Read It! Loved It! Still Lockdown Reads

by - 13:28

Image via Pinterest (@illustration315)

The last week has been a bit weird for me, but I have to say I've been really looking forward to sharing my reads today. Confession! I have an excitement I haven't really felt in a while when it comes to my blog. No idea how long this feeling will last, so I'm going to go with it for as long as it is here. Over the week I've done quite a bit of reading, watching and listening. Here we go!

I begin with an epic list of Morrocan books in English. I aspire to create a list of this nature.

"The below list gathers 172 titles. That's 106 novels, short stories (collections or short stories), and plays; 37 poetry collections or single poems; 21 memoirs and essays, and 12 collective works (not least of which is Akashic Books' Marrakesh Noir, edited by Yassin Adnan, a collection that makes 11 authors available in English are not translated elsewhere).

Now where does one start with Moroccan fiction? ArabLit Editor Nadia Ghanem asks. Head over to ArabLit to find out exactly where to

Next are three interviews. First, from Africa in Words and a Q&A with Ethiopian-American writer, Maaza Mengiste. On the 'many-layered stories and histories' in The Shadow King, Mengiste had this to say: 

"One of the things that I decided, very, very, very early in my approach was to write a book that reflected history as a series of voices that sometimes conflict. I didn't want to tell a story that was linear. History itself is not linear. It has different narratives colliding, intersecting, and joining, which leave gaps. It means myths, legends, and falsehoods. I really wanted to reflect on the mythic quality of memory and history as one of the many ways that we remember, even if it may not necessarily be the way it happened." 

Followed by Louisa Egbunike interviewing Nigerian SFF author, Wole Talabi on Vector (journal of the British Science Fiction Association). On translating the science that he is interested in (Talabi is an engineer) into a narrative, Talabi explained what makes him take the leap: 

"I think it's probably because of the way I was raised? So much of what I know about science, and history, and politics, I learned through stories.

For instance, I read my dad's entire encycolopaedia collection before I was nine. I didn't really understand 90% of what I was reading, but I was reading it anyway! He has this one encyclopaedia of science and technology, filled with biographies of scientists and philosophers, from the early Chinese philosophers all the way to modern times ... They'd talk about the theories the scientists came up with, but they would also mention that this guy was a womanizer, he was a gambler, this guy stole this formula, or he won it in a card game. So there was always personality associated with the scientific knowledge. 

Finally, three-time Hugo award winner, NK Jemisin says in a recent interview 'it's easier to get a book set in black Africa published if you're white.' Staying in the world of Science Fiction and Fantasy, Jonita Davis writes about the science fiction subgenre becoming a vehicle for Black women artists

Image via Yes Mag

In a previous life, I was in the academic world, and this piece in Catapult is from Nadia Owusu on Women of colour in academia often working harder for less respect. I read it a few months ago, but it came back up in my feed and re-reading it. While, it's more America focused, it really reflects some of the reasons why I didn't even think twice about not being in academia at the moment in the UK. 

Less pandemic reads this week, but here are two: one from Carey Baraka on two major epidemics in now Eastern Uganda and Western Kenya that meant his grandfather had to self-isolate over a century ago. Then, a piece on Africa is a Country, which sees Iriann Freemantle reflecting on Africa's eternal lockdown in comparison to Europe's temporary one

"As Europeans currently experience these short-lived restrictions on movement, it is an exceptional time to reflect on what Africans endure permanently in all of Europe's name and the significance of freedom of movement to everyone in the world.

In the world of music, Tony Allen passed away Thursday evening - and Rolling Stones pay tribute to the legendary musician and pioneering Afrobeat drummer, and Gorillaz recently shared a new show with Tony Allen and Skepta.

Screenshot via Daily Motion

I am watching and listening a lot more, and here's a lockdown playlist of Classic African albums from African arguments, as well as a playlist put together by Kalaf Epalanga inspired by the Afrolit Sans Frontier Virtual Literary FestivalAlso, check out this short documentary celebrating Black [American] sitcoms. That's all for this week - some of what I've been reading, watching and listening to. 

Screenshot via YouTube

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