women who are grappling with a conservative Arab culture that at once condemns and commodifies sex. In a country where the law punishes and outlaws all forms of sex outside marriage, as well as homosexuality and prostitution, women have only two options for their sexual identities: virgin or wife. Sex and Lies is an essential confrontation with Morocco's intimate demons and a vibrant appeal for the universal freedom to be, to love and to desire.



Nairobi Noir edited by Peter Kimani 
Nairobi Noir brings together some of Kenya’s most exciting and acclaimed writers, in this
celebration of noir writing, played out on the streets of Nairobi.

“Although the range of issues explored in Nairobi Noir is as diverse as its contributors, it all gestures toward a common theme. In this concrete jungle, the hunters and herders live on. As do the hunted...”- Peter Kimani, introduction

Featuring brand new stories from: Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, Stanley Gazemba, Ngumi Kibera, Peter Kimani, Winfred Kiunga, Kinyanjui Kombani, Caroline Mose, Kevin Mwachiro, Wanjikũ wa Ngũgĩ, Faith Oneya, Makena Onjerika, Troy Onyango, J.E. Sibi-Okumu, and Rasna Warah.


The Book of Echoes by Rosanna Amaka
A sweeping, uplifting story of how a boy from Brixton and a girl from Lagos escape their dark past and find themselves a bright future
1981, and England looks forward to a new decade. But on the streets of Brixton, it’s hard to hold onto your optimism, especially if you are a young black man. Racial tensions rumble, and now Michael Watson might land in jail for a crime he did not commit.
Thousands of miles away, village girl Ngozi abandons her orange stall for the chance to work as a maid. Alone in a big city, Ngozi’s fortunes turn dark and soon both her heart and her hopes are shattered.
From dusty roads to gritty pavements, Ngozi and Michael’s journey towards a better life is strewn with heartache and injustice. When they finally collide, their lives will be transformed forever.

With irresistible joy and grace, Rosanna Amaka tells of people moving between worlds, and asks how we can heal and rescue one another. 



March 2020
Sensuous Knowledge by Minna Salami 
‘For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us to temporarily beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change.’
Taking Audre Lorde’s influential essay The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle The Master’s House as a central inspiration, Minna Salami explores what Audre Lorde raised, but never answered: If not the master’s tools, then what? Sensuous Knowledge is her attempt to provide a new ‘toolkit’ for challenging the status quo that is at once empowering, transcendental and practical. Combining the playfulness of a storyteller with the interrogating gaze of a social critic, the book pries open and questions systems of imperialist, patriarchal power that have dominated cultures and ways of thinking for centuries, and puts forward a new approach to knowledge. As Salami herself puts it: ‘I realised that to change society, one must first change oneself. But to change myself, I did not merely need new knowledge; I needed a new understanding of knowledge.’
Drawing on a range of traditions, including personal narrative, feminist theory, popular culture, philosophy and African myth, Sensuous Knowledge offers a bold, Africa-centred and feminist vision of hope for a world in crisis, and shatters our illusions around gender, race and power.



An Act of Defiance by Irene Sabatini
Harare, 2000.
Gabrielle is a newly qualified lawyer fighting for justice for a young girl. Ben is an urban and charismatic junior diplomat, attached to Harare with the American embassy. Robert Mugabe's youth wing terrorized his political opponents as he tightens his grip on power, they begin a tentative love affair. But when they fall victim to shock, their lives split across continents and their stories diverge, forcing Gabrielle on a painful journey towards self-realisation.



The Death of Comrade President by Alain Mabanckou (translated by Helen Stevenson)  
No one said coming of age in post-colonial Africa would be easy … In Pointe-Noire, in the small neighbourhood of Voungou, on the family plot where young Michel lives with Maman Pauline and Papa Roger, life goes on. But Michel’s everyday cares – lost grocery money, the whims of his parents’ moods, their neighbours’ squabbling, his endless daydreaming – are soon swept away by the wind of history. In March 1977, just before the arrival of the short rainy season, Comrade President Marien Ngouabi is brutally murdered in Brazzaville, and not even naïve Michel can remain untouched. Starting as a tender portrait of an ordinary Congolese family, Alain Mabanckou quickly expands the scope of his story into a powerful examination of colonialism, decolonisation and the dead ends of the African continent. At a stroke Michel learns the realities of life – and how much must change for everything to stay the same.



