Welcome to the sixth issue of Volume 2 of The Johannesburg Review of Books.
This month, we review a trio of superb debut novels: Akwaeke Emezi’s Freshwater, Roland Rugero’s Baho!—the first Burundian novel to be translated into English—and Olumide Popoola’s When We Speak of Nothing. City Editor Niq Mhlongo chimes in with a review of a debut book of non-fiction, Clinton Chauke’s Born in Chains: The Diary of an Angry ‘Born Free’, and The JRB Editor Jennifer Malec assesses the first two books of Ali Smith’s seasonal quartet.
We also feature three big interviews in this issue. Pede Hollist chats to James Murua about his book So the Path Does Not Die and the vibrant Sierra Leonean literary scene, Imraan Coovadia chats to Jennifer Malec about his new spec-fic novel A Spy in Time and time-travelling while Black, and Zinzi Clemmons reveals how being in South Africa as an author shifted her perspective on the country.
In our poetry section this month, we’re proud to present a new poem by Gabeba Baderoon, from her forthcoming collection The History of Intimacy.
Fiction fans will be pleased to find a new short story by Kiprop Kimutai, which recently received a commendation from the 2018 Gerald Kraak Award. We also have an excerpt of Coovadia’s new book, hot off the press, as well as an extract from Roland Rugero’s Burundian novel Baho!
Photo Editor Victor Dlamini has contributed striking original portraits of Masello Motana and Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh for this edition.
In Francophone news, Efemia Chela alerts us to a new French translation of Mũkoma wa Ngũgĩ’s novel Nairobi Heat, and looks at some new words that have entered the French lexicon, including some wonderful Africa-inspired additions.
Here’s the complete breakdown of Vol. 2, Issue 6, which you will also find on our issue archive page:
- One of the decade’s most intriguing works of fiction: Wamuwi Mbao reviews Akwaeke Emezi’s debut novel Freshwater
- [Temporary Sojourner] Efemia Chela reads Roland Rugero’s Baho!—the first Burundian novel to be translated into English
- A victorious coming-of age novel: Outlwile Tsipane reviews Olumide Popoola’s superb debut, When We Speak of Nothing
- [City Editor] The biography of a generation—Niq Mhlongo reviews Clinton Chauke’s Born in Chains: The Diary of an Angry ‘Born Free’
- How to write when the novel is dead: Jennifer Malec reviews Autumn and Winter—the first two books of Ali Smith’s seasonal quartet
- ‘It’s clearly more harrowing to be time travelling when black’—Imraan Coovadia chats to Jennifer Malec about his new spec-fic novel A Spy in Time
- Pede Hollist chats to James Murua about his book So the Path Does Not Die and the ‘vibrant’ Sierra Leonean literary scene
- ‘Being in South Africa as an author has shifted my perspective’—Zinzi Clemmons chats to The JRB about her debut novel, What We Lose
- ‘I had the nerve to like my hair just the way it was’—Listen to Zinzi Clemmons read from her debut novel What We Lose
- New short fiction: ‘The Man at the Bridge’ by Kiprop Kimutai, commended by the 2018 Gerald Kraak Award
- ‘Johannesburg, the first and last city of our century’: Read an exclusive excerpt from Imraan Coovadia’s new novel, A Spy in Time
- ‘The glutton ate the snail and it made his cheeks explode’: Read an excerpt from Baho! by Burundian author Roland Rugero
- Mũkoma wa Ngũgĩ’s novel Nairobi Heat is now available in French as Là où meurent le rêves
- What we talk about when we talk about French: New words enter the 2019 Larousse and Le Robert
The JRB Daily
- [Exclusive] ‘It’s worse than most people think’—Zinzi Clemmons on Junot Díaz and literature’s latest #MeToo moment
- 2018 Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award longlist announced
- The Golden Man Booker Prize shortlist announced—the ‘five best Booker Prize winners of all time’
- Pwaangulongii Dauod wins 2018 Gerald Kraak Award for his essay ‘Africa’s future has no space for stupid black men’
- 2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize shortlist announced, including Fred Khumalo and Michelle Sacks
- Short Story Day Africa Prize shortlist announced, revealing ‘uncomfortable and fascinating truths about who we are’
- Olga Tokarczuk’s ‘startling’ novel Flights wins 2018 Man Booker International Prize
- 2018 Caine Prize for African Writing shortlist announced, showcasing the ‘complexity and diversity of Africa and African lives’
- 2018 Alan Paton Award for Non-fiction shortlist announced
- 2018 Barry Ronge Fiction Prize shortlist announced
Header image: Ben Williams