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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.

Music
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Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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