‘mamaseko by Thabile Makue
Named after the poet’s mother, 'mamseko is a collection of introspective lyrics and other poems dealing with the intersections of blood relationships and related identities. Thabile Makue questions what it means to be beings of blood—to relate by blood, to live by blood. In her poems Makue looks for traces of shared trauma and pain and asserts that wounds of the blood are healed by the same.
 


Sacrament of Bodies by Romeo Oriogun
In Sacrament of Bodies Romeo Oriogun interrogates what it means to be queer, male, and Nigerian. In this groundbreaking work, Oriogun seeks to understand how a queer man can heal in a society where everything is designed to prevent such restoration. He explores the paradox of death ending pain while leaving the living with unanswered questions and reflects on the role class plays in survival and the father-son relationship. Ultimately, Oriogun’s poems deal with grief and how the body finds survival through migration.
              
Sacrament of Bodies examines queerness in Nigerian society, masculinity, and the place of memory in grief and survival.


April 2020
Prey by Ayaan Hirsi Ali 
In Prey, Hirsi Ali explains the systemic causes of sexual violence in the Muslim world, from the barring of women from public life to the lack of legal and cultural bulwarks against sexual abuse. She also brings up uncomfortable questions for the West. Why, she asks, have the European authorities and media sought to hush up the wave of violence against women? Why do Western feminists prefer to complain about glass ceilings in the workplace when women are facing severe threats to their most basic rights?

For two decades, Hirsi Ali has faced death threats and harassment for daring to speak her mind. But she refuses to be silenced. In Prey, she argues passionately against allowing the clock of women's right to be turned back.



An Ordinary Wonder by Buki Papillion
From the Bookseller: 
The book follows Oto, one of Yoruba twins, who is raised as a boy but who has a secret – he is intersex, and desires to live life as a girl. 


A Bookshop in Algiers by Kaouther Adimi (translated by Chris Andrews) 
A moving novel inspired by the true story of the man who discovered Albert Camus and Gertrude Stein A Bookshop in Algiers celebrates quixotic devotion and the love of books in the person of Edmond Charlot, who at the age of twenty founded Les Vraies Richesses (Our True Wealth), the famous Algerian bookstore. His entire archive was twice destroyed by the French colonial forces, but despite financial difficulties and the vicissitudes of wars and revolutions, Charlot carried forward Les Vraies Richesses as a cultural hub of Algiers. The novel interweaves Charlot’s story with that of another twenty-year-old, Ryad, dispatched in 2017 to empty the old shop and repaint it. Ryad’s no booklover, but old Abdallah, the bookshop’s self-appointed guardian, opens the young man’s mind. Cutting brilliantly from the 1930s to current times, Adimi delicately packs a monumental history of intense political drama into her swift and poignant novel. But most of all, it’s a hymn to literature.



May 2020
Conditional Citizen: On Belonging in America by Laila Lalami
What does it mean to be American? In this starkly illuminating and impassioned book, Pulitzer Prize Finalist Laila Lalami recounts her unlikely journey from Moroccan immigrant to U.S. citizen, using it as a starting point for her exploration of the rights, liberties, and protections that are traditionally associated with American citizenship. Tapping into history, politics, and literature, she elucidates how accidents of birth--such as national origin, race, or gender--that once determined the boundaries of Americanness still cast their shadows today. Throughout the book, she poignantly illustrates how white supremacy survives through adaptation and legislation, with the result that a caste system is maintained, keeping the modern equivalent of white male landowners at the top of the social hierarchy. Conditional citizens, she argues, are all the people whom America embraces with one arm, and pushes away with the other.

Brilliantly argued and deeply personal, Conditional Citizens weaves together the author's own experiences with explorations of the place of nonwhites in the broader American culture.



The Returnees by Elizabeth Okoh 
After a bad break up, 25-year-old Osayuki Idahosa leaves behind everything she holds dear in London to return to Lagos, Nigeria: a country she hasn't set foot in for many years. Drawn by the transformations happening in the fashion industry in the city, she accepts a job at House of Martha as their Head of PR. While waiting at Milan airport for her connecting flight to Lagos, she meets Cynthia Okoye and Kian Bajo, a wanna-be Afrobeat star. After the plane lands at the Lagos airport, they all go their separate ways but their lives will intertwine again and change the course of Osayuki's life forever.


