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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 is a writer, an academic, and Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review ("Mulumba," 2016), Transition ("A Tenderer Blessing," 2015), and in an anthology of the Gerald Kraak Award ("You Sing of a Longing," 2017), for which he was shortlisted. His work has further been shortlisted for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship in 2016 and a Pushcart Prize in 2015. His conversations appear in Africa in Dialogue, Bakwa, SPRINNG, and Dwartonline. He is the curator 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. He studied history and literature at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is currently completing a postgraduate programme in African Studies, and teaches English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. When bored, he 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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