African Roar 2012 TOC and Cover release

Editors: Emmanuel Sigauke & Ivor W. Hartmann
Title: African Roar 2012
Release: Dec. 2012
Publisher: StoryTime
ISBN: 978-0-9870089-7-8 (Ebook Edition)

African Roar 2012, an annual anthology of African Authors.

Table of Contents:
‘Sethunya Likes Girls Better’ Wame Molefhe
‘We Can See You’ Abdul Adan
‘How Nnedi Got Her Curved Spine’ Nnedi Okorafor
‘Soldiers of the Stone’ Uko Bendi Udo
‘The Revenge of Kamalaza Mayele’ Vukani G. Nyirenda
‘The Colours of Silence’ Ifesinachi Okoli-Okpagu
‘Sheltering Hearts’ Gothataone Moeng
‘You Smile’ Chika Onyenezi
‘A Mouse Amongst Men’ Ivor W. Hartmann
‘The Shady Taxi Driver’ Hana Njau-Okolo
‘Bottle’ Dawn Promislow

AfroSF: Science Fiction by African Writers: Table of Contents and Cover

AfroSF is the first ever anthology of Science Fiction by African writers only that was open to submissions from African writers all across Africa and abroad. Due for release in Dec 2012, ebook edition first, print edition later, and is comprised of original works only.

Editor: Ivor W. Hartmann
Title: AfroSF: Science Fiction by African Writers
Publisher: StoryTime
Release Date: December 2012

Table of Contents
‘Moom!’ Nnedi Okorafor
‘Home Affairs’ Sarah Lotz
‘Five Sets of Hands’ Cristy Zinn
‘New Mzansi’ Ashley Jacobs
‘Azania’ Nick Wood
‘Notes from Gethsemane’ Tade Thompson
‘Planet X’ S.A. Partridge
‘The Gift of Touch’ Chinelo Onwualu
‘The Foreigner’ Uko Bendi Udo
‘Angel Song’ Dave de Burgh
‘The Rare Earth’ Biram Mboob
‘Terms & Conditions Apply’ Sally-Ann Murray
‘Heresy’ Mandisi Nkomo
‘Closing Time’ Liam Kruger
‘Masquerade Stories’ Chiagozie Fred Nwonwu
‘The Trial’ Joan De La Haye
‘Brandy City’ Mia Arderne
‘Ofe!’ Rafeeat Aliyu
‘Claws and Savages’ Martin Stokes
‘To Gaze at the Sun’ Clifton Gachagua
‘Proposition 23’ (Novelette) Efe Okogu

Collected thoughts, excerpts, poems, and insights (mainly from 2011)

In 2010 I decided to start posting some of my own one-liner’s (well, mostly one-liner’s) at my facebook writer’s page. They are quite varied in source, some come from my side of conversations (real and digital), my works in progress, thoughts I had about issues or current events, personal insights, and the odd poem. So I have been a touch late in this second post, mainly for 2011, but here they are, last to first:

The past is always at war with the present over the future.

Don’t ask for what should be offered, and don’t offer beyond your means.

Not only is truth stranger than fiction, it’s often much more amusing.

There upon the gilded knife’s edge, with the abyss on one side and mediocrity on the other, I found a kind of fragile peace.

Never underestimate the importance of a great first reader.

There is only one race, life. No one wins, and we all have to participate.

Most real adventures are only fun in hindsight.

It’s a fallacy that writers have or develop thick skins (as that kind of insensitivity would get in the way of our writing), but we do bounce back quicker the more we get used to being publicly humiliated.

The human body is much like humanity itself. We have parts/attitudes that no longer serve a purpose, and need to be dealt with in each successive generation lest they damage the overall progress of the whole.

Even if you don’t believe in therapy, therapy believes in you.

A writer’s greatest inhibition lies in not allowing themselves to employ their own unique perspective.

We all, individually, change the world every day by our mere existence.

Of all the inadequacies we generally suffer from, lack of truly long-term survival strategies is probably the greatest.

