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All My Friends by Marie NDiaye







Claudia Rankine: An American Lyric

CafeAfricana is about Culture, Arts, News, Lifestyle, Politics, and Community.






Member: Los Angeles Press Club




running splash of rust

and gold-flung and scattered

among seven hills like broken

china in the sun.

J.P. Clark

Yemisi Longthroat Memoirs: Soups, Sex and Nigerian Taste Buds by Yemisi Aribisala

"One of the most enduring myths on the Nigerian Femme Fatale - mammy-water, 'winch' or husband-snatcher - has to do with the cooking of fish stew ...A woman can do what she likes with a man when she knows how to satisfy his appetite for food."Longthroat Memoirs presents a sumptuous menu of essays about Nigerian food, lovingly presented by the nation's top epicurean writer. As well as a mouth-watering appraisal of the cultural politics and erotics of Nigerian cuisine, it is also a series of love letters to the Nigerian palate. From innovations in soup, fish as aphrodisiac and the powerful seductions of the yam, Longthroat Memoirs examines the complexities, the peculiarities, the meticulousness, and the tactility of Nigerian food. Nigeria has a strong culture of oral storytelling, of myth creation, of imaginative traversing of worlds. Longthroat Memoirs collates some of those stories into an irresistible soup-pot, expressed in the flawless love language of appetite and nourishment.A sensuous testament on why, when and how Nigerians eat the food they love to eat; this book is a welcome addition to the global dining table of ideas

About the Author:

Yemisi Aribisala is a writer and a lover of good food. She has written about Nigerian food for over 7 years; for 234Next, the Chimurenga Chronic, and at her personal blog, Longthroat Memoirs. Her essays on food are a lens through which the complex entity of Nigeria is observed. Yemisi has also written essays on various topics including Nigerian Christianity and identity. Her essays can be read online under Yemisi Ogbe.


PaulinaThe First Wife: A Tale of Polygamy by Paulina Chiziane

After twenty years of marriage, Rami discovers that her husband has been living a double--rather, a quintuple--life.

Editorial Reviews

"Rami's realistic, back-and-forth struggle to believe the promises of her lying but charming husband remains suspensefully unresolved right up to the last page and the final surprise. Chiziane's down-to-earth style in The First Wife is that of an African storyteller, sometimes rhythmical and repetitive, frequently composed of short, staccato sentences in an exclamatory rush.... Feisty and exuberant, ferociously candid... With delightful complications and unexpected plot turns, Chiziane's battle of the sexes is like none other in world literature." — Shelf Awareness

"This novel by Chiziane, the first published Mozambiquan female novelist, is daring, biting in its critique." — Kirkus Reviews

"A careful examination of tradition clashing with modernity, most prevalently the place of women within Mozambique’s society, and within the world in general. . . Slowly, painfully, as tradition looms in the background, Rami and the other women in Tony’s life begin to discover a space for themselves and what it can mean to be more than a part of a “loving hexagon.”" — Publishers Weekly

"Chiziane has crafted a story that is at once an affirmation of African feminism and a rousingly entertaining tale of female friendship that would please any fan of best-selling women’s fiction... Both informed reading and terrific fun for a wide range of readers." — Library Journal (starred review)

"Chiziane explores the economics of love and marriage in a country burdened with a history of violent conflict, where men are few and women not necessarily educated or welcomed into the workforce. In such a society, she says, men are the breadcrumbs women must fight over.[...] For better or for worse, so many of the questions about gender, marriage, and money feel familiar and relevant, even to readers for whom polygamy feels profoundly foreign." — Carolyn Silveira, Words Without Borders

"The style of writing in the novel feels like an oral tradition. There are repeated phrases, metaphors, similes - often in patterns. I could hear it in my mind the way a mother might pass on the words to her daughter, to prepare her, to warn her." — Jenny Colvin, Reading Envy

"The First Wife, smoothly translated by David Brookshaw, rises above its satire by confronting a mysogynistic practice head on ... Chiziane, who prefers to be called a storyteller instead of a writer, is cited as her country’s first published female novelist ... The First Wife [is] an excellent example of her courage." — Michael Barron, The Culture Trip

"[Paulina Chiziane] is a storyteller, deeply rooted in the soil of her tradition, with a clarity and poetry that has character, strong colours, subtle hues and melodies without being ethnic or local... Chiziane has an elegantly mature authorial voice, a beautifully balanced lyricism and an unfailing sense of imagery and human emotion. Hers is a voice comfortable with its timbre and the flexions of its tonality, aware of the difficulty – and dire necessity – for simplicity... The First Wife is a voice that will not be silenced, it is a powerful, original experience of what it meant to listen to a story by the fire – frightening, enthralling, harrowing and wondrous, mystical, inescapable." — Bookanista

"A lively, engaging read." — The Complete Review

"This is a powerful and angry book. . . Yet, for all its fury, the narrative is underpinned by an appreciation of the interconnectedness of the human experience. . . The writing is urgent and surprising." — A Year of Reading the World (blog)

"In the style that characterises her writing, the novel pulls no punches, and the polemic it constructs is passionate and engaging. The First Wife is alive with intrigue and happenings...It is this sense of strength, of resilience, of passion, and simultaneously of acceptance, of resignation that both excite and irritate that make Niketche such an enjoyable and provocative read." -- Tony Simões da Silva, African Review of Books

"... the narrator expreses the suffering of all women, divided between the desire to live and what appears to be an inner death (...) condemned to lose all her battles and to drift in the shadows." -- Geneviève Vilner, Plural-Pluriel

"... the theme also allows her to lead the reader to discover a country and its customs, and to create some magnificent depictions of women." -- Olivia Marsaud, Afrik.com

"What we have, in Paulina, is the most authentic representation of the problems faced by women in Mozambican society." --Teresa Noronha, Jornal de Notícias

About the Author

PAULINA CHIZIANE was born in an area of Mozambique in 1955 in which communication with the white colonizers was forbidden. She devoted herself to writing in her mid-twenties and became the first Mozambican woman ever to publish a novel. She claims, however, that she is not a novelist: "I am a storyteller... I take my inspiration from tales around the campfire, my first art school." Her works explore themes of race, polygamy, colonization, and cultural change in her country, quietly signaling a new era for African feminism.

ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR: DAVID BROOKSHAW is a London-born professor of Brazilian Studies at the University of Bristol specializing in comparative literature, translation, and postcolonial Portuguese literature. He has translated works by Mia Cuoto and Onésimo Almeida and compiled an anthology of stories by the Portuguese author José Rodrigues Miguéis.


ngugiSecure the Base: Making Africa Visible in the Globe (The Africa List) by Ngugi wa Thiong'o (Author)

For more than sixty years, Ngugi wa Thiong’o has been writing fearlessly the questions, challenges, histories, and futures of Africans, particularly those of his homeland, Kenya. In his work, which has included plays, novels, and essays, Ngugi narrates the injustice of colonial violence and the dictatorial betrayal of decolonization, the fight for freedom and subsequent incarceration, and the aspiration toward economic equality in the face of gross inequality. With both hope and disappointment, he questions the role of language in both the organization of power structures and the pursuit of autonomy and self-expression.

Ngugi’s fiction has reached wide acclaim, but his nonfictional work, while equally brilliant, is difficult to find. Secure the Base changes this by bringing together for the first time essays spanning nearly three decades. Originating as disparate lectures and texts, this complete volume will remind readers anew of Ngugi’s power and importance. Written in a personal and accessible style, the book covers a range of issues, including the role of the intellectual, the place of Asia in Africa, labor and political struggles in an era of rampant capitalism, and the legacies of slavery and prospects for peace. At a time when Africa looms large in our discussions of globalization, Secure the Base is mandatory reading.

