Africa

Interrogating the tensions and contradictions around questions of identity—Shayera Dark reviews If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English by Noor Naga

Shayera Dark reviews Noor Naga’s experimental debut novel If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English, winner of the Graywolf Press Africa…

International

Kei Miller ‘alchemises the personal experience of Blackness into something deeply transportive’—Wamuwi Mbao reviews the award-winning Things I Have Withheld

Kei Miller’s collection of essays Things I Have Withheld takes the measure of what it means to read and be…

Academic

‘Your story told by someone else might in the end be richer’—Wamuwi Mbao reviews Culture and Liberation, the first dedicated collection of Alex La Guma’s exile writing

Culture and Liberation: Exile Writings, 1966–1985Alex La GumaEdited by Christopher J LeeSeagull Books 1966 was an interesting year. Future Trump…

Africa

‘Time moves as slowly as it likes and then faster than you can make sense of’—Wairimũ Murĩithi reviews Okwiri Oduor’s debut novel, Things They Lost

Entering a world the author has long been building, Wairimũ Murĩithi reviews Things They Lost, the debut novel from 2014…

Fiction

‘No reprieve from the myriad invisible cuts inflicted by a society hostile to the colour of their skin’—Shayera Dark reviews Lọlá Ákínmádé Åkerström’s In Every Mirror She’s Black

Shayera Dark reviews In Every Mirror She’s Black by Lọlá Ákínmádé Åkerström. In Every Mirror She’s BlackLọlá Ákínmádé ÅkerströmHead of Zeus,…

Biography & Memoir

‘Startlingly good’—Wamuwi Mbao reviews Misfits: A Personal Manifesto by Michaela Coel, creator and star of the hit TV show I May Destroy You

Michaela Coel’s Misfits blends an effervescent sense of social realism with a beguiling clarity, writes Wamuwi Mbao. Misfits: A Personal…

Africa

Even for women brave enough to reclaim their lives, external forces stand ready to keep them confined—Shayera Dark reviews Ukamaka Olisakwe’s Ogadinma: Or, Everything Will Be All Right

Shayera Dark reviews Ogadinma: Or, Everything Will Be All Right by Ukamaka Olisakwe. Ogadinma: Or, Everything Will Be All RightUkamaka…

Fiction

A work of fiction that calls to us to rethink Palestine’s ‘normal’—Wamuwi Mbao reviews Against The Loveless World by Susan Abulhawa

Wamuwi Mbao reviews Susan Abulhawa’s Against The Loveless World, winner of the Palestine Book Award. Against The Loveless WorldSusan AbulhawaBloomsbury…

International

‘What does it do to you to be the subject of someone else’s imaginative impoverishment?’—Wamuwi Mbao reviews Claudia Rankine’s new book Just Us

Claudia Rankine’s Just Us is perhaps the most profound meditation on race and violence to emerge in the first two…

Academic

Hiding in Plain Sight: Cold War Interventions into African Literature—Bhakti Shringarpure reviews Monica Popescu’s At Penpoint: African Literatures, Postcolonial Studies, and the Cold War

Monica Popescu’s At Penpoint: African Literatures, Postcolonial Studies, and the Cold War is a steadfast engagement with the cultural Cold…

Fiction

To move about in an unkind world under the mark of racial blackness—Wamuwi Mbao reviews Scatterlings, the debut novel by Rešoketšwe Manenzhe

Wamuwi Mbao reviews Rešoketšwe Manenzhe’s novel Scatterlings, winner of the 2020 Dinaane Debut Fiction Award. ScatterlingsRešoketšwe ManenzheJacana Media, 2020 There…

History

The archive has been rigged—Wamuwi Mbao reviews Patric Tariq Mellet’s The Lie of 1652, uncovering the debased half-truths installed as national narrative

In The Lie of 1652, Patric Tariq Mellet fills in the ‘before’ that was of little interest to those invested…

International

To overthrow Europatriarchy, logic and emotion must work in tandem—Shayera Dark reviews Sensuous Knowledge: A Black Feminist Approach for Everyone by Minna Salami

Europatriarchy takes centre stage in Minna Salami’s elegant book of essays Sensuous Knowledge: A Black Feminist Approach for Everyone, writes…

Africa

Embodying the resurgence in Black surrealism—Wamuwi Mbao reviews Nudibranch by 2020 Caine Prize winner Irenosen Okojie

Wamuwi Mbao reviews Irenosen Okojie’s Nudibranch, the ‘immersively deranged’ collection containing her 2020 Caine Prize-winning story.  Nudibranch Irenosen OkojieLittle, Brown,…

Africa

[Temporary Sojourner] The Beast in the Village—Efemia Chela reviews Confessions of a Lioness by Mia Couto, finding uncanny echoes of the coronavirus lockdown

The JRB Francophone and Contributing Editor Efemia Chela travels to Mozambique with Mia Couto’s novel Confessions of a Lioness. Confessions…

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

Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor’s weight of whispers—Carey Baraka considers Dust, The Dragonfly Sea and a novelist’s mission to retell the ‘vile things’ of history

The Kenyan novel is not dead, writes Carey Baraka, as long as Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor keeps writing. 1. On June…

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

Contemplating South Africa’s coalition of traumas through the idea of lost language—Khanya Mtshali reviews Phumlani Pikoli’s Born Freeloaders

In Born Freeloaders, Phumlani Pikoli seeks to provide a meditation on how empire is constructed through language. But the language…