News Brief
Photo by Ulf Andersen/Getty Images.

Cameroonian Author Imbolo Mbue's Next Novel Has Been Picked Up by Penguin Random House

The second novel from the mind behind "Behold the Dreamers" is set to tell another poignant, but relatable story on the African experience.

The second novel from Cameroon's own Imbolo Mbue is in the works, Brittle Paper reports.

How Beautiful We Were, the novel's current title, has been acquired by Penguin Random House for its North American rights. The publisher says the book is "a story told through multiple perspectives about what happens when an African village decides to fight back against an American oil company that is destroying their land."


This storyline calls to mind that many real-life instances of oil-rich communities standing up and demanding what's owed due to major oil companies destroying their environments and livelihoods over decades.

Mbue, who was also included in the inaugural OkayAfrica 100 Women list, made her mark with her debut, Behold the Dreamers in March of 2016. With this novel, she was the first African writer to lock in a million dollar advance. Behold the Dreamers also led Mbue to be awarded the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction as well as be selected in Oprah Winfrey's Book Club, Brittle Paper adds.

The novel was sold by Susan Golomb, Mbue's agent, and bought by Random House editor Andy Ward.

Stay tuned for news on the novel's anticipated release date.

Interview
Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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