Editorial Reviews

“Secure the Base is full of hidden connections. Born in 1938, Ngugi is one of Africa’s most venerable literary figures. In this short, tightly argued collection of lectures and essays, he writes with the aim of ‘making Africa visible in the world’ by tracing the lattice of political and moral ties that stretch across the globe and back to Africa.” (Independent)

About the Author:

Ngugi wa Thiong'o is Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature, at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of many books, including,The River Between, Petals of Blood, Wizard of the Crow, and Decolonizing the Mind.


coetzee The Schooldays of Jesus by J.M. Coetzee


From the Nobel Prize-winning author J. M. Coetzee, the haunting sequel to The Childhood of Jesus, continuing the journey of Davíd, Simón, and Inés

“When you travel across the ocean on a boat, all your memories are washed away and you start a completely new life. That is how it is. There is no before. There is no history. The boat docks at the harbour and we climb down the gangplank and we are plunged into the here and now. Time begins.”

Davíd is the small boy who is always asking questions. Simón and Inés take care of him in their new town, Estrella. He is learning the language; he has begun to make friends. He has the big dog Bolívar to watch over him. But he’ll be seven soon and he should be at school. And so, with the guidance of the three sisters who own the farm where Simón and Inés work, Davíd is enrolled in the Academy of Dance. It’s here, in his new golden dancing slippers, that he learns how to call down the numbers from the sky. But it’s here, too, that he will make troubling discoveries about what grown-ups are capable of. In this mesmerizing allegorical tale, Coetzee deftly grapples with the big questions of growing up, of what it means to be a “parent,” the constant battle between intellect and emotion, and how we choose to live our lives.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for J.M. Coetzee and The Childhood of Jesus

“[The Childhood of Jesus] plunges us at once into a mysterious and dreamlike terrain. . . . A Kafka-inspired parable of the quest for meaning itself.” —Joyce Carol Oates, The New York Times Book Review (front page)

“A return to form . . . [Coetzee’s] most brisk and dazzling book.” —Benjamin Lytal, The Daily Beast

“Compelling—eerie, tautly written.” —Los Angeles Times

“[Coetzee] is a consummate withholder, one of the great masters of the unsaid and the inexplicit.” —The New York Review of Books

About the Author:

J. M. Coetzee won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2003 and is the author of twenty-two books, which have been translated into many languages. He was the first author to twice win the Booker Prize. A native of South Africa, he now lives in Adelaide, Australia.


ghasi Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

“Homegoing is an inspiration.” —Ta-Nehisi Coates

The unforgettable New York Times best seller begins with the story of two half-sisters, separated by forces beyond their control: one sold into slavery, the other married to a British slaver. Written with tremendous sweep and power, Homegoing traces the generations of family who follow, as their destinies lead them through two continents and three hundred years of history, each life indeliably drawn, as the legacy of slavery is fully revealed in light of the present day.

Effia and Esi are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.

Editorial Reviews:

“Gyasi’s characters are so fully realized, so elegantly carved—very often I found myself longing to hear more. Craft is essential given the task Gyasi sets for herself—drawing not just a lineage of two sisters, but two related peoples. Gyasi is deeply concerned with the sin of selling humans on Africans, not Europeans. But she does not scold. She does not excuse. And she does not romanticize. The black Americans she follows are not overly virtuous victims. Sin comes in all forms, from selling people to abandoning children. I think I needed to read a book like this to remember what is possible. I think I needed to remember what happens when you pair a gifted literary mind to an epic task. Homegoing is an inspiration.”

—Ta-Nehisi Coates, National Book Award-winning author of Between the World and Me

"Homegoing is a remarkable feat—a novel at once epic and intimate, capturing the moral weight of history as it bears down on individual struggles, hopes, and fears. A tremendous debut.”

—Phil Klay, National Book Award-winning author of Redeployment

“I could not put this book down”

—Roxane Gay

“It is hard to overstate how much I LOVE this book”

—Michele Norris

About the Author:

YAA GYASI was born in Ghana and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. She holds a BA in English from Stanford University and an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she held a Dean’s Graduate Research Fellowship. She lives in Berkeley, California.


zadie Swing Time by Zadie Smith

An ambitious, exuberant new novel moving from North-West London to West Africa, from the multi-award-winning author of White Teeth and On Beauty

Two brown girls dream of being dancers--but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It's a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either...

Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, Swing Time is a story about friendship and music and stubborn roots, about how we are shaped by these things and how we can survive them. Moving from North-West London to West Africa, it is an exuberant dance to the music of time.

Editorial Reviews:

“Agile and discerning…With homage to dance as a unifying force, arresting observations…exceptionally diverse and magnetizing characters, and lashing satire, Swing Time is an acidly funny, fluently global, and head-spinning novel about the quest for meaning, exaltation, and love…This tale of friendship lost and found is going to be big.”—Booklist (starred)

“The narrative moves deftly and absorbingly between its increasingly tense coming-of-age story and the adult life of the sympathetic if naïve and sometimes troubling narrator…A rich and sensitive drama highly recommended for all readers.”—Library Journal (starred)

“A keen, controlled novel about dance and blackness steps onto a stage of cultural land mines…Smith is dazzling in her specificity, evoking predicaments, worldviews, and personalities with a camera-vivid precision…Moving, funny, and grave, this novel parses race and global politics with Fred Astaire’s or Michael Jackson's grace.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“As ever, Smith plies her signature humor and sensitivity as she traces the contours of race and lived experience.”—ELLE.com’s Must-Read Books for Fall

“[A] powerful and complex novel…Rich and absorbing, especially when it highlights Smith's ever-brilliant perspective on pop culture.” —Publishers Weekly (starred)

About the Author:

Zadie Smith was born in Northwest London in 1975 and still lives in the area. She is the author of White Teeth, The Autograph Man, On Beauty, Changing My Mind, and NW.


Helen Oyeyemi What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi

From the award-winning author of Boy, Snow, Bird and Mr. Fox comes an enchanting collection of intertwined stories.

Playful, ambitious, and exquisitely imagined, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours is cleverly built around the idea of keys, literal and metaphorical. The key to a house, the key to a heart, the key to a secret—Oyeyemi’s keys not only unlock elements of her characters’ lives, they promise further labyrinths on the other side. In “Books and Roses” one special key opens a library, a garden, and clues to at least two lovers’ fates. In “Is Your Blood as Red as This?” an unlikely key opens the heart of a student at a puppeteering school. “‘Sorry’ Doesn’t Sweeten Her Tea” involves a “house of locks,” where doors can be closed only with a key—with surprising, unobservable developments. And in “If a Book Is Locked There’s Probably a Good Reason for That Don't You Think,” a key keeps a mystical diary locked (for good reason).

Oyeyemi’s creative vision and storytelling are effervescent, wise, and insightful, and her tales span multiple times and landscapes as they tease boundaries between coexisting realities. Is a key a gate, a gift, or an invitation? What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours captivates as it explores the many possible answers.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Boy, Snow, Bird:

“Gloriously unsettling . . . The greatest joy of reading Oyeyemi will always be style: jagged and capricious at moments, lush and rippled at others, always singular, like the voice-over of a fever dream.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Superbly inventive . . . examines the thorniness of race and the poisonous ways in which vanity and envy can permeate and distort perception.” —O, The Oprah Magazine

“By transforming ‘Snow White’ into a tale that hinges on race and cultural ideas about beauty . . . Oyeyemi finds a new, raw power in the classic. In her hands, the story is about secrets and lies, mothers and daughters, lost sisters and the impossibility of seeing oneself or being seen in a brutally racist world. . . . [Oyeyemi] elegantly and inventively turns a classic fairy tale inside out.” —Los Angeles Times

“The outline of Oyeyemi’s remarkable career glimmers with pixie dust. . . . The atmosphere of fantasy lingers over these pages like some intoxicating incense.” —Ron Charles, The Washington Post

Praise for Mr. Fox:

“Oyeyemi has an eye for the gently perverse, the odd detail that turns the ordinary marvelously, frighteningly strange.” —The Boston Globe

“Startling, beautiful . . . [Mr. Fox] should not be ignored.” —Chicago Sun-Times

About the Author:

Helen Oyeyemi is the author of five novels, most recently Boy, Snow, Bird, which was a finalist for the 2014 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She received a 2010 Somerset Maugham Award and a 2012 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. In 2013, she was named one of Granta's Best Young British Novelists.


