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2016 was a remarkable year for the Somali writer Abdul Adan. His short story, “The Lifebloom Gift,” was shortlisted for the Caine Prize and his proposal for a novel won him a Miles Morland Scholarship. We also published an interview with him.

Last week, Kenya’s Nation Media Group ran a profile on him titled “Abdul Adan’s Long Walk from El Wak to Hallowed Literary Halls.”

It is a tender story of how, as a primary school child, he wrote a book entitled A Trip to the Countryside.

His father paid a local with a big printer to publish the book, A Trip to the Countryside, about five years later when he was in high school. His cousin, Ibrahim Adan, who had a degree in literature edited it and his father sold this book from the counter of his general hardware shop.

Years later, he moved to the US and worked as a taxi-driver in Chicago. His first short story, “Old Ibren,” was published in African Writing in 2010. And then “A Bag of Oranges” in Kwani? later that year. And then in 2014, his “The Somalification of James” earned an honorable mention by the Caine Prize. And then, late last year, his Miles Morland win.

For fans who are curious about his debut novel, here is what we know.

The novel will revolve around the narrator who has been deported from the US and leaves in the border town of El WaK. He suffers from an obsession of analysing people. They include a girl from Seattle whom he thinks is too airy and forgettable, a dead poet from Kazakhstan whose suicide note the narrator comes across in a journal, and a radical-extremist who applies lubricants on his hostages before executing them.

Read the full piece HERE.

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young was born in Aba, Nigeria and attended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. A finalist for the 2016 Miles Morland Writing Scholarship, his short stories include: “A Tenderer Blessing,” which appears in Transition Magazine and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2015; “Mulumba,” which appears in The Threepenny Review; and “You Sing of a Longing,” which was shortlisted for the inaugural Gerald Kraak Award and appears in Pride and Prejudice, an anthology by The Jacana Literary Foundation and The Other Foundation. His essays appear in Interdisciplinary Academic Essays and in Brittle Paper where he is Deputy Editor. His interviews appear in Africa in Dialogue, Bakwa Magazine, SPRINNG, and Dwartonline. He is the editor of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of themed e-anthologies of writing and visual art exploring different aspects of Nigerianness. The first, Enter Naija: The Book of Places (October 2016), focuses on Nigerian cities. The second, Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (June 2017), focuses on professions in Nigeria. A postgraduate student of African Studies, he currently teaches English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu, Nigeria. When bored, he blogs pop culture at naijakulture.blogspot.com or just Googles Rihanna.

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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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