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."

Imbolo Mbue.

Million-dollar novelist Imbolo Mbue has a new short story out in Bakwa. Titled “A Reversal,” the story is 596 words of loss and belonging and fear. The work, Bakwa states, was first read by Mbue at the 29th Annual PEN/Faulkner Ceremony in Washington, D.C., on October 16, 2017, where her novel Behold the Dreamers was honoured with the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction—she is the first African to win the prize.

Bakwa is edited by Dzekashu MacViban, and it is fitting that Mbue, whose first short story appeared in The Threepenny Review in 2015, will have her second appear in a magazine in her home country of Cameroon, where she is a native of the seaside town of Limbe. In August, she was interviewed by our editor Ainehi Edoro for our inaugural “The Ask Series.” Her novel, Behold the Dreamers, was most recently longlisted for the 2018 International Dublin Literary Award.

Here is an excerpt of “A Reversal.” 

*

-When I die, do not take me back home, Papa said. Bury me right here.

I sat up on my bed and rubbed my eyes, briefly looking at my phone.

-Papa, I whispered. What’s going on? It’s two o’clock in the morning.

-I needed you to know this right now, he said. I can’t sleep. Whatever you do, do not take my body back to Cameroon.

I looked through the darkness of my bedroom, the light of a passing ambulance briefly illuminating it. I reached for the lamp but dropped my hand, deciding the darkness would be best for a conversation such as this.

-What did the doctor say at your check up yesterday? I asked. Your blood pressure medicine stopped working again?

-No, nothing like that. I’m fine. He says the way I’m going I may live to see the day when people go over to Mars just to have dinner.

I did not laugh. Neither did he, though he’d clearly made the joke for his own benefit.

-Papa, I have to be at work at 6am, so please tell me right now why you’re calling me in the middle of the night to give me this strange instruction.

He didn’t immediately respond.

-Are you going to tell me now, or do you want me to drive to Brooklyn tomorrow…

He sighed.

-I just…

I continued waiting.

-I want to remain here with you and your sister. I have nothing left for me in Cameroon.

-There’s nothing left for any of us in Cameroon, Papa. Except Mama’s grave. And the graves of Mammi and Big Papa. Are you telling me you do not want to be buried next to them?

– Please do not try to shame me. I do not need any of that.

Continue reading HERE.

Tags: , , ,

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.

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."

Archives

Watch This Poetry Dance Film of Kayo Chingonyi’s “Kumukanda”

kayo chingonyi - the guardian

Zambian poet Kayo Chingonyi’s first full-length collection, Kumukanda, is receiving praise. The Guardian has hailed its “lyrical elegance” and “many […]

Photos | Nommo Awards 2017: How Africa’s First Ever Speculative Fiction Awards Ceremony Happened

IMG_7063

The announcement of the winners of the inaugural Nommo Awards took place at the ongoing 2017 Ake Arts and Book […]

Goodreads Awards 2017: Vote Chimamanda Adichie’s “Dear Ijeawele” and Nnedi Okorafor’s “Home” in the Final Round

Nnedi-Okorafor BELLA NAIJA

Earlier this month we announced the online voting for Goodreads’ 2017 awards. The first round saw nominations for four authors having massively […]

#AkeFest2017 | Follow Brittle Paper’s Coverage of Ake Arts and Book Festival

ake festival (1)

  Ake Arts and Book Festival is happening in Abeokuta, Nigeria—has been happening since 14 November, to end on 18 […]

Opportunity for Writers and Visual Artists | Apply for the 2017 Artists in Residency Programme

Applications are open for the 2017 Artists in Residency (AIR) programme, an initiative of Africa Centre “seeking high calibre African artists, in […]

South African Literary Awards 2017: All the Winners

The winners of the 2017 South African Literary Awards have been announced. Here they are, with excerpts from their citations. […]

Thanks for signing up!

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

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.