Djiboutian novelist and academic Abdourahman A. Waberi has a new book in the works. The English translation of the novel Why Do You Dance When You Walk will be published on September 27th by Cassava Republic. The book is translated by Nicola Bell and David Bell and explores disability and parental love.

You may have seen Waberi’s name across our headlines recently. In late December, he was named one of 18 winners the 2021 English PEN Translates Award for Why Do You Dance When You Walk. He is the author of over 10 works ranging from novels, essays, poetry, and short stories. He currently teaches French and Francophone Studies and Creative Writing at George Washington University.

Why Do You Dance When You Walk is the story of a man who recounts his life to his daughter after she asks about his disability. Mohammed Aïssaoui, a writer for Le Figaro Magazine, remarks that the novel is the moving confession of a father who explains his handicap to his daughter…This beautiful dance lesson between a father and his daughter shows that literature is also an art of transmission.”

Read the book description below:

“One morning in Paris on the way to kindergarten, a little girl asks her father “Papa, why do you dance when you walk?” The question is innocent and serious. Why does her father limp, why can’t he ride a bicycle or a scooter? Her father feels compelled to answer, to bring back the memories of his childhood in Djibouti and tell her what happened to his leg. Waberi remembers the shifting desert of Djibouti, the Red Sea, the shanty roofs of the houses in his neighborhood, an immense loneliness and some unforgettable characters: Papa-la-Tige who sold baubles to tourists, his tough, silent mother Zahra who trembled, and his grandmother nicknamed Cochise. He tells of the moment when his life changed forever and the ensuing struggle that made him a man, a man who knows the value of poetry, silence and freedom, a man who is still dancing.”

Congratulations to Waberi! Stay tuned for more details.