Tram83 Tram 83 by Tram by Fiston Mwanza Mujila (Author), Roland Glasser (Translator), Alain Mabanckou (Foreword)

Two friends, one a budding writer home from abroad, the other an ambitious racketeer, meet in the most notorious nightclub—Tram 83—in a war-torn city-state in secession, surrounded by profit-seekers of all languages and nationalities. Tram 83 plunges the reader into the modern African gold rush as cynical as it is comic and colorfully exotic, using jazz rhythms to weave a tale of human relationships in a world that has become a global village.

About the author:

Fiston Mwanza Mujila (b. 1981, Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo) is a poet, dramatist, and scholar. Tram 83 is his award-winning and much raved-about debut novel that caused a literary sensation when published in France in August 2014.

Ladivine Ladivine by Marie NDiaye

From the hugely acclaimed author of Three Strong Women—“a masterpiece of narrative ingenuity and emotional extremes” (The New York Times)—here is a harrowing and subtly crafted novel of a woman captive to a secret shame.

On the first Tuesday of every month, Clarisse Rivière leaves her husband and young daughter and secretly takes the train to Bordeaux to visit her mother, Ladivine. Just as Clarisse’s husband and daughter know nothing of Ladivine, Clarisse herself has hidden nearly every aspect of her adult life from this woman, whom she dreads and despises but also pities. Long ago abandoned by Clarisse’s father, Ladivine works as a housecleaner and has no one but her daughter, whom she knows as Malinka.

After more than twenty-five years of this deception, the idyllic middle-class existence Clarisse has built from scratch can no longer survive inside the walls she’s put up to protect it. Her untold anguish leaves her cold and guarded, her loved ones forever trapped outside, looking in. When her husband, Richard, finally leaves her, Clarisse finds comfort in the embrace of a volatile local man, Freddy Moliger. With Freddy, she finally feels reconciled to, or at least at ease with, her true self. But this peace comes at a terrible price. Clarisse will be brutally murdered, and it will be left to her now-grown daughter, who also bears the name Ladivine without knowing why, to work out who her mother was and what happened to her.

A mesmerizing and heart-stopping psychological tale of a trauma that ensnares three generations of women, Ladivine proves Marie NDiaye to be one of Europe’s great storytellers.

Translated from the French by Jordan Stump

Editorial Reviews

Hypnotic…NDiaye writes profoundly disturbing novels in such riveting prose that one cannot look away. —Library Journal (starred review)

Mysterious…Eerie…[a] beautifully crafted novel —Publisher’s Weekly

Elegant … bizarrely lovely… NDiaye's gift with language…[is] exquisite. She reveals only as much reality as she wants to at any given moment—and therein lies her magic.—Kirkus

About the Author

MARIE NDIAYE was born in Pithiviers, France, in 1967; spent her childhood with her French mother (her father was Senegalese); and studied linguistics at the Sorbonne. She was only eighteen when her first work was published. In 2001, she was awarded the prestigious Prix Femina for her novel Rosie Carpe; in 2009, the Prix Goncourt for Three Strong Women; and, in 2015, the Gold Medal in the Arts from the Kennedy Center International Committee on the Arts.


Beauty is a Wound by Eka Kurniawan (Annie Tucker-Translator)

The epic novel Beauty Is a Wound combines history, satire, family tragedy, legend, humor, and romance in a sweeping polyphony. The beautiful Indo prostitute Dewi Ayu and her four daughters are beset by incest, murder, bestiality, rape, insanity, monstrosity, and the often vengeful undead. Kurniawan’s gleefully grotesque hyperbole functions as a scathing critique of his young nation’s troubled past:the rapacious offhand greed of colonialism; the chaotic struggle for independence; the 1965 mass murders of perhaps a million “Communists,” followed by three decades of Suharto’s despotic rule.

Beauty Is a Wound astonishes from its opening line: One afternoon on a weekend in May, Dewi Ayu rose from her grave after being dead for twenty-one years.... Drawing on local sources―folk tales and the all-night shadow puppet plays, with their bawdy wit and epic scope―and inspired by Melville and Gogol, Kurniawan’s distinctive voice brings something luscious yet astringent to contemporary literature.

About the Author:

Born in 1975, the author of novels, short stories, essays, movie scripts, and graphic novels Eka Kurniawan has been described as “one of the few influential writers in Indonesia” (The Jakarta Post).

Annie Tucker is a recipient of a 2013 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Award

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

A provocative meditation on race, Claudia Rankine's long-awaited follow up to her groundbreaking book Don't Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric.

Claudia Rankine's bold new book recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media. Some of these encounters are slights, seeming slips of the tongue, and some are intentional offensives in the classroom, at the supermarket, at home, on the tennis court with Serena Williams and the soccer field with Zinedine Zidane, online, on TV-everywhere, all the time. The accumulative stresses come to bear on a person's ability to speak, perform, and stay alive. Our addressability is tied to the state of our belonging, Rankine argues, as are our assumptions and expectations of citizenship. In essay, image, and poetry, Citizen is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary, often named "post-race" society.

About the Author:

Claudia Rankine is the author of four previous books, including Don't Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric. She currently is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and teaches at Pomona College.


Life of a Counterfeiter by Yasushi Inoue (Author), Michael Emmerich (Translator)

A master forger lives in obscurity and disappointment, oppressed by the shadow of the artist whose work he copies. Unglamorous, unadorned lives such as this form the focus of Yasushi Inoue's tenderly observed, elegantly distilled short stories - two of which are appearing in English for the first time. With a haunting emotional intensity, they offer glimpses of love lost and lives wasted.

These three luminous, compassionate tales showcase the mastery and exquisite talent of one of Japan's most beloved writers.


Reading List: Cafeafricana:

A Little Lumpen Novelita by Roberto Bolano

A Little Lumpen Novelita percolates with a young writer's fierce ambitions and intensely tender love of women.

“Now I am a mother and a married woman, but not long ago I led a life of crime”: so Bianca begins her tale of growing up the hard way in Rome in A Little Lumpen Novelita. Orphaned overnight as a teenager—“our parents died in a car crash on their first vacation without us”—she drops out of school, gets a crappy job, sees a terrible brightness at night, and drifts into bad company. Her little brother brings home two petty criminals who need a place to stay. As the four of them share the family apartment and plot a strange crime, Bianca learns she can drift lower…

Electric, tense with foreboding, and written in jagged, propulsive short chapters, A Little Lumpen Novelita—one of the first novels Roberto Bolano ever published—delivers a surprising, fractured tale of taking control of one’s fate.