Curandera by Irenosen Okojie (*although I also noticed March 2021 on a couple of sites)
A cross between Perfume and The Secret HistoryCurandera explores the darker elements of shamanism, desire and friendship.In the mountainous town of Gethsemane, a mysterious woman's arrival sparks a series of strange events that will leave the town's inhabitants changed - men sporadically blind in the afternoons, children disappearing and reappearing without warning and infertile women pregnant with the memories of past births.
In London, Therese, a botanist, is quietly on the hunt for a rare form of peyote. Therese lives with three friends in a Victorian house, Azacca, a Haitian musician who leaves offerings, Peruvian drifter Emilien who is haunted by the past and adventurous Finn, who is increasingly drawn to living life on the edge. When Therese discovers she can heal the sick, jealousy and resentment fracture their bond.

June 2020
The Dragons The Giant The Women by Wayetu Moore 
An engrossing memoir of escaping the First Liberian Civil War and building a life in the United States
When Wayétu Moore turns five years old, her father and grandmother throw her a big birthday party at their home in Monrovia, Liberia, but all she can think about is how much she misses her mother, who is working and studying in faraway New York. Before she gets the reunion her father promised her, war breaks out in Liberia. The family is forced to flee their home on foot, walking and hiding for three weeks until they arrive in the village of Lai. Finally, a rebel soldier smuggles them across the border to Sierra Leone, reuniting the family and setting them off on yet another journey, this time to the United States.
Spanning this harrowing journey in Moore’s early childhood, her years adjusting to life in Texas as a black woman and an immigrant, and her eventual return to Liberia, The Dragons, the Giant, the Women is a deeply moving story of the search for home in the midst of upheaval. Moore has a novelist’s eye for suspense and emotional depth, and this unforgettable memoir is full of imaginative, lyrical flights and lush prose. In capturing both the hazy magic and the stark realities of what is becoming an increasingly pervasive experience, Moore shines a light on the great political and personal forces that continue to affect many migrants around the world, and calls us all to acknowledge the tenacious power of love and family.



How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue 
We should have known the end was near.

So begins Imbolo Mbue's devastating second novel, How Beautiful We Were. Set in the fictional African village of Kosawa, it tells of a people living in fear amid environmental degradation wrought by an American oil company. Pipeline spills have rendered farmlands infertile. Children are dying from drinking toxic water. Promises of cleanup and financial reparations to the villagers are made--and ignored. The country's government, led by a brazen dictator, exists to serve its own interest. Left with few choices, the people of Kosawa decide to fight back. Their struggle will last for decades and come at a steep price.

Told from the perspective of a generation of children and the family of a girl named Thula who grows up to become a revolutionary, How Beautiful We Were is a masterful exploration of what happens when the reckless drive for profit, coupled with the ghost of colonialism, comes up against one community's determination to hold on to its ancestral land and a young woman's willingness to sacrifice everything for the sake of her people's freedom.



The First Woman by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi 
From James Murua’s Blog:
It is described by the publisher Oneworld as, “a powerful feminist rendition of Ugandan origin tales, The First Woman tells the story of Kirabo, the equivalent of Eve in Ugandan mythology. Smart, headstrong and flawed, Kirabo is raised by doting grandparents in idyllic Nattetta in rural Uganda. But as she enters her teens, she starts to feel overshadowed by the absence of the mother she has never known.  At once epic and deeply personal, it tells the story of one young girl’s search for her mother, her discovery of what it means to be a woman throughout history and the implications for her future.”



A Song of Wraiths and Ruins by Roseanne A. Brown  
For seventeen-year-old refugee Malik Hilali, the weeklong festival of Solstasia is a chance to escape his poverty-stricken life for a new one in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But just as he reaches the city’s gates, a vengeful spirit kidnaps his younger sister and offers him a deal: her freedom in exchange for the death of Crown Princess Karina Almorahad before Solstasia ends. With nothing but his own wits and dark magic he barely understands, Malik disguises himself as a nobleman and enters Solstasia to compete for Karina’s hand in marriage—the perfect opportunity to assassinate her. But the night before Solstasia begins, an assassin murders Karina’s mother, and she inherits a court that threatens mutiny.

