International

‘A tour de force of scholarship’—Arja Salafranca reviews The Pink Line: Journeys Across the World’s Queer Frontiers by Mark Gevisser

Arja Salafranca reviews Mark Gevisser’s new book The Pink Line: Journeys Across the World’s Queer Frontiers. The Pink Line: Journeys…

Academic

Philosophy in Africa, or Africa in Philosophy? Mary Carman reviews Debating African Philosophy: Perspectives on Identity, Decolonial Ethics and Comparative Philosophy

Mary Carman reviews Debating African Philosophy, a new collection of essays that originated during student protests and demands for the…

Poetry

Writing Athlone—Gabeba Baderoon’s latest poetry collection The History of Intimacy maps the small hurts of apartheid, writes Toni Giselle Stuart

Toni Giselle Stuart reviews Gabeba Baderoon’s poetry collection The History of Intimacy, which won the 2019 University of Johannesburg Main…

Africa

A powerful contribution towards the creation of a vitally needed counter-narrative of England—Wamuwi Mbao reviews Manchester Happened by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi’s new book Manchester Happened reflects the here-and-there double consciousness of living between Uganda and England, writes Wamuwi…

Fiction

A depth charge aimed at the submerged wreckage of slavery—Wamuwi Mbao reviews The Water Dancer, the debut novel by acclaimed writer Ta-Nehisi Coates

Between Baldwin, the world and the Old South—Wamuwi Mbao reviews The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates. The Water DancerTa-Nehisi CoatesHamish…

Fiction

Fragments, explorations and variations—Jennifer Malec reviews Zadie Smith’s debut collection of short stories, Grand Union, her most American book to date

Zadie Smith, the accomplished, experimental New Yorker—The JRB Editor Jennifer Malec reviews Grand Union. Grand UnionZadie SmithHamish Hamilton, 2019 Read an…

Poetry

A perfectly shaped raging fire of language and emotion—Lidudumalingani reviews Everything is a Deathly Flower, the debut poetry collection by Maneo Mohale

Lidudumalingani reviews Everything is a Deathly Flower by Maneo Mohale, finding it to be a succession of powerful moments. Everything…

Africa

American Spy reimagines the American spy, bringing gender and race into the war room—Jennifer Malec reviews Lauren Wilkinson’s new Cold War thriller

The JRB Editor Jennifer Malec reviews Lauren Wilkinson’s debut novel American Spy, a thriller that exposes the human drama that plays out…

Academic

The quest to establish a world-class African philosophical tradition—Sanya Osha reviews Paulin Hountondji: African Philosophy as Critical Humanism

On Paulin Hountondji’s Universalist philosophy—Sanya Osha reviews Paulin Hountondji: African Philosophy as Critical Humanism, by Franziska Dubgen and Stefan Skupien….

Africa

‘Not your traditional immigrant novel’—Efemia Chela reviews Beyond Babylon, the newly translated English debut by Somali–Italian author Igiaba Scego

In Beyond Babylon, by Igiaba Scego, migrants come to rebuild their lives in the midst of ruins, writes Francophone and…

Africa

‘A powerful commentary on displacement, and a stark condemnation of the powers that be’—Outlwile Tsipane reviews Helon Habila’s new novel, Travellers

In Travellers, Helon Habila delivers a riveting novel that unfolds as a tribute to displaced people and stands as a…

Africa

Bearing witness to unusual childhoods of privilege under oppression—Panashe Chigumadzi reviews Township Girls: The Cross-Over Generation

A significant first step in documenting the life writing of black Zimbabwean women—The JRB Contributing Editor Panashe Chigumadzi reviews Township Girls:…

Fiction

An exhilarating elegy for the slaves and storytellers of old—Lara Buxbaum reviews Patrick Chamoiseau’s wildly inventive novel The Old Slave and the Mastiff

Tracing the memory of bones, ‘a long thread of words that attempted to fulfil the universe’—Lara Buxbaum reviews The Old…

Non-fiction

‘Ace Magashule’s rise reveals the weakness of the centre’—Imraan Coovadia reviews Pieter-Louis Myburgh’s Gangster State

Imraan Coovadia reviews Pieter-Louis Myburgh’s new book, Gangster State: Unravelling Ace Magashule’s Web of Capture. Pieter-Louis Myburgh Gangster State: Unravelling…

Essays

‘Baldwin the symbol of black transgression and global black anger is simply peerless’—Bongani Madondo on If Beale Street Could Talk, the book and Oscar-winning film

James Baldwin’s novel of half a century ago, If Beale Street Could Talk, now reissued by Penguin Random House, was…

Biography & Memoir

Illuminating a mighty poet and a total artist—Rustum Kozain reviews Dread Poetry and Freedom: Linton Kwesi Johnson and the Unfinished Revolution

The JRB Poetry Editor Rustum Kozain reviews David Austin’s new book Dread Poetry and Freedom: Linton Kwesi Johnson and the Unfinished Revolution, finding…

Fiction

‘There is no comfort to be had in fiction. Our history is too raw for that’—Jacob Dlamini reviews Barry Gilder’s ‘brilliant, haunting’ novel The List

The List, the debut novel by former anti-apartheid activist and uMkhonto weSizwe member Barry Gilder, is a meditation about betrayal, faith,…

Crime Fiction

‘A story that skips along breezily, even as the body count rises’—Jennifer Malec reviews My Sister, the Serial Killer, the debut novel by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Contrary to what the title and pulpy cover seem to suggest, My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite is…

Africa

[Temporary Sojourner] Efemia Chela reads Trifonia Melibea Obono’s La Bastarda, the first novel by an Equatoguinean woman to be translated into English

In La Bastarda we find a revolutionary piece of literature, where a young girl isn’t saved by her long-lost father,…

Biography & Memoir

Nelson Mandela’s ‘new’ collection of prison dispatches signs his name across our hearts: Bongani Madondo reviews The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela

Torn for so long between anxiety and awe at the idolisation of Nelson Mandela, The JRB Contributing Editor Bongani Madondo…