Brittle Paper is delighted to bring you Work Naija: The Book of Vocations. It is the second book in the ART NAIJA series, a literary project launched last year to craft concept-based anthologies exploring various aspects of Nigerian life, ideas, and artistic forms. It is also an attempt to put together a collection of exciting new work for readers who are always hungry for new African writing and art.

DOWNLOAD: WORK NAIJA – THE BOOK OF VOCATIONS

The ART NAIJA series debuted in October 2016 with a mixed-genre anthology exploring the idea of place. The collection, titled Enter Naija: The Book of Places, was published here on Brittle Paper, which, as you all know, is a literary environment that accommodates fresh new voices and innovative literary projects. With an introduction written by the Nigerian critic Ikhide R. Ikheloa, the significance of the project was in no doubt. The response from readers across the world was overwhelmingly positive. The anthology made its rounds and even received a glowing review on Chimurenga‘s The Chronic.

This time around, the new collection is built around the concept of work and vocation. Work Naija features nonfiction, photography, poetry, digital art, fiction and commentary. It explores a wide array of vocations and touches on everything from prostitution to priesthood. The stories are gripping. The essays are delectable and illuminating. The images give the writing a powerful visual resonance.

Don’t let the idea of work fool you. There is nothing tedious about reading the brilliant narratives, reflections, and photo essays in the collection. For an anthology that is built around the idea of work, Work Naija is delightfully refreshing. The 21 artists featured do a good job of taking the idea of work in very unexpected directions, relying on humor, dramatic narratives, and arresting visual and literary images to guide the reader through their exploration of how the question of work links life to fiction.

DOWNLOAD: WORK NAIJA – THE BOOK OF VOCATIONS

Readers who are familiar with the first anthology will recognize names like the 2017 Caine Prize shortlistee Arinze Ifeakandu, 2016 Nigerian Students Poetry Prize runner-up Chisom Okafor, 2017 Writivism longlistee and fiction editor at Praxis John “Lighthouse” Oyewale, the visual artist Osinachi, and Michael E. Umoh who designed the lovely coverThis returning cast of writers are joined by the 2017 Brunel Poetry Prize winner Romeo Oriogun, 2016 Short Story Day Africa Prize runner-up TJ Benson, Praxis co-founder Jennifer Emelife, Gbolahan Badmus, Abdulrahim Hussani, and many other talented writers.

One of the kindest gifts a critic could ever give is situating a piece of work within or in relation to existing traditions. It’s a helpful way to determine the significance of a piece of work. In his introduction to Work Naija, Caine Prize winning playwright Rotimi Babatunde makes the case that the anthology’s preoccupation with the question of work places it within a long history of literary and political concerns around the intersection of art and work. In so doing, he situates the work in a genealogy of writings that span medieval Europe and Amos Tutuola’s writing. It’s a beautiful essay and serves as the perfect frame for a collection of work committed to exploring the intersection between life, fiction, and work as it pertains to Nigeria.

Kudos to the series editor, Obi-Young, for doing such a brilliant job here. He has a good eye for generative ideas and knows how to make fellow writers and artists care about an idea well enough to produce their best work.

Brittle Paper is beyond proud to provide a home for this anthology. It is truly a delightful collection, and we hope you download, read, and share with your friends and family.

DOWNLOAD: WORK NAIJA – THE BOOK OF VOCATIONS

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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.

One Response to “Work Naija: The Book of Vocations | Powerful Mixed-Genre Anthology Explores the Idea of Work” Subscribe

  1. Kasanda Malemba 2017/07/01 at 23:54 #

    So wonderful! can’t wait to read it. I am already delighted.

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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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