Grief-stricken and distrustful of everyone around her, Karina resorts to using forbidden magic to bring her mother back from the dead. But resurrection comes at a steep cost, and this ritual requires sacrificing her future husband—the winner of Solstasia.

Over a week of heart-pounding celebrations and dazzling displays of magic, an unlikely bond forms between Karina and Malik, and their interactions force them to question everything they thought they knew about their world. But though they’re more alike than their enemies would have them believe, both are willing to do whatever it takes to save the ones they love—even if they have to destroy each other.


July 2020
The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna 
Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.

But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.

Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire's greatest threat.

Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she's ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.



Love in Colour: Mythical Tales from Around the World, Retold by Bolu Babalola 
Love stories inspired by tales of the past...
Join debut author Bolu Babalola as she recreates the most beautiful love stories from history and mythology and retells them with new incredible detail and vivacity. From the homoromantic Greek myths, to magical Nigerian folktales, to the ancient stories of South Asia, Babalola is inspired by tales that truly show the variety and colours of love around the world.
A high-born Nigerian goddess feels beaten down and unappreciated by her gregarious lover and longs to be truly seen.
A young businesswoman attempts to make a great leap in her company, and an even greater one in her love life.
Whether captured in the passion of love at first sight, or realising that self-love takes precedent over the latter, the character's in these vibrant stories try to navigate this most complex human emotion and understand why it holds them hostage.
Bolu takes a step in decolonising tropes of love and creates new stories inspired by the wildly beautiful tales that already exist in so many communities and cultures. Moving exhilaratingly across perspectives, continents and genres, from the historic to vividly current, Love in Colour is a celebration of romance in all its forms.
Get lost in these mystical worlds and see that love, like humanity, comes in technicolour.


  
Afterland by Lauren Beukes 
Blade Runner meets The Handmaid’s Tale in this thrilling story of how far a mother will go to protect her son in a hostile world transformed by the sudden absence of men. Cole and her twelve-year-old, Miles, are on the lam. Fleeing across the American West, they’re desperate to find a safe haven. Until they do, they must maintain their disguise–as mother and daughter. Because Miles, a boy, is the most valuable commodity in the world. Within just a few, horrifying years, ninety-nine percent of the global male population has died in a pandemic. Now, women run everything, from neighborhood bars to police departments to research programs searching for a way to keep the human race going. Stealthily and swiftly carving a trail from luxury bunker to anarchist commune to nomadic religious cult, Miles and Cole will need all their cunning, planning, and luck to outmaneuver the very bad, very dangerous people who are hot on their heels-among them, Cole’s own sister. A brilliant blend of psychological suspense, American noir, and trenchant science-fiction, Afterland is the high-concept feminist thriller that Lauren Beukes’s fans have been waiting for.



Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi 
Yaa Gyasi's stunning follow-up to her acclaimed national best seller Homegoing is a powerful, raw, intimate, deeply layered novel about a Ghanaian family in Alabama

Gifty is a fifth year candidate in neuroscience at Stanford School of Medicine studying reward seeking behavior in mice and the neural circuits of depression and addiction. Her brother, Nana, was a gifted high school athlete who died of a heroin overdose after a knee injury left him hooked on OxyContin. Her suicidal mother is living in her bed. Gifty is determined to discover the scientific basis for the suffering she sees all around her. But even as she turns to the hard sciences to unlock the mystery of her family's loss, she finds herself hungering for her childhood faith, and grappling with the evangelical church in which she was raised, whose promise of salvation remains as tantalizing as it is elusive. Transcendent Kingdom is a deeply moving portrait of a family of Ghanain immigrants ravaged by depression and addiction and grief--a novel about faith, science, religion, love. Exquisitely written, emotionally searing, this is an exceptionally powerful follow-up to Gyasi's phenomenal debut.



We Are All Birds of Uganda by Hafsa Zayyan 
Two lives, generations apart, set to collide with life-changing consequences...