For the most part what may seem to be insurmountable can be surmounted if you have the patience and perseverance to take one step at a time, and walk however many thousands of miles are needed.

Alice

There was a lady I knew in passing,
And she died, as we all do.
But death did not come sudden for her,
It came in parts that took away the whole.
The first was estrangement from her children.
The second a car accident;
Crashed into by a physically challenged driver,
Who ran a red light right into her car at speed.
The third from the second her job security,
From too many harsh words,
Whose source was misunderstood.
The fourth was a stroke;
She lay paralysed in her bath for four days,
Unable to shout or move,
Before her absence was noted by friends.
But this then came back to the first,
As her children did not then look after her,
They just took her back home and left.
The fifth, one week after the fourth, another stroke.
It was three days before they found her,
Slumped against her fridge, milk in hand, dead.
It was ten days before,
Her children cleared out her home.
And as they filed past burdened with her possessions,
I could not help but to wonder,
If the first could not have been overcome,
And overcome all five.

If you don’t learn from the past it will possess your future.

One Won Once

I got a car out back,
One day I’ll get it running.
I got a roof over my head,
One day I’ll fix all the holes.
I got a bank account,
One month it’ll earn more interest than bank fees.
I got a job, more than one,
One month they might pay all the bills.
I got a wife,
One year we’ll have a real honeymoon.
I got two children,
One year they’ll go to university.
I got a good suit, wore it for my wedding,
One decade I’ll wear it in my grave.
I got a president,
One election I reckon he’ll really do everything he said.
I got a planet, as much as everyone does,
One time, when I was a child, I gave it more than callous thanks.
I got hopes, when once I had dreams,
One second was all it took, to put them away with my one suit.

Look at how minorities are treated/mistreated to judge the health of a society.

Challenge the stereotype, change the paradigm.

There is no house, village, town, city, province, state, country, continent. There is only you and I, all together on this world called Earth.

Perhaps the most scary thing in writing is realising that you yourself have the potential to be your darkest characters, that they do indeed stem from a darkness in yourself. Accept and explore that fully (in the writing only of course), without fear, and your writing will be true expressions and insights into real humanity and thus serve their purpose: to understand and reveal who we are in the bright light of truth.

Master the basics, and you can branch out into uniqueness with confidence.

Why is it so hard to comprehend that everything is in actuality free?
That the only payment is time spent, and the sweat of all our brows.
That were we to abandon the mental prisons we have built for ourselves,
Barred in the inequality of economics, money, and shirked personal responsibility,
We would still achieve all we have and much more besides.
And most importantly we would all be as free as everything is in actuality.

There is no greater truth about humanity than that expressed on the school-yard playground, for indeed we never really leave it.

There should be far stronger ties between Africa and South America, our similarities are so many as evidenced in the works of our writers.

There were things untold, words never said, an inextricable silence pounding with meaning. It was in these moments she learnt the most. Before, she had wasted time; plotting and scheming how to exit this nightmare that couldn’t be woken from. Now, there was only the dull axe of acceptance firmly lodged inside her brain, severing her former being from this one…

While tolerance is better than intolerance, it is not enough to merely tolerate without understanding. For tolerance without understanding all to often becomes intolerance again, at the slightest inconvenience.

One of the finer skills of writing is not in knowing what to write, but what not to write.

In our world of invisible giants, that seek to control our every move, we can only sense them by their footfalls; and hopefully have the courage to act when we do.

Deeply Flawed

Yes, I am deeply flawed,
As crooked as the Limpopo.
I have grown and carved away,
The sculpture of my being.
To fit this space I create,
That stretches from you to I.
Where we all co-mingle,
At fractal edges.
With each to their own,
And owned by each.

A great story is always more than the sum of its writer.

If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not even trying. Success is built upon blunders, botches, bungles, and phenomenal balls-ups; so be not afraid of failure, for only in failure may you find success.

If you’re not prepared to work on a story with an editor until it shines, then don’t bother writing it in the first place. Have no illusions, writing for publication is very hard work indeed.

