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.

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Artwork: Barthélémy Toguo Lockdown Selfportrait 10, 2020. Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co

1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair Goes to Paris in 2021

The longstanding celebration of African art will be hosted by Parisian hot spot Christie's for the first time ever.

In admittedly unideal circumstances, 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair will be touching French soil in 2021. The internationally celebrated art fair devoted to contemporary art from Africa and the African diaspora will be hosted in Paris, France from January 20 - 23. With COVID-19 still having its way around the globe, finding new ways to connect is what it's all about and 1-54 is certainly taking the innovative steps to keep African art alive and well.
In partnership with Christie's, the in-person exhibits will take place at the auction house's city HQ at Avenue Matignon, while 20 international exhibitors will be featured online at Christies.com. And the fun doesn't stop there as the collaboration has brought in new ways to admire the talent from participating galleries from across Africa and Europe. The fair's multi-disciplinary program of talks, screenings, performances, workshops, and readings are set to excite and entice revelers.

Artwork: Delphine Desane Deep Sorrow, 2020. Courtesy Luce Gallery


The tech dependant program, curated by Le 18, a multi-disciplinary art space in Marrakech medina, will see events take place during the Parisian run fair, followed by more throughout February.
This year's 1-54 online will be accessible to global visitors virtually, following the success of the 2019's fair in New York City and London in 2020. In the wake of COVID-19 related regulations and public guidelines, 1-54 in collaboration with Christie's Paris is in compliance with all national regulations, strict sanitary measures, and security.

Artwork: Cristiano Mongovo Murmurantes Acrilico Sobre Tela 190x200cm 2019


1-54 founding director Touria El Glaoui commented, "Whilst we're sad not to be able to go ahead with the fourth edition of 1-54 Marrakech in February as hoped, we are incredibly excited to have the opportunity to be in Paris this January with our first-ever fair on French soil thanks to our dedicated partners Christie's. 1-54's vision has always been to promote vibrant and dynamic contemporary art from a diverse set of African perspectives and bring it to new audiences, and what better way of doing so than to launch an edition somewhere completely new. Thanks to the special Season of African Culture in France, 2021 is already set to be a great year for African art in the country so we are excited to be playing our part and look forward, all being well, to welcoming our French friends to Christie's and many more from around the world to our online fair in January."

Julien Pradels, General Director of Christie's France, said, "Christie's is delighted to announce our second collaboration with 1-54, the Contemporary African Art Fair, following a successful edition in London this October. Paris, with its strong links to the continent, is a perfect place for such a project and the additional context of the delayed Saison Africa 2020 makes this partnership all the more special. We hope this collaboration will prove a meaningful platform for the vibrant African art scene and we are confident that collectors will be as enthusiastic to see the works presented, as we are."


Artwork: Kwesi Botchway Metamorphose in July, 2020. Courtesy of the artist and Gallery 1957


Here's a list of participating galleries to be on the lookout for:

Galleries

31 PROJECT (Paris, France)
50 Golborne (London, United Kingdom)
Dominique Fiat (Paris, France)
Galerie 127 (Marrakech, Morocco)
Galerie Anne de Villepoix (Paris, France)
Galerie Cécile Fakhoury (Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire/ Dakar, Senegal)
Galerie Eric Dupont (Paris, France)
Galerie Lelong & Co. (Paris, France / New York, USA)
Galerie Nathalie Obadia (Paris, France / Brussels, Belgium)
Galleria Continua (Beijing, China / Havana, Cuba / Les Moulins, France / San Gimignano, Italy / Rome, Italy)
Gallery 1957 (Accra, Ghana / London, United Kingdom)
Loft Art Gallery (Casablanca, Morocco)

Luce Gallery (Turin, Italy)
MAGNIN-A (Paris, France)
Nil Gallery (Paris, France)
POLARTICS (Lagos, Nigeria)
SEPTIEME Gallery (Paris, France)
This is Not a White Cube (Luanda, Angola) THK Gallery (Cape Town, South Africa) Wilde (Geneva, Switzerland)

For more info visit 1-54

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