The Hunting Gun by Yasushi Inoue (Author), Michael Emmerich (Translator)

A tragedy in three letters: The masterpiece of one of Japan's greatest writers

The Hunting Gun follows the consequences of a tragic love affair. Told from the viewpoints of three different women, this is a story of the psychological impact of illicit love. First viewed through the eyes of Shoko, who learns of the affair through reading her mother's diary, then through the eyes of Midori, who had long known about the affair of her husband with Saiko, and finally through the eyes of Saiko herself. This novella is incredibly powerful, with universal resonance and a true modern classic of the 20th century.



han The Vegetarian by Han Kang (Author)

A beautiful, unsettling novel about rebellion and taboo, violence and eroticism, and the twisting metamorphosis of a soul

Before the nightmares began, Yeong-hye and her husband lived an ordinary, controlled life. But the dreams—invasive images of blood and brutality—torture her, driving Yeong-hye to purge her mind and renounce eating meat altogether. It’s a small act of independence, but it interrupts her marriage and sets into motion an increasingly grotesque chain of events at home. As her husband, her brother-in-law and sister each fight to reassert their control, Yeong-hye obsessively defends the choice that’s become sacred to her. Soon their attempts turn desperate, subjecting first her mind, and then her body, to ever more intrusive and perverse violations, sending Yeong-hye spiraling into a dangerous, bizarre estrangement, not only from those closest to her, but also from herself.

Celebrated by critics around the world, The Vegetarian is a darkly allegorical, Kafka-esque tale of power, obsession, and one woman’s struggle to break free from the violence both without and within her.

Editorial Reviews:

“Surreal...[A] mesmerizing mix of sex and violence...vivid, chiseled...Like a cursed madwoman in classical myth, Yeong-hye seems both eerily prophetic and increasingly unhinged.” —Alexandra Alter, The New York Times

“Ferocious...[Han Kang] has been rightfully celebrated as a visionary in South Korea… Han’s glorious treatments of agency, personal choice, submission and subversion find form in the parable. There is something about short literary forms – this novel is under 200 pages – in which the allegorical and the violent gain special potency from their small packages... Ultimately, though, how could we not go back to Kafka? More than ‘The Metamorphosis,’ Kafka’s journals and ‘A Hunger Artist’ haunt this text.” —Porochista Khakpour, New York Times Book Review

“Astonishing...Kang viscerally explores the limits of what a human brain and body can endure, and the strange beauty that can be found in even the most extreme forms of renunciation.” —Entertainment Weekly

"Sometimes how a book or a film puzzles you—how it may mystify even its own creator—is the main point. The way it keeps slithering out of your grasp. The way it chats with you in the parlor even as it drags something nameless and heavy through the woods out back….That’s the spirit in which to approach The Vegetarian… The Vegetarian has an eerie universality that gets under your skin and stays put irrespective of nation or gender.”—Laura Miller, Slate.com

“This book is both terrifying and terrific.”—Lauren Groff

"The Vegetarian was slim and spiky and extremely disturbing, and I find myself thinking about it weeks after I finished." Jennifer Weiner, popsugar.com

“The Vegetarian is one of the best novels I’ve read in years. It’s incredible, daring, and stunningly moving. I loved it.”—Laura van den Berg

"A short novel of sexuality and madness that deserves its great success.”—Ian McEwan

“If it's true you are what you read, prepare to be sliced and severed, painted and slapped and fondled and broken to bits, left shocked and reeling on the other side of this stunning, dark star of a book.”—Amelia Gray

“It takes a gifted storyteller to get you feeling ill at ease in your own body. Yet Han Kang often set me squirming with her first novel in English, at once claustrophobic and transcendent… Yeong-hye’s compulsions feel more like a force of nature… A sea like that, rippling with unknowable shadow, looks all but impossible to navigate—but I’d let Han Kang take the helm any time.”—Chicago Tribune

“Provocative...shocking.”—The Washington Post

"[An] utterly deserving winner of this year's Man Booker International Prize...with haunting, almost hallucinatory beauty."—Entertainment Weekly, Best Books of 2016 so far

“This is a deceptive novel, its canvas much larger than the mild social satire that one initially imagines. Kang has bigger issues to raise… The matter of female autonomy assumes urgency and poignancy.”—The Boston Globe

"Compelling...[A] seamless union of the visceral and the surreal.”—Los Angeles Review of Books

"Indebted to Kafka, this story of a South Korean woman's radical transformation, which begins after she forsakes meat, will have you reading with your hand over your mouth in shock." —O, the Oprah Magazine

“If you love books that grab you by the throat and keep you wide-eyed and shocked throughout, you’ve got to pick up Han Kang’s The Vegetarian.”—EW.com

"A complex, terrifying look at how seemingly simple decisions can affect multiple lives...In a world where women’s bodies are constantly under scrutiny, the protagonist’s desire to disappear inside of herself feels scarily familiar."—VanityFair.com

"A sharply written allegory that extends far beyond its surreal premise to unexpected depths.”—The Millions

“Visceral and hypnotic.”—Michele Filgate

“An elegant tale, in three parts, of a woman whose sudden turn to veganism disrupts her family and exposes the worst human appetites and impulses… [a] stripped-down, thoughtful narrative… about human psychology and physiology.”—Huffington Post

"Adventurous readers will be blown away by Han Kang’s The Vegetarian, in which a once-submissive Korean wife’s compulsion to stop eating meat spirals out of control. This moving story engages complicated questions about desire, guilt, obligation and madness.”—MORE Magazine

“This elegant-yet-twisted horror story is all about power and its relationship with identity. It's chilling in the best ways, so buckle in and turn down the lights.”—Elle.com

“The Vegetarian is the first—there will be more, let’s hope—of Han Kang’s novels to arrive in the United States…The style is realistic and psychological, and denies us the comfort that might be wrung from a fairy tale or a myth of metamorphosis. We all like to read about girls swapping their fish tails for legs or their unwrinkled arms for branches, but—at the risk of stating the obvious—a person cannot become a potted bit of green foodstuff. That Yeong-hye seems not to know this makes her dangerous, and doomed.”—Harper’s Magazine

“This haunting, original tale explores the eros, isolation and outer limits of a gripping metamorphosis that happens in plain sight… Han Kang has written a remarkable novel with universal themes about isolation, obsession, duty and desire.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Complex and strange...Han's prose moves swiftly, riveted on the scene unfolding in a way that makes this story compulsively readable...this is a book that demands you to ask important questions, and its vivid images will be hard to shake. This is a book that will stay with you."—St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Brutally yet beautifully explores the gap between one person’s expression and another’s reception.”—Harvard Crimson

"The Vegetarian is incredibly fresh and gripping, due in large part to the unforgettable narrative structure... Han Kang has created a multi-leveled, well-crafted story that does what all great stories do: immediately connects the unique situation within these pages to the often painful experience of living."—The Rumpus

“Disquieting, thought-provoking and precisely informed.” —Shelf Awareness

“A horror story in its depiction of the unknowability of others—of the sudden feeling that you've never actually known someone close to you….Its three-part structure is brilliant, gradually digging deeper and deeper into darker and darker places; the writing is spare and haunting; but perhaps most memorable is its crushing climax, a phantasmagoric yet emotionally true moment that's surely one of the year's most powerful. This is an ingenious, upsetting, and unforgettable novel.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"[A] spare, spectacular novel...Family dysfunction amid cultural suffocation is presented with elegant precision, transforming readers into complicit voyeurs. Fans of authors as diverse as Mary Karr and Haruki Murakami won't be able to turn away."—Library Journal (starred review)

“Korean writer Han Kang’s elegant yet unsettling prose conveys her protagonist’s brother-in-law’s obsessive, art-centered lust; her sister’s tepid, regret-riddled existence; and Yeong-hye’s vivid, disturbing dreams… Readers will want more of the author’s shocking portrayals of our innermost doubts, beliefs, and longings.”—Booklist