The greatest influence on your writing, should be yourself. Absolutely no one else has the unique perspective you do.

There is always a moment when writing a story (particularly a lengthy one) where you can only see the bark, never mind the tree or the whole forest. It is perhaps the darkest hour, when you have no idea whether what you are writing is a load of tosh or not. This is when ones first reader(s) are worth their weight in gold (for perspective), and what you have to do is keep on writing, and write you way out of it.

There’s no doubt I’m a night owl. Living in, as I do, a busy city, the stillness of late night/early morning is always so perfect for writing. Zero distractions, and the words flow out as easily and as fresh as water from a mountain spring. The only other way I could achieve this would be to live very rurally (also a very attractive option).

If you want to see heaven and hell, all you have to do is look out your window.

As a writer, observation without empathy is fairly useless.

If you the writer become bored while writing a fiction story (first draft) the chances are so will the reader of the final product. It’s better to abandon it and start another one, than waste your time any further.

If you’re not an avid reader, odds are you’ll never be a great or even good writer.

True freedom is an illusion, for we don’t really know what it is and how to attain it, but it is something we must continually strive for until we do know what it is, and how to live it and keep it. One thing is sure though, we are learning what freedom is not, and true freedom must start with the rights of the individual.

There is a spring to his gait I envy, an air of elicit excitement that can only be felt by the young. A time when breaking the rules has less consequences and far more satisfaction…

We wait, and wait, and wait, until we feel like strangers in our own skins wondering who we are and where we came from. Our memories dim until one day we wake up foreigners speaking strange tongues and meeting strange people; living a life that seems to fit as long as you don’t look too carefully.

Hear the shrieks of antiques, wreathed in mystiques that reeks of foul techniques and power-freaks piques, whose foundations creaks from sneaks with winning cyber-streaks.

To be neutral is to be indifferent, and the orphans of indifference are legion.

All rights reserved.
Copyright © Ivor W. Hartmann 2011-2012.

Call for submissions: a new SciFi anthology: AfroSF

Call for submissions: I am editing and publishing, AfroSF, a new African Science Fiction anthology. Really looking forward to reading what the writers come up with, and think on the whole this anthology could be quite ground breaking. AfroSF will be the first Science Fiction genre anthology open to submissions from all African writers (only) across the continent and diaspora.

Deadline for submissions is May 31st 2012.

Submission guidelines and submissions are here: AfroSF Submissions.

The Facebook page is here: AfroSF.

African Roar 2011: An annual anthology of African authors, First Release Now Out!

African Roar 2011 Happy to announce StoryTime’s second annual anthology, edited by Emmanuel Sigauke and myself, African Roar 2011 first release eBook edition is now out and about.

Featuring fourteen awesome works from established and emerging African Writers: Memory Chirere, Ruzvidzo Stanley Mupfudza, NoViolet Bulawayo, Zukiswa Wanner, Hajira Amla, Uche Peter Umez, Murenga Joseph Chikowero, Dango Mkandawire, Emmanuel Sigauke, Emmanuel Iduma, Ivor Hartmann, Mbonisi P. Ncube, Chimdindu Mazi-Njoku, Ayodele Morocco-Clarke: Silent Night, Bloody Night, and Isaac Neequaye.

It has garnered commendations from some great writers:

“What do you get when you mash up literary stars with exciting new voices? You get African Roar 2011. A fantastic collection of short stories with diverse voices covering a range of narratives and styles… Confident, imaginative, electrifying, African Roar 2011 is a treat for lovers of the short story everywhere.” — Tendai Huchu, author of The Hairdresser of Harare.

African Roar 2011 is a compelling collection of short stories with some of the big and emerging names in contemporary African writing. This cocktail of a book touches on diverse themes and sensibilities, weaving an intricate tapestry of modern tales.” — Jude Dibia, author of Blackbird and Unbridled, and a recipient of the Ken Saro-Wiwa Prose Prize and Commonwealth Writers Highly Commended Award.

