Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 3,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

Dinaw Mengestu

Congrats to Dinaw Mengestu and the designer of the cover of his new book, All Our Names. The cover design made the New York Times Best Cover of 2014. This places Mengestu in fine company—with the likes of Haruki Murakami and Italo Calvino whose recent works also made the cut.

{See Complete List HERE}

A book cover is an essential part of a reader’s experience with a text. It’s important not necessarily because it illustrates what is inside a book but because it attempts to initiate an emotional connection between the book and the reader even before the book is opened. After all, the cover is typically a book’s first attempt to make a case for itself.

So as we gush over the literary strength or beauty of an author’s work, it’s good to take pause and give a shout out to the designers and artists who mediate the reader’s first encounter with a book.

Mengestu’s novel is his third and features an Ethiopian man living in a Midwestern American town while burdened by different pasts and names he can neither entirely assume nor complete leave behind.

The designer of the cover, which the NYT praises for its “emotional rawness” is Isabel Urbina Peña. She is a cover designer for Random House in New York City. Her portfolio is drop-dead impressive. Check out more of her really cool work HERE.

This news is actually quite delightful given the scandal earlier this year regarding western publishers using stock images as covers for African novels.

Congrats to Mengestu, Pena and Random House!

Dinaw-all-our-names

Credit for Alice in Wonder Land Image: Toronto Public Library Special Collections via Flickr

Tags: , , , ,

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.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. WHOSE NAME IS THIS ANYWAY? Review of Dinaw Mengestu’s All Our Names | NmadiutoUche@wordpress.com - 2015/01/27

    […] I guess I am not the only one who loved the concept as All Our Names was among the New York Times best covers of 2014. I thought about those days in elementary/primary school when teachers wrote down names of […]

  2. WHOSE NAME IS THIS ANYWAY? Review of Dinaw Mengestu’s All Our Names – Nmadiuto Uche - 2016/06/10

    […] I guess I am not the only one who loved the concept as All Our Names was among the New York Times best covers of 2014. I thought about those days in elementary/primary school when teachers wrote down names of […]

Leave a Reply

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.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

Brittle Paper Poet, Ademola Enoch, Wins Goal.com’s Essay Contest

IMG_20170803_161124

Early September, we announced the football essay contest organised by Goal.com Nigeria. We are elated to announce now that the […]

The Brittle Paper Award for Creative Nonfiction/Memoir: Meet the Nominees

Brittle-Paper-Literary-Awards-e1503472980640

To mark our seventh anniversary on August 1, 2017, we announced the inaugural Brittle Paper Literary Awards, to recognize the finest, original pieces of […]

PHOTOS | Book Launch of Dr. Kehinde A. Ayoola’s Awaken! A Compilation of Scriptures

kehinde ayoola awakening

On Sunday, September 17th, US-based Nigerian author Dr. Kehinde Ayoola celebrated the publication of her new book with friends, family, […]

Chike Frankie Edozien’s Lives of Great Men | Inside Nigeria’s First Memoir About LGBTQ Life

lives of great men copies

Chike Frankie Edozien, professor of journalism at New York University, has a remarkable book forthcoming. The memoir, titled Lives of […]

Africa39 Author and Caine Prize Winner Mary Watson’s New Novel Arrives in 2018

mary watson

Mary Watson, Africa39 author and winner of the 2008 Caine Prize, will have her third book released in February 2018. […]

Chimamanda Adichie Covers The New York Times Style Magazine’s “The Greats” Issue, Alongside Nicki Minaj and Amy Adams

chimamanda adichie 1 Carrie Mae Weems. Styled by Malina Joseph Gilchrist

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is one of the seven artists on seven covers of The New York Times Style Magazine T’s “The […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.