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."

Sarah Ladipo Manyika.

The Stoop is a podcast that seeks out interesting but often un-publicized stories. It is hosted by Sudanese-American journalist Hana Baba and fellow San Francisco-based journalist Leila Day. For its Episode 15, titled “The African Writer’s Dilemma,” it invited Nigerian novelist Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Zambian writer Namwali Serpell, and Motswana writer and speaker Siyanda Mohutsiwa to discuss African books in white markets.

It is an enlightening conversation that touches on book covers, stereotypes in marketing African books, the problem of asking African writers about their intended audience, the small space carved out for black women even in literary podcasting, and the fresh ideas of Cassava Republic, “the BET of publishing.” They also discuss literary prizes, particularly the colonially tinged Caine Prize events, which are held in London because, as Serpell is informed on a panel, “that’s where the money is.”

Sarah Ladipo Manyika—recently the subject of a personal essay by the Zimbabwean novelist Tendai Huchu—is the author of the novels In Dependence (2008) and Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun (2016). The former, following its inclusion in the syllabus for Nigeria’s secondary school certificate examinations, and ensured by its publishers Cassava Republic’s piracy-beating tactics, has sold more than 1.7 millions copies in the country, as at November of last year. The latter became the first African novel to be shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize.

Namwali Serpell.

Namwali Serpell‘s first published story, “Muzungu,” was selected for The Best American Short Stories 2009 and shortlisted for the 2010 Caine Prize for African Writing. Her story, “The Sack,” won the 2015 Caine Prize. In 2011, she received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award. In 2014, she was chosen as one of the Africa 39. Her first novel, The Old Drift, is forthcoming with Hogarth Press (Penguin Random House) in 2018. An associate professor of English at UC Berkeley, her first book of literary criticism, Seven Modes of Uncertainty, was published in 2014 by Harvard University Press.

Siyanda Mohutsiwa. Photo credit: Ryan Lash / TED.

Siyanda Mohutsiwa is a Motswana writer and speaker best known for launching the viral 2015 Twitter hashtag #IfAfricaWasABar, and for her TED Talks: “Is Africa’s Future Online?” (2015) and “How Young Africans Found a Voice on Twitter” (2016). A 2016 essay she published on OkayAfrica, titled “I’m Done with African Immigrant Literature,” caused some controversy in literary circles.

Listen to the conversation HERE.

Tags: , , ,

About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, literary journalist, and Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review, Transition, and in an anthology of the Gerald Kraak Award 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. He attended the 2018 Miles Morland Foundation Creative Writing Workshop. 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 and taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. He is currently completing a postgraduate programme in African Studies. He has completed a collection of short stories, YOU SING OF A LONGING, and is working on a novel. He is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. When bored, the boy just Googles Rihanna. Find him at otosirieze.com.

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

Read an Excerpt from Tsitsi Dangarembga’s New Novel, This Mournable Body

this mournable body - tsitsi dangrembga

Earlier this month, we brought news of the publication of This Mournable Body, the final novel in Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Tambudzai Trilogy […]

Teju Cole’s Response to His Work Being Loved by Philip Roth and V.S. Naipaul Should Motivate All Writers

teju cole sydney morning herald

Teju Cole is a Great Essayist. We know. The essayist-novelist-photographer-art critic was recently in Lagos, we reported last month, for […]

Ama Ata Aidoo, Haruna Ayesha Attah Among Guests for 2018 Accra International Book Festival

haruna ayesha attah

The 2018 Accra International Book Festival will be held from 6-9 September, to coincide with the International Literacy Day on September 8. The […]

#SSDA2018 | Review of Michael Yee’s God’s Skin | Moso Victor Sematlane

ID - SSDA copy

We announced that we would begin publishing reviews of the top three stories from the Short Story Day Africa Prize. The stories, […]

Ahmed Ismail Yusuf’s Story Collection, The Lion’s Binding Oath, Shows Somalis Living and Loving in a Time of War

AHMED ISMAIL YUSUF - isthmus

Earlier this week, we brought news of Reneilwe Malatji’s short story collection Love Interrupted, published by Catalyst Press. But it […]

Why E.C. Osondu Got an Invitation to Meet V.S. Naipaul but Didn’t

vs naipaul-irish examiner-ec osondu-afridiaspora

Following V.S. Naipaul’s passing, Nigerian writer and Caine Prize 2009 winner E.C. Osondu has paid him tribute on Facebook. Osondu made […]

Thanks for signing up!

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

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.