“At a time when the short story is regaining popularity, this anthology showcases the form at its vibrant best. African Roar 2011 is a striking and exciting collection of stories. Read and revel in them.” — Jayne Bauling, South African novelist and poet, and winner of the 2009 Macmillan Writer’s Prize for Africa and the 2011 Maskew Miller Longman literature award.

African Roar 2011 is a well-prepared dish that offers a rich blend of literary delicacies; from the practised ink of the chefs, to the talented pens of the emerging writers, flow the rich creative ingredients that stew these pages into a most enjoyable story collection. The stories reflect the diversity of the tree from which they are plucked; the rich literary talent that has its roots in Africa. An exciting read.” — Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, short fiction writer and recipient of the 2009 Yvonne Vera Award.

“Encompassing a wide variety of diverse voices, African Roar 2011 showcases a smorgasbord of new and established writers. Fiction and memoir sit comfortably side by side in this intriguing collection, which puts paid once and for all to the myth of a monolithic African culture.” — Fiona Snyckers, author of the Trinity series of novels, and the Sisterz series of mobile novels.

“The fourteen short stories in African Roar 2011 are fourteen voices in a wide and beautiful range. They’re parables or fables, classically realistic, or savagely satiric, morality tales, haunting tales, or tales with intoxicating oral cadences. There are brilliant imaginings of other consciousnesses. They’re stories that take you deep into the hearts and minds of characters, and to places new yet familiar, and places quite strange. This anthology showcases dynamic voices coming from all over Africa and the African Diaspora right now, and they’re exhilarating indeed.” — Dawn Promislow, author of the collection Jewels and Other Stories.

“A salmagundi of wordsmiths that offers an array of narratives located in gritty African Realism interspersed with moments of magical realism and laugh-out-loud humour. A fitting tribute to the late Ruzvidzo Stanley Mupfudza, this anthology is a multifaceted authentic voice of Africa. A truly visceral reading experience as the stories unfolded from the pages and wrapped their filmic imagery around my mind.” — Gillian Schutte, award winning documentary filmmaker, writer, and social justice activist. Author of two collections of poetry and debut novel After just now, founder of the human rights forum Media for Justice, and the independent Ludic Press.

And a great insightful review from Dawn Promislow “…African Roar 2011 features voices telling stories in the ways they want to and must, defying all and any expectations to the contrary. In the pages of this anthology, writing coming now out of Africa and its Diaspora is not monolithic at all, nor bound by any prescription, but is writing varied in theme, genre and style, that is vibrantly alive going into the future.” read the full review here: SliP

Available to buy through the Kindle platform see:

Buy from Kindle USA

Buy from Kindle UK

Buy from Kindle Germany

Buy from Kindle France

And through Kindle apps on iTunes.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as we all have in making it for you.

How to succesfully irritate an editor

Warning: Just one and certainly all of these points combined are 100% guaranteed to work (and if they don’t you’re dealing with an alien editor from another planet with infinite patience, or, stupidity).

1 – Ignore most if not all of the initial extensive submission guidelines they had to create because of idiots like you.

2 – Harass the editor using all means available to you (online and offline) until they read your submission.

3 – Make sure your submission is as unreadable as possible; e.g. highly ‘experimental’, raw, un-proofed, not thought out at all, or clearly apparent you wrote it down only once while in a hurry, high, drunk, or perhaps even unconscious.

4 – Quit your day job as soon as you have your very first acceptance, so you’ll have plenty of time to harangue or abuse your editor all day long. After all, writers make lots of money, and you should have servants rolling up wheelbarrows full of cash before you know it. (point 4 by Paul Riddell)

5 – Do disregard any edits and suggestions made to your submission and give long-winded justifications as to why, because you and your editor know very well every word you typed is pure gold and could not be improved upon, ever.

6 – If by some miracle your editor takes pity on you, and thinks despite all of the above you might have talent, make sure to then attack and insult them personally until you achieve rejection.

7 – Repeat all of the above ad infinitum, with each and every editor, and moan loudly and publicly about how all editors are, Evil!