“[A] beautiful and disquieting new novel...concise and swift, its language often almost poetic...haunting.” —Bookpage

"The book insists on a reader’s attention, with an almost hypnotically serene atmosphere interrupted by surreal images and frighteningly recognizable moments of ordinary despair. Han writes convincingly of the disruptive power of longing and the choice to either embrace or deny it, using details that are nearly fantastical in their strangeness to cut to the heart of the very human experience of discovering that one is no longer content with life as it is. An unusual and mesmerizing novel, gracefully written and deeply disturbing."—Kirkus

"Searing...[Yeong-hye's] extreme efforts to separate herself from her animal appetites reveal the sanity and normality of those closest to her to be mere matchstick houses."—Helen Oyeyemi, author of Boy, Snow, Bird

"Suffused with a sensibility that evokes the matter-of-fact surrealism of Franz Kafka, featuring a female protagonist as engagingly perverse as Melville’s Bartleby, Han Kang’s slender but robust novel addresses many vital matters—from the politics of gender to the presumptions of the male gaze, the conundrum of free will to the hegemony of meat—with a dark élan that vegetarians and carnivores alike will find hypnotic, erotic, disquieting, and wise.—James Morrow, author of Galápagos Regained

"A strange, painfully tender exploration of the brutality of desire indulged and the fatality of desire ignored, rendered all the more so by Deborah Smith's exquisite translation."—Eimear McBride, Baileys Women's Prize-winning author of A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing

"Visceral and terrifying, The Vegetarian is a startling reminder of the utter unknowability of another's mind. Nonetheless, reading it, you will feel it in your flesh: the desire for peace, a plea for safety, for escape from your own inevitable mortality. It is artfully plotted yet reads like a fever dream, sweeping and surreal. It will leave you aching."—Sarah Gerard, author of Binary Star

"Like a small seed, Han Kang’s startling and unforgettable debut goes to work quietly, but insistently. Her prose is so balanced, so elegant and assured, you might overlook the depths of this novel’s darkness—do so at your own peril."—Colin Winnette, author of Haints Stay and Coyote

"The Vegetarian is a story about metamorphosis, rage and the desire for another sort of life. It is written in cool, still, poetic but matter-of-fact short sentences, translated luminously by Deborah Smith, who is obviously a genius."—Deborah Levy, author of The Unloved and Swimming Home

"The Vegetarian is hypnotically strange, sad, beautiful and compelling. I liked it immensely."—Nathan Filer, 2013 Costa First Novel award-winning author of The Shock of the Fall

"A stunning and beautifully haunting novel. It seems in places as if the very words on the page are photosynthesising. I loved this graceful, vivid book."—Jess Richards, Costa First Novel Award shortlisted author of Snake Ropes

"Poetic and beguiling, and translated with tremendous elegance, The Vegetarian exhilarates and disturbs."—Chloe Aridjis, author of The Book of Clouds

“Dark dreams, simmering tensions, chilling violence…This South Korean novel is a feast…It is sensual, provocative and violent, ripe with potent images, startling colors and disturbing questions…Sentence by sentence, The Vegetarian is an extraordinary experience… [It] will be hard to beat.”—The Guardian

"This is an odd and enthralling novel; its story filled with nihilism but lyricism too, its writing understated even in its most fevered, violent moments. It has a surreal and spellbinding quality, especially in its passage on nature and the physical landscape, so beautiful and so magnificently impervious to the human suffering around it."—Arifa Akbar, The Independent

“This short novel is one of the most startling I have read… Exciting and imaginative…The author reveals how nature, sex and art crash through this polite society…It is the women who are killed for daring to establish their own identity. The narrative makes it clear it is the crushing pressure of Korean etiquette which murders them…[A] disturbing book.”—Julia Pascal, The Independent

"Immediately absorbing...The different perspectives offered are so beautifully distinctive...Every word matters."—Sunday Herald

"Shocking...The writing throughout is precise and spare, with not a word wasted. There are no tricks. Han holds the reader in a vice grip...The Vegetarian quickly settles into a dark, menacing brilliance that is similar to the work of the gifted Japanese writer Yoko Ogawa in its devastating study of psychological pain...The Vegetarian is more than a cautionary tale about the brutal treatment of women: it is a meditation on suffering and grief. It is about escape and how a dreamer takes flight. Most of all, it is about the emptiness and rage of discovering there is nothing to be done when all hope and comfort fails....A work of savage beauty and unnerving physicality."—Irish Times

“The Vegetarian is a book about the failures of language and the mysteries of the physical. Yet its message should not undermine Han’s achievement as a writer. Like its anti-protagonist, The Vegetarian whispers so clearly, it can be heard across the room, insistently and with devastating, quiet violence.”—Joanna Walsh, The New Statesman

“[A] strange and ethereal fable, rendered stranger still by the cool precision of the prose… What is ultimately most troubling about Yeong-hye’s post-human fantasies is that they appear to be a reasonable alternative to the world of repression and denial in which everyone around her exists.”—Times Literary Supplement

"The Vegetarian is so strange and vivid it left me breathless upon finishing it. I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel as mouth-wateringly poetic, or as drenched in hypnotic oddities, taboos and scandal. It seems to have been plucked out of the ether, ready-made to take us all by surprise. Exciting and compelling"—Lee Rourke, New Humanist

"The Vegetarian combines human violence and the possibility of innocence...[A] frightening beauty of a novel." -British Council Literature

"Uncanny."—The Australian

"Kang belongs to a generation of writers that aim to discover secret drives, ambitions, and miseries behind one's personal destiny...[The Vegetarian] deals with violence, sanity, cultural limits, and the value of the human body as the last refuge and private space." -Tiempo Argentino

"[A] bloodcurdlingly beautiful, sinister story."—Linda

"The almost perverse seduction of this book originates in the poetry of the images. They are violently erotic and rather nightmarish; the novel is like a room full of large flowers, where the musky odour takes you by the throat."—De groene Amsterdammer

"For the fans of Haruki Murakami."—Gazet van Antwerpen (starred review)

"Piercing... I was touched the most by the directness, the images, the poignant phrases and most of all the imagination with which it was written."—nrc Handelsblad

"A shocking, moving and thought-provoking novel."—Trouw

"Outright impressive."—HUMO

"One of the most impressive novels I have read recently... You need to read this book."—Arnon Grunberg in De Volkskrant

"The Vegetarian is exciting and original."—De Standaard der Letteren (starred review)

About the Author:

Han Kang was born in 1970 in South Korea. In 1993 she made her literary debut as a poet, and was first published as novelist in 1994. A participant of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Han has won the Man Booker International Prize, the Yi Sang Literary Prize, the Today's Young Artist Award, and the Manhae Literary Prize. She currently works as a professor in the Department of Creative Writing at the Seoul Institute of the Arts.


"A book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us." Franz Kafka.

Javier Marias
bout the Author

marias Thus Bad Begins: by Javier Marias (Author), Margaret Jull Costa (Translator)

From the internationally acclaimed author of The Infatuations comes the mesmerizing story of a couple living in the shadow of a mysterious, unhappy history--a novel about the cruel, tender punishments we exact on those we love.

Madrid, 1980. Juan de Vere, nearly finished with his university degree, takes a job as personal assistant to Eduardo Muriel, an eccentric, once-successful film director. Urbane, discreet, irreproachable, Muriel is an irresistible idol to the young man. But Muriel's voluptuous wife, Beatriz, inhabits their home like an unwanted ghost; and on the periphery of their lives is Dr. Jorge Van Vechten, a family friend implicated in unsavory rumors that Muriel now asks Juan to investigate. As Juan draws closer to the truth, he uncovers only more questions. What is at the root of Muriel's hostility toward his wife? How did Beatriz meet Van Vechten? What happened during the war? Marías leads us deep into the intrigues of these characters, through a daring exploration of rancor, suspicion, loyalty, trust, and the infinitely permeable boundaries between the deceptions perpetrated on us by others and those we inflict upon ourselves.