Uganda, the late 1960s. Hasan, the son of an Indian immigrant, runs a successful business in Kampala together with his extended family. But Hasan is heartbroken as he struggles to cope with the untimely death of his wife. With anti-immigrant sentiment on the rise, growing racial divides threaten to uproot everything he and his family have worked so hard to build.

London, present day. Sameer is a Cambridge graduate and high-flying lawyer, on track for a life-changing promotion. But, despite his success, Sameer feels lost. The life he’s longed for is only making him miserable. After a tragedy calls him back to the family home in Leicester, Sameer finds himself caught between a future he’s always believed he wanted, and a past he struggles to fit back into.

Moving between two continents over a troubled century, We Are All Birds of Uganda is a multi-layered, moving and immensely resonant novel of generational love, loss and what it means to find home. It is the first work of fiction by Hafsa Zayyan, co-winner of the inaugural #Merky Books New Writers’ Prize, and the most exciting young novelists of today.



In the Palace of Flowers by Victoria Princewill 
In The Palace of Flowers is an atmospheric historical novel about Jamīla, an Abyssinian slave, whose fear of being forgotten, of being irrelevant, sets her and Abimelech, a fellow slave and a eunuch, on a path to find meaning, navigating the dangerous and deadly politics of the royal court. 

Princewill vividly recreates the court of the Iranian Shah in the 1890s, a precarious time of growing public dissent, foreign interference from the Russians and British, and the problem of an ageing ruler with an unsuitable heir. Love, friendship and the bitter politics within the harem, the court and the Shah’s sons and advisors will set the fate of these two slaves.



August 2020
Addis Ababa Noir edited Maaza Mengiste
Addis Ababa (simply “Addis” to locals), considered by some to be the original home of humankind, is a sprawling melting pot of cultures where rich and poor live side by side in relative harmony—until they don’t. Maaza Mengiste’s award-winning fiction and nonfiction have consistently reflected the lives of Ethiopia’s everyday people, against the backdrop of migration, war, and exile. Here, in this masterfully edited collection showcasing the country’s finest literary talent, Mengiste brings this same razor-sharp sensibility to her city of birth, pulling back the curtain on despair and depravity, offering an intimate glimpse into the raw, beating heart of Addis Ababa.

Brand-new stories by: Maaza Mengiste, Adam Reta, Mahtem Shiferraw, Linda Yohannes, Sulaiman Addonia, Meron Hadero, Mikael Awake, Lelissa Girma, Rebecca Fisseha, Solomon Hailemariam, Girma Fantaye, Teferi Nigussie Tafa, Hannah Giorgis, and Bewketu Seyoum.

  

October 2020
Unbury Our Dead With Song by Mũkoma wa Ngũgĩ
Unbury our Dead With Song is a novel about four talented Ethiopian musicians - The Diva,
The Corporal, the Taliban Man and Miriam, who are competing to see who can sing the best
Tizita (popularly referred to as Ethiopian blues). Taking place in an illegal boxing hall in
Nairobi, Kenya, the competition is covered by a US educated Kenyan journalist, John Thandi Manfredi, who writes for a popular tabloid, The National Inquisitor. He follows the
musicians back to Ethiopia in order to learn more about the Tizita and their lives. As he
learns more about the Tizita and the multiple meanings of beauty, he uncovers that behind
each of the musicians, there are layered lives and secrets. Ultimately, the novel is a love
letter to African music, beauty and imagination.


November 2020
The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi 
This is the tale of Vivek Oji. It begins with his end, his naked body shrouded on his mother's doorstep, and moves backwards through time to unpick the story of his life and the mystery surrounding his death.

As compulsively readable as it is tender and potent, this is a fresh, engaging novel about the innocence of youth and how it clashes with culture and expectation. The Death of Vivek Oji is the story of a Nigerian childhood quite different from those we have been told before, as Emezi's writing speaks to the truth of realities other than those that have already been seen.