8 – (To now successfully irritate yourself once you have exhausted all the editors in the world…) Self-publish your work as is (per 3) and stay unemployed so as to await the river of cash that is sure to be cascading your way shortly; even though you have only published it on createspace/smashwords/lulu/etc. and done nothing else.

Why writers need to learn when to shut the f**k up

Recently there has been a spate of illustrious writers really shoving their foot in their mouths, sometimes all the way up to the knee. Two examples are VS Naipaul who recently said “I read a piece of writing and within a paragraph or two I know whether it is by a woman or not. I think [it is] unequal to me.”, and “Homosexuality is a defect” said recent Nebula award winner Eric James Stone (comment 21).

To quote one of my favourite humourist non-fiction writers: “Opinions are like nipples, everybody has one. Some have firm points, others are barely discernible through layers, and some are displayed at every opportunity regardless of whether the audience has stated ‘I am interested in your nipples’ or not.” – David Thorne. The last part is especially true of writers, who, mostly, by their nature of course have a multitude of nipples and they feel beholden to display each and every one of them whenever, wherever, they can.

But therein lies the rub, as writers we are now expected (and indeed required to do so by publishers in many cases) to shamelessly promote ourselves in whatever mediums we can to aid both one’s long term career and current book sales. But the truth is not every opinion a writer has is worth sharing, and with the net’s ability (socially and otherwise) to disseminate information at near light speeds, some opinions are certainly best left unsaid. Because when, for example, that opinion is blatantly sexist, then you have just shot yourself in the foot and lost at least 50% of your readers and many more potential readers. And that carelessly formed and thrown opinion, particularly when it hits the net, will last virtually forever.

There is the saying that ‘all publicity is good publicity’, but it does not hold true today, and perhaps it never has. So as a writer you have to think long and hard before you open your mouth, answer that email interview, or comment on anything at all online. Because if you don’t it could (depending on its severity) come back and bite a huge chunk out of your arse, and career, permanently. So we need to learn when to just shut the f**k up and keep our opinions to ourselves, and when not too. It’s either that or you need to become a recluse and have zero public interaction at all, which for seemingly compulsive serial offenders like Naipaul is probably the best option. So if you’re a closet misogynist, homophobe, racist, etc., then you’d best keep it in the closet. Unless you only want readers who share these views, because that’s all the readers you’ll have left, and the rest of us who don’t share these views, well, we won’t be buying your books any time soon once we know.

ReadSA goes to Pietermaritzburg

On the 17th and 18th of March as part of the ReadSA initiative I had the pleasure of going to Pietermaritzburg and speaking to students at Orient Heights Primary School, from six primary schools (Orient Heights Primary, Greenhills Primary, Ramatha Road Primary, Springhaven Primary, Ridgeview Primary, and Northlands Primary).

The two day event was perfectly organised by English teacher Amisha Aiyer and ReadSA, which included bussing in students from all the schools, and taking excellent care of the writers.

The writers: Ivor Hartmann, Zukiswa Wanner, Ellen Banda-Aaku, and Mukanda Mulemfo.

On the 17th four writers, Ellen Banda-Aaku, Mukanda Mulemfo, Zukiswa Wanner and I, talked to the students about writing and being a writer. As well as donating copies of our books (many thanks go to my publisher Vivlia for donating copies of Mr. Goop) to the six school libraries. We even a managed to fit in a workshop on creative writing and character creation, which ended with a creative writing competition to be handed in the next day.

Students from Orient Heights Primary, Greenhills Primary, Ramatha Road Primary, Springhaven Primary, Ridgeview Primary, and Northlands Primary.

On the 18th Zukiswa and I (Ellen and Mukanda had to leave for Durban), after an assembly talk with the whole of Orient Heights Primary, continued with the workshop started the day before. Students read their assignments aloud and we commented on each work. At the end of the readings we determined a first place prize winner, and awarded signed copies of the books. Lastly, in keeping with an ongoing culture of reading and to foster some friendly competition between schools, ReadSA asked that each school form a book club. These school book clubs will write and send one summary/analysis of monthly to ReadSA. The school with the winning summaries will be rewarded with more book donations within 18 months from this event.