Editorial Reviews:

“A demonstration of what fiction at its best can achieve.” —Hari Kunzru, The Guardian

“Javier Marías has entered that rarefied space in which a writer becomes essential to society. He is a critical conscience who can express what philosophers and political scientists can’t…. Thus Bad Begins is a novel, of course, but it could be perfectly read, too, as a beautiful, savage essay on hypocrisy.” —Álvaro Enrigue, Publishers Weekly

“Marías’s marvelously idiosyncratic sentences achieve a dazzling textual equivalent of life’s endless complexity. Another challenging, boundary-stretching work from Marías, complete with a jaw-dropping last-chapter revelation.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“Marías’s latest resumes his trademark themes of the quest for truth and the haunting presence of Spain’s civil war . . . It wallops audiences with some startling twists.” —Library Journal

“A novel that teases, tantalises, entertains, and is easily as engrossing as anything he’s written before . . . Marías manages to tread the tightrope between a very literary fiction and an absorbing plot; the book dangles the promise of dark, sexual secrets revealed, even as it draws you into a contemplation of the wrenching dilemmas that have shaped modern Spain.” —Siobhan Murphy, The Times

“Marías is Spain’s own modern-day Cervantes . . . His style is less showy than Umberto Eco’s, and wittier and more playful than Elena Ferrante’s.” —Robert Collins, The Sunday Times

“A simply unputdownable psychological and erotic and political thriller.” —Amanda Craig, BBC Radio 4 Saturday Review

“One of Marías’s most enjoyable and accessible novels.” —Luke Brown, Financial Times

“A ferociously addictive, troubling, seductive read . . . I was gripped by every word.” —Emma Townshend, Independent on Sunday

“Hypnotic . . . There’s a slow-building sense of Hitchcock in Vertigo mode that keeps us engaged.” —Lee Langley, The Spectator

“Magnificent.” —John Harding, Daily Mail

“Never less than seamlessly elegant . . . As brilliantly well conceived and emotionally profound as one has come to expect from this master.” —Rosemary Goring, The Herald (Scotland)

About the Author:

JAVIER MARÍAS was born in Madrid in 1951. The recipient of numerous prizes, including the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Prix Femina Étranger, he has written fourteen novels, three story collections, and twenty works of collected articles and essays. His books have been translated into forty-three languages, in fifty-five countries, and have sold more than eight million copies throughout the world.

Translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa.

Alain Mabanckou

alain Black Moses by Alain Mabanckou (Author), Helen Stevenson (Translator)Alain Mabanckou

A rollicking new novel described as “Oliver Twist in 1970s Africa” (Les Inrockuptibles) by the Man International Booker Prize finalist

It’s not easy being Tokumisa Nzambe po Mose yamoyindo abotami namboka ya Bakoko. There’s that long name of his for a start, which means, "Let us thank God, the black Moses is born on the lands of the ancestors." Most people just call him Moses. Then there’s the orphanage where he lives, run by a malicious political stooge, Dieudonné Ngoulmoumako, and where he’s terrorized by two fellow orphans—the twins Songi-Songi and Tala-Tala.

But after Moses exacts revenge on the twins by lacing their food with hot pepper, the twins take Moses under their wing, escape the orphanage, and move to the bustling port town of Pointe-Noire, where they form a gang that survives on petty theft. What follows is a funny, moving, larger-than-life tale that chronicles Moses’s ultimately tragic journey through the Pointe-Noire underworld and the politically repressive world of Congo-Brazzaville in the 1970s and 80s.

Mabanckou’s vivid portrayal of Moses’s mental collapse echoes the work of Hugo, Dickens, and Brian DePalma’s Scarface, confirming Mabanckou’s status as one of our great storytellers. Black Moses is a vital new extension of his cycle of Pointe-Noire novels that stand out as one of the grandest, funniest, fictional projects of our time.

Editorial Reviews:

Praise for the French edition:
"A delicious and delicate novel."
—Le Monde

"From the first sentence there is an ease and spirit, and you know instantly that this story is authentic. Alain Mabanckou has a gift."
—Le Figaro Littéraire

"A wonderful urban tale."
—Le Magazine Littéraire

"Tasty but light to begin with, then quickly built and powerful, ultimately shattering."

"He wields a sweet and fleshy tongue."
—La Vie

Praise for Alain Mabanckou's The Lights of Pointe-Noire:
"In lyrical and disarmingly serene prose, the author evokes shock, wonder, and sometimes dismay as he searches for his past…A tender, poetic chronicle of an exile’s return.”

"This is a beautiful book, the past hauntingly reentered, the present truthfully faced, and the translation rises gorgeously to the challenge.”
—Salman Rushdie

"Alain Mabanckou’s joyous, vivid narrative style brings to life a frank, tender memoir."
—The Independent

"The author’s real achievement is to capture a universal experience, one ever more common in the age of mass migration: what it means to come home after a long absence…Few books about Africa will find it easier to attract readers far away."
—The Economist

About the Author

Regarded as Francophone Africa’s leading voice, novelist, poet, and essayist Alain Mabanckou was born in Congo and currently lives in Los Angeles, where he teaches literature at UCLA. He is the author of African Psycho, Broken Glass, Black Bazaar, Tomorrow I Will Be Twenty, and The Lights of Pointe-Noire (The New Press). In 2015 he was a finalist for the Man Booker International Prize and the Prix Goncourt des Lycéens. Helen Stevenson is a piano teacher, writer, and translator who lives in Somerset, England. Her translation of Mabanckou’s The Lights of Pointe-Noire won the Grand Prix, 2015 French Voices Award.

rom the winner of the Grand Prix de la Litterature - Mabanckou's trademarkmouand surrealism combine in an autobiographical novel. Michel is ten years old, living in Pointe Noire, Congo, in the 1970s. His mother sells p

Sefi Atta

sefiWriting Contemporary Nigeria: How Sefi Atta Illuminates African Culture and Tradition by Walter Collins (Editor)

Sefi Atta is one of the latest in a great line of female Nigerian writers. her works have garnered several literary awards; these include the Red Hen Press Short Story Award, the PEN International David TK Wong Prize, the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa, and the Noma Award for Publishing in Africa. Atta's oeuvre has received the praise and respect of several noted African writers such as Buchi Emecheta, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Helon Habila. Atta's insights into the roles and treatment of women, neocolonial government structures, patriarchy, 21st-century phenomena such as Nigerian e-mail phishing and the role of geography and place in characters' lives make her works some of the most indelible offerings across contemporary African fiction. Nevertheless, there exists a relative dearth of critical analyses of her works. That Atta writes across the genres perhaps explains some of the lack of literary criticism of her works. This study will facilitate continued examination of Atta's writings and further dissemination of critique. In this premiere edited volume on the works of Sefi Atta, Collins has assembled contributors from around the globe who offer critical analysis on each of Atta's published novels and several of her short stories. The volume is divided into four sections with chapters grouped by thematic connections-Sisterhood, Womanhood and Rites of Passage, The City, Dark Aspects of Atta's Works and Atta's Literature in Application. The book examines Atta's treatment of these themes while referencing the proficiency of her writing and style. The collection includes an interview with Atta where she offers an insightful and progressive perspective on current language use by Africans. This book is the first aggregate of literary critique on selected works of Sefi Atta. This book is an important volume of literary criticism for all literature, world literature and African literature collections. It is part of the Cambria African Studies Series headed by Toyin Falola (University of Texas at Austin) with Moses Ochonu (Vanderbilt University).

