The UK publishing powerhouse, Faber &Faber, is re-issuing several titles from Amos Tutuola’s repertoire and these are the covers they dreamt up. This lazy graphic art that looks like generic Photoshop patterns.

Tutuola’s work deserves much better. His first novel, The Palmwine Drinkard, was  published by Faber & Faber way back in 1952. It was an instant international hit, with an American edition released the following year and Tutuola getting a mention in Vogue magazine. After 50 years of being in circulation, the novel deserves a far more creative cover art.

The continent is swarming with artists doing amazing work—from painting, to illustrating, to animation. Tell me, what stops Faber & Faber from commissioning some like Laolu Senbanjo of AfromystericsWangechi Mutu,  Victor Ehikhamenon, Pieter Hugo, or Ralph Ziman to do the covers?

It’s cool that Faber & Faber is doing a reissue of all these titles. But why aren’t they making the extra financial and creative investment needed for a stunningly beautiful cover?

Tutuola is a fantasist and his work is pure genius. Can you imagine what art inspired by his work would look like?

tutuola-faber-faber-reissue-cover-witch-doctor tutuola-faber-faber-reissue-cover-pauper-brawler tutuola-faber-faber-reissue-cover-palmwine-drinkard tutuola-faber-faber-reissue-cover-bush-ghost tutuola-faber-faber-reissue-cover-brave-princess


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I'm finishing up a phd at Duke University where I study African novels, which I believe are some of the loveliest things ever written. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

6 Responses to “Faber & Faber Should Be Slapped for the New Tutuola Book Covers” Subscribe

  1. Oyin Oludipe 2014/06/12 at 6:45 am #

    Smh! Totally nothing to mark the inventiveness of fantasy. Ah

  2. ay 2014/06/12 at 10:59 am #

    Ouch! @ the title of this post. But I understand what you mean. The first time I saw the covers on their site I was surprised. Really bland and uncreative.

  3. Ada 2014/06/12 at 1:26 pm #

    I think those cover are particularly unimaginative

  4. Tsitsi Dangarembga 2014/06/13 at 3:02 am #

    I cannot believe what I see. they obviously didn’t care. No editor should have passed this. Ouch indeed, and woe is me!

  5. Alex Kuffour 2014/06/13 at 11:44 pm #

    I’m looking at all my Faber & Faber paperback classics and these are no different from them in the style of the cover designs. Are you saying they treated Tutuola’s works especially different?

    I suppose Faber & Faber could do better covers for the classics they publish, and they can only start somewhere, sometime, and I agree there’s no better place for them to signal such change than with Tutuola’s books.

    As for me, all I want is to read these books. Thanks for bringing these re-issues to my notice, mighty grateful.

  6. Phil 2014/08/03 at 7:27 pm #

    I see what you mean but I saw these books in person for the first time today and they are STUNNING. They’re incredibly bright and vibrant which doesn’t come across in the flat image at all. The Bookseller said they’d been going really well especially from people who didn’t know anything about Tutuola but were attracted by the cover. This bookshop hadn’t been persuaded to do a display on them either, but had done so on the strength of the design.
    Take your point, but see them in person before you judge!

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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