Amisha Aiyer

So I give many thanks to Amisha and ReadSA, and all in all I believe it was a great experience for all involved. As for most (if not all) the students this was the first time they had met a writer in-person, and for me it was the first time meeting my readers (or potential readers) of Mr. Goop. So I learnt as much from the students as they did from us. The students were, I hope, inspired by the event to become avid readers of African literature, and perhaps saw the first blossoming of future South African writers from Pietermaritzburg.

Assembly with all the Students of Orient Heights Primary, with Zukiswa Wanner and Ivor Hartmann.

A Must-Read African authors books list

Awhile back there was a 100 must-read books list purportedly (it turned out not to be) from the Beeb doing the facebook rounds, and now its back in the form of an app. What greatly disappointed me then, and now, was the total absence of African authors on that list. So to remedy this dire oversight, and with your help, I’m composing a collective and unlimited African authors only must-read books list right here. Please add to this list in the comments and I will add them to the post. In no preferential order but what came to my mind as as must-read’s, here we go:
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The House of Hunger – Dambudzo Marechera
Arrow of God/Anthills of the Savannah – Chinua Achebe
The Stone Virgins – Yvonne Vera
Wizard of the Crow – Ngugi wa Thiong’o
When Rain Clouds Gather – Bessie Head
The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born – Ayi Kwei Armah
Harare North – Brian Chikwava
The Famished Road – Ben Okri
The Interpreters – Wole Soyinka
Black Diamond/Ways of Dying – Zakes Mda
The Hairdresser of Harare – Tendai Huchu
Men of the South – Zukiswa Wanner
An Elegy for Easterly – Petina Gappah
Diaries of a Dead African – Chuma Nwokolo
The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives – Lola Shoneyin
Who Fears Death – Nnedi Okorafor
Nervous Conditions – Tsitsi Dangarembga
The Boy Next Door – Irene Sabatini
Happiness is a Four-Letter Word – Cynthia Jele
The Memory of Love – Aminatta Forna
Purple Hibiscus/Half of a Yellow Sun/The Thing around Your Neck – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
African Psycho – Alain Mabanckou
Harmattan Rain – Ayesha Harruna Attah
Tail of the Blue Bird – Nii Ayikwei Parkes
Dancing with Life – Christopher Mlalazi
African Roar anthologies – Multi-author annual anthologies
Nairobi Heat – Mukoma Wa Ngũgĩ
Is it Coz I’m Black? – Ndumiso Ngcobo
On Black Sisters’ Street – Chika Unigwe
Unbridled/Blackbird – Jude Dibia
Harvest of Thorns/Can We Talk and Other Stories – Shimmer Chinodya
In Dependence – Sarah Ladipo Manyika
Bones – Chenjerai Hove
Underground People – Lewis Nkosi
Waiting for the Rain – Charles Mungoshi
A Fine Madness – Mashingaidze Gomo
