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It’s All Poetry and Pretty Sentences Inside Ben Okri’s Head

What do authors think about when they read their own novels? Follow me inside Ben Okri’s head and see for yourself. On a copy of The Famished Road recently donated to English Pen, Okri left revealing marginal comments that give us a sense of how he processed his own writing. For example, on page 500:  The last […]

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AFRICANS ON WRITING: Chimamanda On What To Read When You Write

  John Williams: You teach writing in your home country. What are two or three principles you think it’s important to instill in young writers? Chimamanda Adichie: This is what I tell my students: read widely, read what you don’t like and read what you like, and try not to consciously write like either. And […]

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Letter From An Editor To An Author: Books Don’t Sell On Merit Alone

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No matter how great a novel is, it will not sell itself. It needs to be peddled! But authors cannot rely on publishers to do all the work of getting the word out and getting the work into the reader’s hand. Authors have a part to play in the marketing of their books. South African […]

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The Saga Continues: Maja-Pearce Speaks Out On His Quarrel With Soyinka

The most recent episode in what seems like an old quarrel between Wole Soyinka and Adewale Maja-Pearce began with Soyinka’s infamous Sahara Reporters interview. We have always known that Soyinka is extraordinarily gifted when it comes to insulting people. Little surprise at the bitting and borderline cruel remarks targeted at Maja-Pearce for allegedly misrepresenting Soyinka’s […]

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“Because There Are No Words”: Noviolet Bulawayo on Her Father’s Silence About Her Writing

I always wondered what my pops, who is 74, thought about my writing coz we’ve never addressed it like that. I mean we talk on the phone and trip and laugh and gossip and I get schooled and scolded if its relevant, and he tells me stories etc, but zip nada about my writing. Even […]

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AFRICANS ON WRITING: Igoni Barret on How to Write the Tech-Conscious Story

Adam Segal: In many of your stories, you handle technology with a real elegance. “Dream Chaser” and “Trophy” confront tech head-on: Internet cafes, incomprehensible tech jargon, a cell phone that won’t stop ringing. Elsewhere we have a Facebook friend rendezvous and a character downloading pop hits straight to his phone. And yet it never distracts…Do […]

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An Adoring Fan Writes About Meeting Teju Cole

Ha! Someone has a devoted admirer. A fan writes about his first meeting with Teju Cole of Open City fame. You don’t have to read too closely to catch the hint of unwitting adoration despite the writer’s restrained account of the experience. Cute certainly. But reading this got me thinking about the world of African […]

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PHOTOS: Celebrating African Fiction! Bibi Bakare, Billy Kahora, Igoni Barrett at the Lauch of The Etisalat Prize for Literature

It’s been a great couple of weeks for African fiction. I would have been quite content with Teju Cole winning the International Literary Prize and Lauren Beukes getting the big Hollywood break. But two days ago, the Etisalat Prize for Literature was launched at The Wheatbaker in Lagos to much excitement in the African literary […]

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Kwame Dawes’s “Yard Boy”: A Powerful Poem for Our Moment

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Kwame Dawes recently wrote a poem titled “Yard Boy” that speaks to the recent events surrounding the death of George […]

Teju Cole’s Spotify Playlists Offer Musical Solace for These Times

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Among Teju Cole’s many talents is his ability to curate music that captures a mood or even the feel of […]

Petina Gappah to Write Play About the Censorship History of Dambudzo Marechera’s Novel Black Sunlight

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Petina Gappah recently announced that she was writing a play that focuses on “the 1982 banning and unbanning” of Dambudzo […]

Oh, Blessed Bri’Land | Jedah Mayberry | Fiction

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Bri’Land glistened at me, her brilliant display of pink sand shimmering in delight.  It would seem that I had finally, […]

Books That Go with Wine and Books That Don’t

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The beverages most associated with reading are tea and coffee. But many readers love to cozy up in bed with […]

In This House | Inok Rosemary | Poetry

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  In this house, we sift our words, Never letting the walls hear what they shouldn’t. The fear of their […]

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