Funmi Tofowomo Photography on Flickr

Funmi Tofowomo Photography on tumblr

Assia DjebarLinks

SisterA Sister to Scheherazade: By Assia Djebar


The story of how Isma and Hajila, wives of the same man, escape from the traditional restraints imposed upon the women of their country.

Isma and Hajila are both wives of the same man, but they are not rivals. Isma - older, vibrant, passionate, emancipated - is in stark contrast to the passive, cloistered Hajila. In alternating chapters, Isma tells her own story in the first person, and then Hajila's in the second person. She details how she escaped from the traditional restraints imposed upon the women of her country - and how, in making her escape, she condemns Hajila to those very restraints. When Hajila catches a glimpse of an unveiled woman, she realized that she, too, wants a life beyond the veil, and it is Isma who offers her the key to her own freedom.

About the Author:

Algerian novelist, translator, and filmmaker, one of North-Africa's best-known and most widely acclaimed writers. Assia Djebar has also published poetry, plays, and short stories, and has produced two films. Djebar has explored the struggle for social emancipation and the Muslim woman's world in its complexities. Several of her works deal with the impact of the war on women's mind. Her strong feminist stance has earned her much praise but also considerable hostility from nationalist critics in Algeria.

"Assia Djebar is a genius....Her prose flows like a quiet river within a garden."--Cafeafricana

African JournalsLinks

African JournalsImage:Writers 2008: By Funmi

"These men are not merely evil, I thought. They are the mindlessness of evil made flesh. One should not ever stumble into their hands but seek the power to destroy them. They are pus, bile, original putrescence of Death in living shapes. They surely infect all with whom they come in touch and even from this insulation here I smell a foulness of the mind in the mere tone of their words. They breed themselves, their types, their mutations. To seek the power to destroy them is to fulfil a moral task."--Wole Soyinka. Excerpt from The Man Died (1972), Pg. 225: The Prison Notes of Wole Soyinka.

"It was a bit of a lie that universities were self-governing institutions. Nevertheless, what universities, suffered during the 1980s and 1990s was pretty shameful, as under threat of having their funding cut they allowed themselves to be turned into business enterprises, in which professors who had previously carried on their enquiries in sovereign freedom were transformed into harried employers required to fulfil quotas under the scrutiny of professional managers. Whether the old powers of the professoriat will ever be restored is much to be doubted."--J. M. Coetzee. Excerpt from Diary of a Bad Year (2007), Pg. 38.



African Cooking and RecipesLinks

African Food"The African kitchen is traditionally outside or in a separate building apart from the sleeping and living quarters. By far the most traditional and to this day the most common sight in an African kitchen is a large swing blackpots filled with meat, vegetables, and spices simmering over a fire. The pot usually sits on three stones arranged in a triangle, and the fire slowly consumes three pieces of wood that meet at a point under the pot"--Africaguide.com. Photo: Unknown Artist



Black Coyote Winery

Meet the Partners at Black Coyote Wines



Wangari Maathai (b: 1940 - d.2012 )

Wangari Muta Maathai was born in Nyeri, Kenya, in 1940. She is the founder of the Green Belt Movement, which, through networks of rural women, has planted 40 million trees across Kenya since 1977. In 2002, she was elected to Kenya's Parliament in the first free elections in a generation, and in 2003, she was appointed Deputy Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources, a post she held until 2007, when she left the government. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate of 2004, Matthai has been honored around the world for her work, including a recent  appointment to the Legion d'Honneur by France and the Order of the Rising Sun by Japan. She is the author of two previous books: The Green Belt Movement and Unbowed , a memoir, and she regularly speaks to organizations around the world. Maathai has three grown children and lives and works in Nairobi.


fallWhere My Girls At?: 27+ Opportunities to See and Support the Work of Black Female Artists and Curators This Fall

Works by Alma Thomas, Simone Leigh, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

“NJIDEKA AKUNYILI CROSBY, Portals” @ Victoria Miro Gallery, London | Oct. 4–Nov. 5, 2016



Leopold Leopold Sedar Senghor

Also: Olayimika by Toyin Adewale, Ode to James Baldwin: By Andrene Bonner, Black Woman: By Leopold Sedar Senghor, Requiem: 5: By Wole Soyinka, Love Apart: By Christopher Okigbo, Art Santuary: By Nikki Giovanni, Olokun: By J.

Funmilayo Ransome KutiFunmilayo Ransome Kuti

FRK Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti.

'Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti was a Nigerian feminist who fought for suffrage and equal rights for her countrywomen long before the second wave of the women's movement in the United States. She also joined the struggle for Nigerian independence as an activist in the anticolonial movement'--Odim and Mba.

Kwame NkrumahFunmilayo Ransome Kuti

NkrumahThe Late Kwame Nkrumah

OSAGYEFO DR. KWAME NKRUMAH (1909-72) Founder and Father of the Nation Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first Prime Minister and President of Ghana, stands out not only among the Big Six but also among the greatest statesmen of history. It was he who canalized the discontent of the people of the Gold Coast Colony into the highly organized movement of protest against British rule, and within a relatively short period won political independence for Ghana on March 6, 1957. With Ghana independent, Nkrumah worked to liberate the whole of the African Continent. He supported and financed liberation struggles and nationalist movements throughout the continent. His efforts soon yielded dividends as the majority of countries on the continent gained independence. Then he turned his efforts to forging a common union of African states--NiicaAfrica.

Capt. Mbaye DiagneKen Saro Wiwa

MbayeCapt. Mbaye Diagne

He was a hero.

'From literally the first hours of the genocide, Capt. Mbaye simply ignored the U.N.'s standing orders not to intervene, and single-handedly began saving lives.' PBS "Ghosts of Rwanda'. Photo: Unknown artist: Courtesy of PBS.

Captain Mbaye Diagne of Senegal. Diagne was a Senegalese army officer deployed to Rwanda as a U.N. military observer during the 1994 genocide. The U.N. peacekeeping mission operated under a mandate limiting troop intervention in the conflict. But Diagne chose instead to single-handedly rescue as many as 600 ethnic Tutsi. Ferrying three to five individuals in his vehicle at a time, Diagne employed great courage and persuasion in repeatedly crossing roadblocks manned by genocidal killers and depositing his passengers at safe locations in and around Kigali. He was later killed by a stray mortar shell while driving back to U.N. headquarters in Kigali. His widow, Yassine Mar Diop, his mother, Fatou Ndour, and his two children accepted the honor via live video link from the U.S. Embassy in Dakar Senegal.--US Embassy

Ken Saro WiwaKen Saro Wiwa

Ken Saro Wiwa Ken Saro-Wiwa: 1941-1995.

'Nigerian television producer, writer of satirical novels, children's tales, and plays. In 1994 Saro-Wiwa was imprisoned by order of the dictator Sani Abacha. He had strongly defended the rights of the Ogoni people and criticized the government's oil policy with Royal Dutch/Shell. Despite wide international protests, Saro-Wiwa was hanged after a show trial with other eight Ogoni rights activists in Port Harcourt, on November 10, 1995'--www.kirjasto.com

'My lord, we all stand before history. I am a man of peace, of ideas. Appalled by the denigrating poverty of my people who live on a richly endowed land, distressed by their political marginilization and economic strangulation, angered by the devastation of their land, their ultimate heritage, anxious to preserve their right to life and to a decent living, and determined to usher to this country as a whole a fair and just democratic system which protects everyone and every ethnic group and gives us all a valid claim to human civilization, I have devoted my intellectual and material resources, my very life, to a cause in which I have total belief and from which I cannot be blackmailed or intimidated. I have no doubt at all about the ultimate success of my cause, no matter the trials and tribulations which I and those who believe with me may encounter on our journey. Nor imprisonment nor death can stop our ultimate victory.'--KEN SARO-WIWA'S CLOSING STATEMENT TO THE NIGERIAN MILITARY APPOINTED TRIBUNAL. Photo: unknown artist.