To Saint Patrick – Eghosa Imasuen
Somewhere in This Country – Memory Chirere
The Old Man and the Medal – Ferdinand Oyono
Matigari – Ngugi wa Thiong’o
Down Second Avenue – Ezekiel Mphahlele
This Earth, My Brother – Kofi Awoonor
A Simple Lust – Dennis Brutus
The Setting Sun and the Rolling World – Charles Mungoshi
Sozaboy – Ken Saro-Wiwa
Walking with Shadows – Jude Dibia
Wife of the Gods – Kwei Quartey
Without a Silver Spoon – Eddie Iroh
Akin the Drummer Boy – Cyprian Ekwensi
Jagua Nana – Cyprian Ekwensi
Toads for Supper – Vincent Chukwuemeka Ike
I Do Not Come to You by Chance – Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani
Time of the Butcherbird – Alex la Guma
Dog Eat Dog – Niq Mhlongo
Joys of Motherhood – Buchi Emecheta
Efuru – Flora Nwapa
Sounds of a Cowhide Drum – Oswald Mbuyiseni Mtshali
From Caves of Rotten Teeth – A. Igoni Barrett
Pregnancy of the Gods – Odili Ujubuonu
Everything Good Will Come – Sefi Atta
Burma Boy – Biyi Bandele
Allah is Not Obliged – Ahmadou Kourouma
Zarah the Windseeker – Nnedi Okorafor
Graceland – Chris Abani
A Long Way Gone: memoirs of a boy soldier – Ishmael Beah
Mashetani (The Devil’s) – Ibrahim Hussein
Betrayal in the City – Francis Imbuga
Echoes of Silence/The Burdens – John Ruganda
Petals of Blood/A Grain of Wheat – Ngugi wa Thiong’o
Waiting for an Angel – Helon Habila
The House Gun – Nadine Gordimer
The Concubine – Elechi Amadi
Mine Boy – Peter Abrahams
The Lion and the Jewel – Wole Soyinka
Kill Me Quick – Meja Mwangi
Disgrace – J.M Cotzee
Potent Ash – Leonard Kibera and Sam Kahiga
Baobabs in Heaven – Tawanda Chabikwa
Stars of the New Curfew – Ben Okri
The Healers – Ayi Kwei Armah
Nights of the Creaking Bed – Toni Kan
Songs from the Marketplace/Village Voices/The Eye of the Earth – Niyi Osundare
Life and Times of Michael K – J.M. Coetzee
Triomf – Marlene Van Niekerk
Measuring Time – Helon Habila
The Only Son – John Munoye
Room 207/ The Book of the Dead – Kgebetli Moele
The Book of Secrets – M. G. Vassanji
Paradise – Abdulrazak Gurnah
Maps/Gifts/Secrets (Blood in the Sun trilogy) – Nuruddin Farah
So Long a Letter/Scarlet Song – Mariama Bâ
Agaat – Marlene van Niekerk
Welcome to our Hillbrow – Phaswane Mpe
Thirteen Cents/The Quiet Violence of Dreams – K. Sello Duiker
David’s Story/Playing in the Light – Zoe Wicomb
One Day I Will Write About This Place – Binyavanga Wainaina
Tropical Fish: Stories out of Entebbe – Doreen Baingana
The Identity of Blood Money – Mzondi Lungu
Say You are One of Them – Uwem Akpan
The Other Crucifix/The Sun by night/The Clothes of Nakedness – Benjamin Kwakye
Dantsoho: the artist by Mike Adeyi
Book of the Dead – Kgabetli Moele
Urban Zulu Warrior – Ndumiso Ngcobe
Sleepwalking Land – Mia Couto
AfroSF – Multi-author SF anthology
Going Down River Road/The Cockroach Dance/The Last Plague/Striving for the Wind – Meja Mwangi
Labyrinths – Christopher Okigbo

