Welcome to the eighth issue of Volume 2 of The Johannesburg Review of Books.
We have a bumper edition for you this month, including five book reviews, four in-depth interviews, and exclusive excerpts from two important new books.
Novuyo Rosa Tshuma and The JRB Contributing Editor Panashe Chigumadzi sat down together a few days before the Zimbabwe election to talk about how their new books—respectively, a novel and a work of non-fiction—recreate and interrogate personal and national identity. Their conversation is given in full in this issue.
We are also delighted to feature an exclusive excerpt from Chigumadzi’s highly-anticipated new book, These Bones Will Rise Again, as well as an essay by AP Mda titled ‘What African Nationalism Is’, from the newly published Africa’s Cause Must Triumph: The Collected Writings of AP Mda.
In non-fiction reviews, The JRB Contributing Editor Bongani Madondo provides an unmissable take on The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela, Ntombizikhona Valela scrutinises Esinako Ndabeni and Sihle Mthembu’s new book Born to Kwaito, and Alex Lichtenstein assesses Jon Soske’s Internal Frontiers: African Nationalism and the Indian Diaspora in Twentieth-Century South Africa.
In new fiction, Wamuwi Mbao reviews OK, Mr Field, the debut novel by acclaimed South African poet Katharine Kilalea, while Francine Simon explains why she believes Pravasan Pillay’s new collection of short stories, Chatsworth, is a literary necessity.
Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, who is in South Africa this August on a book tour, talks to CA Davids about her novel Kintu.
Ayesha Harruna Attah chats about precolonial Ghana, Game of Thrones, and her new novel, The Hundred Wells of Salaga, and Kenyan writer Makena Onjerika reveals the ins and outs of her recent Caine Prize win—both intereviewed by The JRB Editor Jennifer Malec.
Celebrated Nigerian writer Yemisi Aribisala makes her JRB debut with a magnificent essay on the question of representation in books for children of colour and the legacy of Little Black Sambo.
The JRB City Editor Niq Mhlongo tells the tale of his travels to Nairobi with ninety of his novels, and The JRB Photo Editor Victor Dlamini treats us to original portraits of Niq and Mohale Mashigo.
In our Francophone section, we bring news of the unusual new book by Nobel Prize-winning Franco-Mauritian author JMG Le Clézio, and explore some new jazz-suffused poetry from Fiston Mwanza Mujila.
Poetry fans can dip into an excerpt from Megan Ross’s new collection Milk Fever, and for short story aficionados we present ‘Water Treason’, new ‘non-science fiction’ by Andile Ndlovu.
Here’s the complete breakdown of Vol. 2, Issue 8, which you will also find on our issue archive page:
- Nelson Mandela’s ‘new’ collection of prison dispatches signs his name across our hearts: Bongani Madondo reviews The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela
- Writing our Blackness into existence—Ntombizikhona Valela reviews Born to Kwaito by Esinako Ndabeni and Sihle Mthembu
- A curiously enthralling existentialist novel—Wamuwi Mbao reviews OK, Mr Field, the debut novel by South African poet Katharine Kilalea
- The Durban Riots and an ‘ambitious re-examination’ of the relationship between Africans and Indians–Alex Lichtenstein reviews Jon Soske’s Internal Frontiers
- A place where paradox lives and breathes—Francine Simon reviews Chatsworth, Pravasan Pillay’s debut short story collection
- Novuyo Rosa Tshuma and Panashe Chigumadzi in conversation: Meditations on the traumas and triumphs of Zimbabwe’s histories
- ‘Historical fiction is a way of fighting rootlessness’—Ayesha Harruna Attah discusses her new novel The Hundred Wells of Salaga
- ‘We should wrench the power away from the West and determine our own canon’—Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi chats to CA Davids about her novel Kintu
- ‘Language switching is the norm in Kenya; I just wrote the way we speak’—Makena Onjerika chats to The JRB about her Caine Prize success
- How to eat a small child–Yemisi Aribisala considers the question of representation in books for children of colour and the legacy of Little Black Sambo
- [The JRB Exclusive] ‘The colonisers were right: the mbira is dangerous’—Read an excerpt from Panashe Chigumadzi’s new book These Bones Will Rise Again
- ‘What African Nationalism Is’—Read an excerpt from Africa’s Cause Must Triumph: The Collected Writings of AP Mda
- Seoul and Sky: JMG Le Clézio’s new novel, Bitna, sous le ciel de Séoul
- ‘Kasala for Myself’—New jazz-suffused poetry from Fiston Mwanza Mujila featured in Asymptote, in English and French
The JRB Daily
- Longlist announced for the $100,000 Nigeria Prize for Literature—Africa’s richest literary award
- 2018 Man Booker Prize longlist announced—no African authors for the second year running
- Masande Ntshanga, Omar Robert Hamilton, Anietie Isong and Kayo Chingonyi among the winners at the 2018 Society of Authors Authors’ Awards
- The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje honoured as the greatest-ever winner of the Man Booker Prize
- Kenyan writer Makena Onjerika wins the 2018 Caine Prize for African Writing