Imbolo Mbue burst into the limelight late last year after signing a million dollar deal with Random House for her debut manuscript. The novel titled Behold the Dreamers follows the travails of a Cameroonian immigrant and a Lehman Brothers executive during the 2008 financial crisis.

One million dollar advance? It’s a first for an African novelist. The African literary community lit up. We all lost our minds. This is huge, we crooned.

After the enormity of the news sank in, the nosy blogger in me went in search of a photograph. Who was this brand new voice taking the African literary community completely by surprise?

For each of the four posts I have since written about Mbue’s novel, I have had to search high and low, googled left and right for a photograph and found nothing. She has no profile in any of the social media platforms and stays pretty much under the radar.

But that’s all in the past because thanks to the Wall Street Journal, we can now put a face to Africa’s literary MVP. Mbue’s photograph was included in an article profiling debut novels with seven figure advances.

We fell in love with her writing when we read “Emke.” [click here if you missed it.] But the photographer Kiriko Sano has captured a radiant beauty that is making us fall in love all over again.

That shock of black natural hair is also giving us some serious #hairgoals.

A quick update for Mbue’s fans. The publication date of March 15 2016 announced earlier has been pushed to August 23 of the same year. No grumbling guys. It’s totally worth the wait.



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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.

2 Responses to “Wall Street Journal Unveils the Face Behind Africa’s Most Anticipated Novel” Subscribe

  1. Obinna Udenwe 2015/12/02 at 3:08 pm #

    Hi Brittle Paper, which is the title of the book? The Longings of Jende Jonga or Behold the Dreamers – you have made two posts stating conflicting titles for her debut novel.
    Congratulations to Ms Mbue.

  2. Ainehi Edoro 2015/12/02 at 3:53 pm #

    Hi Obinna,

    It is both. The manuscript was originally The Longings of Jende Jonga, but it was later changed to Behold the Dreamers. I talk about the change here:

    How far na?

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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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