Shayera Dark • Wamuwi Mbao • Rustum Kozain Terry-Ann Adams • Lebohang Mojapelo • Warsan Shire • Lidudumalingani • Dipo Faloyin • Khanya Mtshali • Ntsika Kota • NoViolet Bulawayo • JG Jesman • Jill Bradbury • Khwezi Mkhize • Makhosazana Xaba • Rofhiwa Maneta • Bénédicte Savoy • Vijay Prashad • Nicky Falkof • Welcome Mandla Lishivha • Xolani S Ngazimbi • Jennifer Malec • Victor Dlamini • Tymon Smith
Welcome to the third issue of Volume 6 of The Johannesburg Review of Books!
In this issue, Shayera Dark reviews Noor Naga’s experimental debut novel If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English, winner of the Graywolf Press Africa Prize, and Wamuwi Mbao considers Kei Miller’s collection of essays Things I Have Withheld, a book that takes the measure of what it means to read and be read as raced.
We have a number of interviews for you to savour and enjoy this month. The JRB Editor Jennifer Malec talks to Terry-Ann Adams about writing, representation, and their new collection of short stories, White Chalk; Lebohang Mojapelo and Warsan Shire discuss that Beyoncé moment, the importance of bearing witness, and Shire’s new book, Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head; while Dipo Faloyin chats to Khanya Mtshali about his new book Africa is Not A Country: Breaking Stereotypes of Modern Africa. Elsewhere in the issue, we sit down with Eswatini’s first Commonwealth Short Story Prize winner Ntsika Kota.
Guest City Editor Lidudumalingani tells us all about his curatorship of this year’s African Book Festival in Berlin, and why ‘we’re not there to beg for a place on bookshelves in German bookshops but we’re there to demand it, to claim it’.
In new fiction, we present a taster from Glory, the highly anticipated new novel from NoViolet Bulawayo (like gold dust, this excerpt), as well as a sample from JG Jesman’s debut novel Chisoni, or Conversations on a Plane About Life and Death and a short story from Terry-Ann Adams’s White Chalk.
June marked a year since the passing of Professor Bhekizizwe Peterson, and we’re pleased to share a tribute to the man by Jill Bradbury, Khwezi Mkhize and Makhosazana Xaba, excerpted from the new book he co-edited, Foundational African Writers: Peter Abrahams, Noni Jabavu, Sibusiso Nyembezi and Es’kia Mphahlele.
In our poetry corner, we’re delighted to present previously unpublished poetry by Poetry Editor Rustum Kozain.
From our Photo Editor Victor Dlamini this month, a portrait of Nigerian-born American spoken-word artist, writer and mental health advocate Bassey Ikpi.
Our survey of new non-fiction includes extracts from Rofhiwa Maneta’s A Man, A Fire, A Corpse, a biography of his father, Captain Amos Maneta, ‘The Top Cop of Soweto’; Africa’s Struggle for Its Art: History of a Postcolonial Defeat by Bénédicte Savoy; Washington Bullets, the new book by Vijay Prashad; Worrier State: Risk, Anxiety and Moral Panic in South Africa by Nicky Falkof; Welcome Mandla Lishivha’s new ‘istant classic’ memoir Boy on the Run; and finally an excerpt from ‘What’s in a name?’, Xolani S Ngazimbi’s essay from Racism, Violence, Betrayals and New Imaginaries: Feminist Voices, edited by Nadia Sanger and Benita Moolman.
And while you’re reading, enjoy ‘Sakifo to get you through the loadshedding’, a playlist compiled by Tymon Smith.
Here’s the complete breakdown of Vol. 6, Issue 3, which you will also find on our issue archive page:
- Interrogating the tensions and contradictions around questions of identity—Shayera Dark reviews If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English by Noor Naga
- Kei Miller ‘alchemises the personal experience of Blackness into something deeply transportive’—Wamuwi Mbao reviews the award-winning Things I Have Withheld
- ‘For me, the truth is important because we have been fed so many books with lies’—An interview with Terry-Ann Adams on their new collection of short stories, White Chalk
- ‘I find hope in the super uncomfortable, taboo-to-talk-about, ugly things’—Lebohang Mojapelo interviews Warsan Shire on her new book, Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head
- ‘Writing is open to everyone, regardless of their background or where they’re from’—An interview with Eswatini’s first Commonwealth Short Story Prize winner Ntsika Kota
- African awakenings—Dipo Faloyin chats to Khanya Mtshali about his new book Africa is Not A Country: Breaking Stereotypes of Modern Africa
- ‘We’re not there to beg for a place on bookshelves in German bookshops but we’re there to demand it, to claim it’—Lidudumalingani on the 2022 African Book Festival
- ‘Even with just her mouth alone she could do serious battle and slay’—Read an excerpt from NoViolet Bulawayo’s new novel Glory
- ‘As the plane staggers into the sky, darkness rushes to catch it’—Read an excerpt from Chisoni, or Conversations on a Plane About Life and Death by JG Jesman
- ‘No one was going to make me feel ashamed of where I come from or who I am’—Read an excerpt from Terry-Ann Adams’s new book White Chalk
- Read ‘Tribute to Professor Bhekizizwe Peterson’, by Jill Bradbury, Khwezi Mkhize and Makhosazana Xaba, excerpted from the new book Foundational African Writers
- ‘What did you say happened here again?’—Read an excerpt from A Man, A Fire, A Corpse, Rofhiwa Maneta’s memoir of his father, ‘The Top Cop of Soweto’
- ‘Almost all of Africa’s ancient artistic heritage is now preserved in European countries’—Read an excerpt from Bénédicte Savoy’s Africa’s Struggle for Its Art
- ‘What did it mean to suffocate history so as to preserve the order of the rich?’—Read an excerpt from Washington Bullets, the new book by Vijay Prashad
- ‘Anxiety in South Africa does not impede existence; it has rather become part of existence’—Read an excerpt from Worrier State: Risk, Anxiety and Moral Panic in South Africa by Nicky Falkof
- ‘I saw myself in him, and by seeing myself in him, I felt less alone for the first time’—Read an excerpt from Welcome Mandla Lishivha’s new memoir Boy on the Run
- ‘Xolani. This is the name I use in my adulthood. I haven’t always used this name.’—Read ‘What’s in a Name?’, excerpted from Racism, Violence, Betrayals and New Imaginaries: Feminist Voices
The JRB Daily
- 2022 Sunday Times Literary Awards longlists announced
- ‘Talent that will no doubt take the world by storm’—Ntsika Kota becomes first writer from Eswatini to win global Commonwealth Short Story Prize
- ‘This is absurd, I don’t win things’—Ruth Ozeki awarded 2022 Women’s Prize for Fiction for The Book of Form and Emptiness
- 2022 Caine Prize for African Writing shortlist announced—‘a staggering feast’
- ‘A laughing elegy, that retains hope in the face of impending doom’—Geetanjali Shree and Daisy Rockwell win 2022 International Booker Prize for Tomb of Sand
- ‘African voices liberated from prescriptions of form and ideas’—Zimbabwean writer Zibusiso Mpofu wins Brunel International African Poetry Prize
- ‘There is a myth that there is only one type of storytelling in Africa’—Sarah Isaacs wins inaugural Island Prize for a Debut Novel from Africa
- Short Story Day Africa announce 12 writers selected for 2022 Inkubator project