TBC (But some time in 2020)
Jacaranda's Twentyin20
As part of Twentyin2020, launched by Jacaranda in early 2019, the UK publishing house is dedicating a year to publish new works from 20 Black British writers. Check out the full list here, but this includes fiction from Abidemi Sanusi (Looking for Bono) and Stella Ahmadu (Deadly Sacrifice), nonfiction from Njambi McGrath (Through the Leopard's Gaze) and poetry collections from Tolu Agbelusi (Locating Strong Woman) among others.
The Madhouse by TJ Benson
A house brings two unique souls together by the unlikeliest of chances. In their union, that of an almost priest and a prodigal daughter, two brothers whose bond transcends the laws of nature are born. As the history of Nigeria unfolds, it creates a turbulent backdrop to the equally turbulent struggles of the complicated love story and the tribulations faced by the brothers; Max who is steadfast and continual in his love for Andre whose demons chase him beyond the shores of the continent. As decades pass, the entangled web of selfishness, desperation and deep unflinching love merges in a spellbinding tale that proves that perhaps family might be the greatest bond of all or the weakest link to their humanity.



A Broken People’s Playlist by Chimeka Garricks
A Broken People’s Playlist is a collection of short stories with underlying themes so beautifully woven that each story flows into the other seamlessly. From its poignant beginning in “Lost Stars” a story about love and it’s fleeting, transient nature to the gritty, raw musical prose encapsulated in “In The City”, a tale of survival set in the alleyways of the waterside. A Broken People’s Playlist is a mosaic of stories about living, loving and hurting through very familiar sounds, in very familiar ways and finding healing in the most unlikely places.
The stories are also part-homage and part-love letter to Port Harcourt (the city which most of them are set in). The prose is distinctive as it is concise and unapologetically Nigeiran. And because the collection is infused with the magic of evocative storytelling, everyine is promised a story, a character, to move or haunt them.

For the Kids
Too Small Tola by Atinuke | January 2020
Tolu may be small, but she's very determined. Three delightful stories about Too-Small Tolu, a young girl who, though small, is very determined. Tolu lives in a flat in Lagos with her sister, Bola, who is very clever; her brother, Femi, who is very fast; and Grandmummy, who is very bossy. Tolu proves to be stronger than she seems when she goes to market with Grandmummy and manages to carry home a basket full of yams and vegetables, chilli peppers and fish. When the taps in the flat don't work, it's Tolu who brings water from the well, and it's Tolu who saves the day when Mr Abdul, the tailor, needs his goods to be delivered quickly. Too-Small Tolu is a wonderful new character in the world of children's books by multi-award-winning children's writer and storyteller Atinuke.



The Infinite by Patience Agbabi | April 2020
We fight crime across time . . . Leaplings, children born on the 29th of February, are very rare. Rarer still are Leaplings with The Gift - the ability to leap through time. Elle Bibi-Imbele Ifie has The Gift, but she's never used it. Until now. On her twelfth birthday, Elle and her best friend Big Ben travel to the Time Squad Centre in 2048. Elle has received a mysterious warning from the future. Other Leaplings are disappearing in time - and not everyone at the centre can be trusted. Soon Elle's adventure becomes more than a race through time. It's a race against time. She must fight to save the world as she knows it - before it ceases to exist . . .


Ikenga by Nnedi Okorafor | August 2020
Nnedi Okorafor’s first novel for middle grade readers introduces a boy who can access super powers with the help of the magical Ikenga.
Nnamdi’s father was a good chief of police, perhaps the best Kalaria had ever had. He was determined to root out the criminals that had invaded the town. But then he was murdered, and most people believed the Chief of Chiefs, most powerful of the criminals, was responsible. Nnamdi has vowed to avenge his father, but he wonders what a twelve-year-old boy can do. Until a mysterious nighttime meeting, the gift of a magical object that enables super powers, and a charge to use those powers for good changes his life forever. How can he fulfill his mission? How will he learn to control his newfound powers?
Award-winning Nnedi Okorafor, acclaimed for her Akata novels, introduces a new and engaging hero in her first novel for middle grade readers set against a richly textured background of contemporary Nigeria.



Further Afield
Tendai Huchu has a "super dope two-book deal." Huchu's novel about an Edinburgh ghost-talker,The Library of the Dead, is scheduled for a Spring 2021 release. 



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  4. I just checked out him. He then said that he could kick my butt. I told him that I used to be sure that he could. He took it as if I had said he couldn't. I told him that I didn't want any trouble. He told me "that's right you recognize you are doing not want to mess with me, if you want to know more visit shortstorycollections.com

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