Exclusive InterviewsExclusive Interview

AsanteM.K. ASANTE, JR.

Exclusive Interview with Poet, M.K. Asante, Jr.

Q: What is central to your poetry?

A: Struggle is central. I struggle to write, grapple with ideas, and fight with the pen. For me this is the only way. The poet Lamont Steptoe once told me that if I'm not struggling with my work, then I'm wasting everyone's time and mine own included. So there is a genuine sense of struggle there. Another thing which I hold central is the duality of being alive. The title speaks to this to some extent; the dual nature of existence. It can even be related to Duboisian idea of Double Consciousness.

Image: Courtesy of M.K. Asante, Jr.

For more information on M.K. Asante, Jr., visit www.asante.info.


African MusicAfrican Music

CesariaAfrican Music Around the World...Research, Library, Archives....

Cesaria Evora ( Portuguese pronunciation: born; 27 August 1941- 17 December 2011) was a Cape Verdean popular singer. Nicknamed the "Barefoot Diva" for performing without shoes, she was also the "Queen of Morna "Wikipedia.

Cesaria Evora, Rokia Traore, Oumou Sangare, Asa, Haruna Ishola, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Yusuf Olatunji, Miriam Makeba, Agidigbo, Apala, Madam Comfort Omoge, Madam Mujidat Ogunfalu, King Sunny Ade, Angelique Kidjo....



Excerpt of speech from my film James Baldwin Anthology

By: Claire Burch


Jazz LegendsJazz Legends

ColtraneJohn Coltrane

John Coltrane was, after Charlie Parker the most revolutionary and widely imitated saxophonist in jazz. Coltrane grew up in High Point, North Carolina, where he learned to play E-flat alto horn, clarinet, and (at about the age of 15) alto saxophone. After moving to Philadelphia he enrolled at the Ornstein School of Music and the Granoff Studios; service in a navy band in Hawaii (1945-46) interrupted these studies. He played alto saxophone in the bands led by Joe Webb and King Kolax, then changed to the tenor to work with Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson (1947-48). He performed on either instrument as circumstances demanded while in groups led by Jimmy Heath, Howard McGhee, Dizzy Gillespie (with whom he made his first recording in 1949), Earl Bostic, and lesser-known rhythm-and-blues musicians, but by the time of his membership in Johnny Hodges's septet (1953-54) he was firmly committed to the tenor instrument. He performed infrequently for about a year, then leaped to fame in Miles Davis ' quintet with Red Garland, Paul Chambers, and Philly Joe Jones (1955-57)--PBS.


Classical MusicClassical Music

Classical MusicAkin Euba

"Akin Euba was born in Lagos, Nigeria on April 28, 1935 and spent his early years there. He is a member of the Yoruba ethnic group. His biography is Akin Euba: An Introduction to the Life and Music of a Nigerian Composer by Joshua Uzoigwe. It is a 1992 publication of the Bayreuth African Studies Series, edited by Prof. Eckhard Breitinger. It explains that his father was an amateur musician:    

Akin Euba's father, Alphaeus Sobiyi Euba, was in his youth an active musician (although music was not his profession). He was a chorister at the Olowogbowo Methodist Church (now Wesley Cathedral) Lagos and also played the clarinet in the Triumph Orchestra, a Lagos dance band in which Fela Sowande (who later became internationally famous as a composer)was the pianist. Akin Euba's mother, Winifred Remilekun Euba, n¨¦e Dawodu, was a teacher by profession."-AfriClassical.com

African Heritage in Classical Music


Museums Olu Oguibe: Wall

'African art embodies one of humanity's greatest achievements--fusing visual imagery with spiritual beliefndocial purpose. Its technical achievements and artistic perfection bear witness to the creative ingenuity of its makers'"Zambian artist Hannah Uzor's works have exciting and unique themes that depict her view of life, social interactions and spirituality. Her African heritage is evident in her works from her use of vibrant earthy colours.'-Africancolors.com

oto: Unkno

Country ProfileCountry Profile

Country ProfileFrom Algeria to Zimbabwe:

Botswana, one of Africa's most stable countries, is the continent's longest continuous multi-party democracy. It is relatively free of corruption and has a good human rights record-BBC

Image:Unknown artist.


Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Carnegie Corporation of New York is a general-purpose, grantmaking foundation established in 1911 by Andrew Carnegie "for the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding among the people of the United States." Subsequent charter amendments have allowed the Corporation to use 7.4 percent of its income for the same purposes in countries that are or have been members of the British Commonwealth. Overseas grants are currently concentrated in Commonwealth Africa. Grants in "noncharter" countries are occasionally made when their substantial purpose is the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding among the people of the United States.--Carnegie Photograph/Logo: Property and Courtesy of Carnegie Foundation of New York.

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AboutThe main objective of CafeAfricana is to showcase the best of Africa and Africans in the Diaspora. CafeAfricana is about culture, arts, politics, news, community and lifestyle.

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 Obafemi AwolowoObafemi Awolowo

AwolowoObafemi Awolowo ( March 6, 1909 - May 9, 1987 )

Chief Awolowo, a lawyer, publisher and politician, served as Premier of the self-governing Western region from 1954 until Nigeria achieved full independence from Britain in 1960. He played a major role in the constitutional conferences in London and Lagos that paved the way for independence.

Chief Awolowo was opposition leader in the first post-independence Parliament and came to be regarded as leader of the Yoruba tribe. The Yorubas are one of the West African nation's three major ethnic groups and live mainly in the south and west.

In 1979 and 1983, Chief Awolowo was the Unity Party's presidential candidate, losing to the northern-based National Party of Shehu Shagari. When the Shagari Government was overthrown by a military coup Dec. 31, 1983, Chief Awolowo returned to private life.---The New York Times.

Obafemi Awolowo Foundation



AboutThe Art of Living: Watching art-house films on MUBI and Criterion Collection

Image: Touki Bouki (1973)

Director: Djibril Diop Mambety


Senegalese director Djibril Diop Mambety's story of two young lovers who long to escape to Paris is a legend in African cinema. Like their New Wave counterparts in France, young Mory and his girlfriend Anta are alienated form their own society and imagine freedom far from the dusty streets of their hometown Dakar. Living at the edge of the heaving, crystal-blue ocean, their dream city doesn't seem so far away, and the lovers embark on an exhilarating picaresque adventure as they try to hustle the money for their passage. They try gambling but lose; they steal the receipts of a charity wrestling match, but take the wrong strongbox. Finally, they manage to rob a rich, predatory man and escape in his roadster. Flushed with victory, Mory imagines himself riding triumphantly into Dakar like a Wolof prince, and suddenly Paris and all its mysteries are within their reach. A rueful parable about fear and freedom, Touki Bouki has the restless energy of modernity and all the power of traditional African symbolism. Mory's motorbike is accessorized with a pair of cattle horns mounted on the handlebars, and Josephine Baker's sweet voice leads them on through their journey. But the rift between these two worlds is all too real. Though both Mory and Anta board the ocean liner that will take them to their destination, only one of them will stay on to face the truth of realizing a dream.

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Ali Farka Toure and Toumani Diabate


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