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."

Stay with Me, Ayobami Adebayo’s first novel, has been a major success.

The New York Times Book Review‘s prestigious 100 Notable Books of 2017 list has been released, and it includes Ayobami Adebayo’s novel Stay with Me, Peter Kimani’s novel Dance of the Jakaranda, and Trevor Noah’s autobiography Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood.

Ayobami Adebayo’s Stay with Me is described as “a portrait of a marriage in Nigeria beginning in the politically tumultous 1980s.” Here is a description on Amazon:

Yejide and Akin have been married since they met and fell in love at university. Though many expected Akin to take several wives, he and Yejide have always agreed: polygamy is not for them. But four years into their marriage–after consulting fertility doctors and healers, trying strange teas and unlikely cures–Yejide is still not pregnant. She assumes she still has time–until her family arrives on her doorstep with a young woman they introduce as Akin’s second wife. Furious, shocked, and livid with jealousy, Yejide knows the only way to save her marriage is to get pregnant. Which, finally, she does–but at a cost far greater than she could have dared to imagine. An electrifying novel of enormous emotional power, Stay With Me asks how much we can sacrifice for the sake of family.

Peter Kimani. Photo from The New York Times via Google.

Peter Kimani’s Dance of the Jakaranda, published this year by Akashic, is described as “funny, perceptive and ambitious work of historical fiction by a Kenyan poet and novelist” who “explores his country’s colonial past.” Here is a description from its publishers:

Set in the shadow of Kenya’s independence from Great Britain, Dance of the Jakaranda reimagines the special circumstances that brought black, brown, and white men together to lay the railroad that heralded the birth of the nation.

The novel traces the lives and loves of three men—preacher Richard Turnbull, the colonial administrator Ian McDonald, and Indian technician Babu Salim—whose lives intersect when they are implicated in the controversial birth of a child. Years later, when Babu’s grandson, Rajan—who ekes out a living by singing Babu’s epic tales of the railway’s construction—accidentally kisses a mysterious stranger in a dark nightclub, the encounter provides the spark to illuminate the three men’s shared, murky past.

With its riveting multiracial, multicultural cast and diverse literary allusions, Dance of the Jakaranda could well be a story of globalization. Yet the novel is firmly anchored in the African oral storytelling tradition, its language a dreamy, exalted, and earthy mix that creates new thresholds of identity, providing a fresh metaphor for race in contemporary Africa.

Trevor Noah.

Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood is described as being “about growing up in South Africa under apartheid, and about the country’s rocky transition into the post-apartheid era in the 1990s.” Here is a description from Amazon:

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.

Congratulations to Ayobami Adebayo, Peter Kimani and Trevor Noah.

See the full list HERE.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Otosirieze Nnaemekaram 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 for which he was shortlisted ("You Sing of a Longing," 2017). His work has further been shortlisted for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship in 2016 and a Pushcart Prize in 2015. He attended the 2018 Miles Morland Foundation Creative Writing Workshop facilitated by Giles Foden. 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 cities in Nigeria. 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 Pop Culture, and teaches English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. He has completed a collection of short stories and is working on a 600-page novel. When bored, he just Googles Rihanna.

No comments yet.

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."


The Caine Prize Is Alright. Right?


Something is happening at the Caine Prize. Here at Brittle Paper, our role has been to support African literary institutions […]

Chike Frankie Edozien’s Lives of Great Men Is a Finalist for the 2018 Publishing Triangle Awards

lives of great men copies

Chike Frankie Edozien’s Lives of Great Men is a finalist for the Publishing Triangle Awards, in the Randy Shilts Award […]

Freedom | Sobantu Mzwakali | Fiction


THERE IS NO need to see the sun in these intense blue skies.  It is foreboding, ominous and could be […]

From “Logarhythms” to “The Hate Artist”: Texts, Sub-texts, and the Art of Naming in Niran Okewole’s Poetry | Tosin Gbogi

the hate artist

Logarhythms is Niran Okewole’s first poetry collection, and it is with this that he established himself as a poet to […]

Lesley Nneka Arimah and Zinzi Clemmons Are Finalists for the $35,000 Aspen Words Literary Prize

zinzi clemmons - black cultural events

Lesley Nneka Arimah’s short story collection, What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky, and Zinzi Clemmons’ novel, […]

For Women’s History Month, Enkare Review Is Listing African Literary Women Who Have Inspired Them


For March 2018’s Women’s History Month, Enkare Review magazine is listing the 30 African literary women who have inspired them. […]

Thanks for signing up!

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

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.