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Image from Bella Naija via Google.

The Nigerian poet-actress Titilope Sonuga‘s third collection of poetry This Is How We Disappear, which explores the literal and metaphoric disappearance of women, is inspired by the Chibok Girls: the April 2014 abduction of 276 girls by the terrorist group Boko Haram. Its Canada-based publisher Write Bloody North recently signed a distribution deal with the Lagos-based Roving Heights Bookstore which will see the collection available in Nigeria from 13 June 2019.

Here is a description of This Is How We Disappear:

On the night of 14 April 2014, 276 girls were kidnapped from their boarding school in Chibok, Nigeria by the terrorist organization Boko Haram. Before the global outrage and the viral Bring Back Our Girls movement pleading for their return, there was a deafening silence. This is How We Disappear is Titilope Sonuga’s reckoning with this quiet vanishing while living in Lagos, Nigeria at the time of the abductions.

With powerful grace, she reaches into a larger truth about the many ways a woman can disappear; into her body, into her mind, into the earth, uncovering a culture of silence that spans generations.

From Nigeria to Canada and back again, Sonuga charts her own migration patterns across the globe, negotiating loss, grief and the journey from girlhood into womanhood. With the distinctive music of Sonuga’s poetry and the rhythm of the oral traditions from which she emerges, This is How We Disappear is a celebration of the legacy of womanhood, magic making and shapeshifting as daring acts of survival.

Titilope Sonuga. Image from her website.

In a 2017 interview with Africa in Dialogue, titled “The Disappearances of Women,” Sonuga expressed the concerns that inform This Is How We Disappear, elaborating the female experience in a world that forces invisibility on them, and of the ways through which we channel pathways to our truest selves. The conversation was named in Brittle Paper‘s Notable Pieces of 2017.

Titilope Sonuga’s debut poetry collection, the self-published Down To Earth (2011), won her the 2011 Canadian Authors’ Association Emerging Writer Award. She followed it up with Abscess (Geko Publishing, 2014). The first poet to appear at a Nigerian presidential inauguration, performing her “We Are Ready” at the May 2015 ceremony, her work has appeared in Brittle Paper and The Great Black North: Contemporary African Canadian Poetry, and was translated into Italian for El-Ghibli Magazine, and into German for the Berlin International Poetry Festival. She read alongside Sonia Sanchez, Jayne Cortez, Yusef Komunyakaa, Bassey Ikpi and Chinua Achebe at the first poetry showcase of the Achebe Colloquium on Africa at Brown University. She was shortlisted for the Africa Center Artist in Residency (AIR) program in 2015 and was an Open Society (OSIWA) Foundation Resident Poet on Goree Island.

A speaker at TedxEdmonton in 2014 and the 2015-2016 ambassador for Intel Corporation’s She Will Connect program in Nigeria, she has appeared in the NdaniTV hit television series Gidi Up. She received the 2018 Edmonton Arts Council Large Project Grant to produce her next spoken word album Swim.

Congratulations to Titilope Sonuga.

Pre-order This Is How We Disappear HERE.

 

Note: For media inquiries or review copies of the book please contact: Brad Morden at Write Bloody North (writebloodynorth@gmail.com) or Tobi Eyinade at Roving Heights Bookstore (hello@rhbooks.com.ng).

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Otosirieze 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 combined English and History at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is completing a postgraduate degree in African Studies, and 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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