Literature

5 Books by African Writers You Need To Read This Summer

Add these books to your summer reading list.

It's summer now, the days are finally longer and its warm enough to enjoy some reading outside. Here is a list of books by African writers that have recently come out this May and June, just in time to be added to your summer reading list.

Since the novel often dominates discussions about African literature, we've added some poetry, nonfiction, and short stories for those looking to branch out into different genres.

Take a look at the five books by African writers you need to read this summer below.


1. House of Stone by Novuyo Rosa Tshuma

Book cover via Atlantic Books

You need an epic story if you're Zimbabwean and your novel is called House of Stone. Novuyo Tshuma gives just that in her new book that spans 50 years, shifting how we read, invent, and rediscover national histories. The book follows Zamani, a lodger in the Mlambo's house, who helps the Mlambo's search for their missing son Bukhosi and in the process ends up inhabiting the Mlambo's home and their family history.

The book comes out in the UK today, June 7, and in the U.S. in January 2019. You can order your copy here.

2. These Bones Will Rise Again by Panashe Chigumadzi

Book cover via Indigo Press.

This is the summer for Zimbabwean literature. Panashe Chigumadzi is known for her debut novel Sweet Medicine (Blackbird Books, 2015) and her nonfiction essays for Chimurenga, For Harriet, and the Washington Post. Next week, she will publish her first book of nonfiction that reflects on Zimbabwe's recent "couplite" by intersecting national history with family history.

The book is out June 14. You can preorder it here.

3. Lagos Noir edited by Chris Abani

Book cover via Akashic books.

Many stories have been written about the continent's largest megacity Lagos, but let's be honest—you can never have enough stories about Lagos. Hot off the press this week, the anthology is edited by acclaimed poet and novelist Chris Abani and features 13 stories by writers including E.C. Osondu, Nnedi Okorafor, Jude Dibia, Chika Unigwe, A. Igoni Barrett, Sarah Ladipo Manyika, and Leye Adenle.

Get a copy here.

4. Milk Fever by Megan Ross

Book cover via UHlanga Press.

Get some poetry into your summer reading and check out South African writer Megan Ross' debut collection Milk Fever. Ross' collection came out last month and was published by the small Cape Town press Uhlanga.

The description of the book reads: "Hallucinatory, image-wet, and navigating the eternal tides of spirit and body, Milk Fever is a chimeric dreamscape in which a woman reconfigures, remembers and rebirths herself."

Get your copy here.

5. Sunny and the Mysteries of Osisi by Nnedi Okorafor

Book cover via Cassava Republic.

We could all use a little magic this summer, and there is no better place to get it than Nnedi Okorafor's sequel to What Sunny Saw in Flames, a story about a girl navigating her magical powers with her friends Olu, Chichi, and Sasha. On May 28, Okorafor added to the series with her new book Sunny and the Mysteries of Osisi. What is better than taking a literal approach to your summer reading and joining Sunny on her adventures?

Get your copy here.

popular

Janet Jackson Returns With Afrobeats-Inspired Song & Video 'Made For Now' Featuring Daddy Yankee

The icon's latest is a nod to the sound, fashion and culture of the diaspora.

Ms. Jackson is back.

The iconic artist returns with her first single since the release of her 2015 album Unbreakable, and it's a timely nod to the "made for now" influence of afrobeats fashion, sound and culture.

On "Made For Now," which features Puerto Rican reggaeton titan Daddy Yankee, Janet Jackson does what she's done successfully so many times throughout her decades-long career: provide an infectious, party-worthy tune that's fun and undeniably easy to dance to. "If you're living for the moment, don't stop," Jackson sings atop production which fuses dancehall, reggaeton and afrobeats.

The New York-shot music video is just as lively, filled with eye-catching diasporic influences, from the wax-print ensembles and beads both Janet and her dancers wear to the choreographed afrobeats-tinged dance numbers, even hitting the Shoki at one point in the video. The train of dancers travel throughout the streets of Brooklyn, taking over apartment buildings and rooftops with spirited moves.

It's obvious that Jackson has been studying and drawing inspiration from the culture for some time now. She even hit the Akwaaba dance, popularized by Mr Eazi, during her Icon Award performance at this year's Billboard Music Awards.

The bouncing video, directed by Dave Meyers, features contributions from a number of creatives from Africa and the diaspora who were involved in the creation of the video, including designer Claude Lavie Kameni and choreographer Omari Mizrahi. Ghanaian health guru, Coach Cass pointed out some of the many dancers involved in the production on Instagram, who hail from Ghana, Nigeria, Trinidad, Grenada and the US.

Ahead of the video's release, it garnered attention on social media when Jackson was spotted filming in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, wearing what many thought was a questionable fashion ensemble. The outfit in question only makes a small appearance in the video, and we're glad to see that Janet's other looks appear, at least slightly, more coordinated.

Watch the music video for "Made for Now" below. The singer is set to perform the song with Daddy Yankee live for the first time tonight on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, so be ready!

Audio

You Need to Hear Juls' New Single 'Saa Ara'


New hip-hop and highlife grooves from the celebrated UK-based Ghanaian producer.

By merging the diverse influence of growing up in Accra and East London, Juls has managed to cultivate a hybrid afrobeats style that has set him apart from the rest.

For his latest single, "Saa Ara," he teams up with award-winning rapper Kwesi Arthur and gifted lyricist Akan.

The brilliant fusion of vintage highlife instrumentals and booming hip-hop beats, along with Kwesi Arthur's lively chorus and Akan's fiery delivery gives the song a very spiritual and classical feel.

Soothe your soul this weekend with these tasteful sounds from Juls.

Listen to "Saa Ara" by Juls featuring Kwesi Arthur and Akan below.

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News Brief

FIFA Refuses To Meet with Nigeria's Sports Minister as Ghana Takes Steps to Avoid Ban

This could jeopardize Nigeria's qualifier against Seychelles in September, while the Ghanaian government has pledged not to dissolve its football association.

In lieu of the ultimatums Nigeria and Ghana's football associations faced from FIFA, one country is on its way to dodge the threat of being banned, while the other is not going down without a fight.

FIFA has refused a proposed meeting with Nigeria's sports minister, Solomon Dalung, to discuss problems in the country's football federation, BBC Sport reports. They say their leadership and the FIFA president is unwilling to meet during the proposed time period.

FIFA is giving the NFF until August 20 for Chris Giwa, who was acknowledged by the courts as the president of the federation, to leave the NFF offices.

Giwa's lawyer Ardzard Habilla asserts that FIFA can't ban Nigeria as the federation's issues need to be sorted out internally by the country's judiciary.

Habilla questions, "Do we take it that FIFA laws are superior to the judgment of the highest court in our land—the Supreme Court, and has FIFA elevated itself before the constitution of Nigeria?"

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