Wanjikũ Wa Ngũgĩ has a new book on the way. The news of her book, which she shared on social media, comes in the heels of her father Ngugi wa Thiongo getting his first International Booker nomination. Seasons in Hippoland is being published by Seagull Press and set for an October release.
Seasons in Hippoland is set in a fictional country named Victoriana and tells the story of a girl whose discovery of a porcelain with healing powers sets in motion a series of events that forces a community to come to terms with its assumptions about truth and reality. The novel is magical realist and explores the intersection of power and language. The cover art is striking and speaks to the novel’s engagement with issues having to do with reality, language, and perception.
Read the synopsis:
Victoriana is a country ruled by an Emperor-for-Life who is dying from an illness not officially acknowledged in a land where truth and facts are decided by the Emperor. The elite goes along with the charade. Their children are conditioned to conform. It is a land of truthful lies, where reality has uncertain meaning. Mumbi, a rebellious child from the capital of Westville, and her brother are sent to live in rural Hippoland. But what was meant to be a punishment turns out to be a glorious discovery of the magic of the land, best captured in the stories their eccentric aunt Sara tells them. Most captivating to the children is the tale of a porcelain bowl supposed to possess healing powers. Returning to Westville as an adult, Mumbi spreads the story throughout the city and to the entire country. Exhausted by years of endless bleak lies, the people are fascinated by the mystery of the porcelain bowl. When word of its healing powers reaches the Emperor himself, he commands Mumbi to find it for him—with dramatic consequences for everyone in Victoriana. Captivating and enchanting, Seasons in Hippoland plays with the tradition of magic realism. Every image in this novel is a story, and every story is a call for resistance to anyone who tries to confine our imagination or corrupt our humanity.
This is Wanjiku’s second novel. Her first novel titled The Fall of Saints was published in 2014 by Atria Books. An established figure in the African literary scene, Wanjiku has held various editorial positions including, being on the editorial board of Matatu: Journal for African Literature and Culture and Society and serving as editor at Africa World Press.
Preorder Seasons in Hippoland here.