Six lockdown book launches you might have missed
It’s been a long few months of lockdown without physical book launch events. Thankfully, IG Lives, Zoom and other video conference forums have stepped in to create a new experience of engaging with the latest releases. But maybe you can relate that sometimes it’s easy to lose track of all the new titles coming out amid this global pandemic.
So here are six releases we’re excited about from publishers we, at Africa Writes, love. Have a read and if you like, buy a copy or two!
Sensuous Knowledge: A Black Feminist Approach for Everyone – Minna Salami
Minna Salami captures the mood of a disaffected generation and forges the path for a radical Black feminist way of knowing for everyone.
In Sensuous Knowledge, Minna Salami draws on Africa-centric, feminist-first and artistic traditions to help us rediscover inclusive and invigorating ways of experiencing the world afresh.
Combining the playfulness of a storyteller with the insight of a social critic, the book pries apart the systems of power and privilege that have dominated ways of thinking for centuries – and which have led to so much division, prejudice and damage. And it puts forward a new, sensuous, approach to knowledge. One grounded in a host of global perspectives – from Black Feminism to personal narrative, pop culture to high art, Western philosophy to African mythology – together comprising a vision of hope for a fragmented world riven by crisis.
How do you imagine the future when your story traps you in the past?
Harare, 2000. Gabrielle is a newly-qualified lawyer, fighting for justice for a young girl. Ben is an urbane and charismatic junior diplomat, attached to Harare with the American embassy. With high-level pressure on Gabrielle to drop her case, and Robert Mugabe’s youth wing terrorising his political opponents as he tightens his grip on power, they begin a tentative love affair. But when they fall victim to a shocking attack, their lives splinter across continents and their stories diverge, forcing Gabrielle on a painful journey towards self-realisation.
Irene Sabatini, Winner of the 2010 Orange Award for New Writers, navigates Zimbabwe’s unfolding political crises, showing how the dehumanising effects of political violence can shape and remake a life. An Act of Defiance is a sweeping political drama about a young woman’s fight for love and agency in troubled times.
The Girl With The Louding Voice – Abi Daré
Meet Adunni, a teenage girl born into a rural Nigerian village.
Aged fourteen, she is a commodity, a wife, a servant. She is also smart, funny, curious, with a spirit and joy infectious to those around her.
And despite her situation going from bad to worse, she has a plan to escape: she will find her “louding voice” and get her education, so that she can speak up for herself – and all the girls who came before her.
As she turns enemies into friends and superiors into aides, Adunni will take you with her on a heart-breaking but inspiring journey from a small village to the wealthy enclaves of Lagos, and show you that no matter the situation, there is always some joy to be found.
Published by Sceptre
The Space Between Black and White – Esuantsiwa Jane Goldsmith
Illuminating her inner journey growing up mixed-race in Britain, Esua Jane Goldsmith’s unique memoir exposes the isolation and ambiguities that often come with being “an only”.
Raised in 1950s South London and Norfolk with a white, working-class family, Esua’s education in racial politics was immediate and personal. From Britain and Scandinavia to Italy and Tanzania, she tackled inequality wherever she saw it, establishing an inspiring legacy in the Women’s lib and Black Power movements.
Plagued by questions of her heritage and the inability to locate all pieces of herself, she embarks on a journey to Ghana to find the father who may have the answers.
A tale of love, comradeship, and identity crises, Esua’s rise to the first Black woman president of Leicester University Students’ Union and Queen Mother of her village, is inspiring, honest, and full of heart.
Rainbow Milk – Paul Mendez
Rainbow Milk is an intersectional coming-of-age story, following 19-year-old Jesse McCarthy as he grapples with his racial and sexual identities against the backdrop of a Jehovah’s Witness upbringing and the legacies of the Windrush generation.
In the Black Country in the 1950s, ex-boxer Norman Alonso is a determined and humble Jamaican who has moved to Britain with his wife to secure a brighter future for themselves and their children. Blighted with unexpected illness and racism, Norman and his family are resilient in the face of such hostilities, but are all too aware that they will need more than just hope to survive.
At the turn of the millennium, Jesse seeks a fresh start in London – escaping from a broken immediate family, a repressive religious community and the desolate, disempowered Black Country – but finds himself at a loss for a new centre of gravity, and turns to sex work to create new notions of love, fatherhood and spirituality.
Rainbow Milk is a bold exploration of race, class, sexuality, freedom and religion across generations, time and cultures. Paul Mendez is a fervent new writer with an original and urgent voice.
Published by Dialogue Books
Songs We Learn from Trees: An Anthology of Ethiopian Amharic Poetry – Edited by Chris Beckett and Alemu Tebeje
This is the very first anthology of Ethiopian poetry in English, packed with all the energy, wit and heartache of a beautiful country and language.
From folk and religious poems, warrior boasts, praises of women and kings and modern plumbing; through a flowering of literary poets in the twentieth century; right up to thirty of the most exciting contemporary Amharic poets working both inside and outside the country.
These poems ask what it means to be Ethiopian today, part of a young fast-growing economy, heirs to the one African state which was never colonised, but beset by deep political, ethnic and moral problems.
Published by Carcanet | Also available on Amazon
This article was first published on Africa Writes.