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Aminatta Forna.

Among writers of her generation, Aminatta Forna belongs in the higher ranks of critical acclaim. With her work translated into sixteen languages, she has been described, by the London Evening Standard, as “arguably the best writer of fiction” “about war and its aftermath.” She has also been praised in similar terms by the judges of the 2011 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, as being “among the most talented writers in literature today.” A 2017 recipient of the Officer of the British Empire (OBE), Aminatta’s body of work has been honoured several times. In 2014, she won the $150,000 Windham-Campbell Literature Prize, awarded annually by Yale University. In 2016, she was a finalist for the 2016 Neustadt Award.

The Lannan Visiting Chair of Poetics at Georgetown University and Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, Forna’s fourth novel—and fifth book—is titled Happiness and will arrive on 6 March 2018. Already being hailed as “breathtaking,” it will be released in the UK by Bloomsbury Publishing and in the US by Atlantic Monthly Press.

Here is a description from fantasticfiction.com.

Waterloo Bridge, London. Two strangers collide. Attila, a Ghanaian psychiatrist, and Jean, an American studying the habits of urban foxes. From this chance encounter in the midst of the rush of a great city, numerous moments of connections span out and interweave, bringing disparate lives together.

Attila has arrived in London with two tasks: to deliver a keynote speech on trauma and to check up on the daughter of friends, his ‘niece’, Ama, who hasn’t called home in a while. It soon emerges that she has been swept up in an immigration crackdown – and now her young son Tano is missing.

When by chance Attila bumps into Jean again, she joins him in his search for Tano, mobilizing into action the network she has built up, mainly from the many West African immigrants working London’s myriad streets, of volunteer fox-spotters: security guards, hotel doormen, traffic wardens. All unite to help and as the search continues, a deepening friendship between Attila and Jean unfolds.

In this delicate yet powerful novel of loves lost and new, of past griefs and of the hidden side of a multicultural metropolis, Aminatta Forna asks us to consider the values of the society we live in, our co-existence with one another and all living creatures – and the true nature of happiness.

Forna’s first book, The Devil that Danced on the Water (HarperCollins, 2002), is a memoir of her father’s execution on false treason charges during the civil war in Sierra Leone. A runner-up for the 2003 Samuel Johnson Prize, it was serialised on BBC Radio and in The Sunday Times and picked by Barnes & Noble for their Discover New Writers series.

Her second book and first novel, Ancestor Stones (Bloomsbury, 2006), follows four women in a polygamous family in an unnamed West African country that has been suggested to be Sierra Leone. It won the 2007 Hurston Wright Legacy Award for Debut Fiction, the 2008 Liberaturpreis, and the 2010 Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize, and was nominated for the 2007 International Dublin IMPAC Award. A The  New York Times Editor’s Choice book, it made the Washington Post‘s Best Novels of 2006 list as well as The Listener Magazine‘s Best 10 Books of 2006.

Her third book and second novel, The Memory of Love (Bloomsbury, 2010), witnesses three lives—a dying man, a psychologist, and a doctor—colliding in a web of “friendship, war, and obsessive love.” The winner of the 2011 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book, it was a finalist for the 2011 Orange Prize for Fiction, the 2011 Warwick Prize, the 2012 IMPAC Award, and the 2013 European Prize for Fiction. A The New York Times Editor’s Choice, it was chosen as one of the Best Books of the Year by the Financial Times, the Sunday Telegraph, and Times newspapers.

Her fourth book and third novel, The Hired Man (Bloomsbury, 2010), is a study of an Englishwoman and her two children who buy a farmhouse in a village in Croatia, a country torn by war, leaving the characters trapped in a circle of betrayal and secrets. Nominated for the 2014 IMPAC Award, it was a 2013 Barnes & Nobles Critics’ Choice and was named one of the best books of 2013 by The Boston GlobeThe San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, The Independent, and The Australian and the NZ Listener.

We look forward to its publication. Pre-order Aminatta Forna’s Happiness HERE.

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. He is a judge for the 2018/19 Gerald Kraak Prize and the 2019 Miles Morland Writing Scholarships. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He attended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he got an M.A. in African Studies and a combined honours B.A. in History & International Studies and English & Literary Studies. He taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

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