Bakwa Books has acquired the English translation rights to Les Jours Viennent et Passent, a novel by Cameroonian writer Hemley Boum.

Dzekashu MacViban, founding editor of Bakwa Magazine and Bakwa Books, announced that Bakwa will publish and distribute the English translation of the book in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2022.

In Les Jours Viennent et Passent, three generations of women tell the tormented history of Cameroonian families caught in successive and destructive wars.

The novel will be translated by Nchanji Njamnsi, who is an alumnus of the Literary Translation Workshop organized in Cameroon in 2019 by Bakwa and the University of Bristol.

Hemley Boum grew up in Cameroon and now lives in France. Her previous novel Les Maquisards was praised by critics and won the Prix du livre engagé de la Cene Littéraire in 2016. In 2005, she was awarded the prestigious Grand Prix Littéraire de l’Afrique noire.

Commenting on the translation and publication of her book by Bakwa, Hemley Boum said:

“I have long lamented the isolation that the languages in which we write impose within the African literary space. Often, and absurdly so, such isolation prevails within the same country, as is the case with Cameroon.

The distancing that results therefrom prevents us from pulling our ideas and our experiences together, and forging inclusive and cross-cutting collaborations and projects. It excludes us from an imaginary that inhabits communities within which we have so much in common. We have been cut off from our own, and therefore from a part of ourselves, for too long. Language—meant to be a link, a bridge between beings—becomes a difficult hurdle to overcome, especially in this context.

As such, Bakwa’s project is a magnificent response to this issue. It unlocks paths that should never have been closed and presents an opportunity for a renewed fraternity.

Bakwa’s work is necessary and of the essence in an Africa that, more than ever before, longs to build herself, write herself and portray herself as the subject of her own destiny, and no longer accepts to be relegated to the fringes of a literature that speaks of her but not to her.”

This is a big step for Bakwa Books. Congrats to Bakwa and Hemley Boum for what looks like great partnership.