Seven effective habits of happily unsuccessful people

A self-help satire that in all probability is never coming to a book-store’s self-help section near you…

1) Be Retroactive
Random shit happens, how fast you deal with it will decide how it deals with you.

2) Begin with the beginning in mind
Don’t presume to know where you are going and how long it might take to get there.

3) Don’t do anything until you have to
(Fairly self-explanatory)

4) Think Zero-Zero
Something is inevitably lost by both sides in any confrontation, although it may not be readily apparent.

5) Seek to understand nothing nor to be understood
All we get are fractional glimpses of a larger truth; you will never know the whole truth of anything.

6) Create conflict
Conflict is the modus operandi of Earth and all its inhabitants, because it works; we are at our best when fighting others for something.

7) Blunt the blade
Don’t over-specialise, or you may find a single obsession that detracts from other obsessions.

Coming up next Week, Month, or Year: ‘Sorry there’s No Secret’.

African Roar 2012 TOC and Cover release

Editors: Emmanuel Sigauke & Ivor W. Hartmann
Title: African Roar 2012
Release: Dec. 2012
Publisher: StoryTime
ISBN: 978-0-9870089-7-8 (Ebook Edition)

African Roar 2012, an annual anthology of African Authors.

Table of Contents:
‘Sethunya Likes Girls Better’ Wame Molefhe
‘We Can See You’ Abdul Adan
‘How Nnedi Got Her Curved Spine’ Nnedi Okorafor
‘Soldiers of the Stone’ Uko Bendi Udo
‘The Revenge of Kamalaza Mayele’ Vukani G. Nyirenda
‘The Colours of Silence’ Ifesinachi Okoli-Okpagu
‘Sheltering Hearts’ Gothataone Moeng
‘You Smile’ Chika Onyenezi
‘A Mouse Amongst Men’ Ivor W. Hartmann
‘The Shady Taxi Driver’ Hana Njau-Okolo
‘Bottle’ Dawn Promislow

AfroSF: Science Fiction by African Writers: Table of Contents and Cover

AfroSF is the first ever anthology of Science Fiction by African writers only that was open to submissions from African writers all across Africa and abroad. Due for release in Dec 2012, ebook edition first, print edition later, and is comprised of original works only.

Editor: Ivor W. Hartmann
Title: AfroSF: Science Fiction by African Writers
Publisher: StoryTime
Release Date: December 2012

Table of Contents
‘Moom!’ Nnedi Okorafor
‘Home Affairs’ Sarah Lotz
‘Five Sets of Hands’ Cristy Zinn
‘New Mzansi’ Ashley Jacobs
‘Azania’ Nick Wood
‘Notes from Gethsemane’ Tade Thompson
‘Planet X’ S.A. Partridge
‘The Gift of Touch’ Chinelo Onwualu
‘The Foreigner’ Uko Bendi Udo
‘Angel Song’ Dave de Burgh
‘The Rare Earth’ Biram Mboob
‘Terms & Conditions Apply’ Sally-Ann Murray
‘Heresy’ Mandisi Nkomo
‘Closing Time’ Liam Kruger
‘Masquerade Stories’ Chiagozie Fred Nwonwu
‘The Trial’ Joan De La Haye
‘Brandy City’ Mia Arderne
‘Ofe!’ Rafeeat Aliyu
‘Claws and Savages’ Martin Stokes
‘To Gaze at the Sun’ Clifton Gachagua
‘Proposition 23’ (Novelette) Efe Okogu

Collected thoughts, excerpts, poems, and insights (mainly from 2011)

In 2010 I decided to start posting some of my own one-liner’s (well, mostly one-liner’s) at my facebook writer’s page. They are quite varied in source, some come from my side of conversations (real and digital), my works in progress, thoughts I had about issues or current events, personal insights, and the odd poem. So I have been a touch late in this second post, mainly for 2011, but here they are, last to first:

The past is always at war with the present over the future.

Don’t ask for what should be offered, and don’t offer beyond your means.

Not only is truth stranger than fiction, it’s often much more amusing.

There upon the gilded knife’s edge, with the abyss on one side and mediocrity on the other, I found a kind of fragile peace.

Never underestimate the importance of a great first reader.

There is only one race, life. No one wins, and we all have to participate.

Most real adventures are only fun in hindsight.

It’s a fallacy that writers have or develop thick skins (as that kind of insensitivity would get in the way of our writing), but we do bounce back quicker the more we get used to being publicly humiliated.

The human body is much like humanity itself. We have parts/attitudes that no longer serve a purpose, and need to be dealt with in each successive generation lest they damage the overall progress of the whole.

Even if you don’t believe in therapy, therapy believes in you.

A writer’s greatest inhibition lies in not allowing themselves to employ their own unique perspective.

We all, individually, change the world every day by our mere existence.

Of all the inadequacies we generally suffer from, lack of truly long-term survival strategies is probably the greatest.

For the most part what may seem to be insurmountable can be surmounted if you have the patience and perseverance to take one step at a time, and walk however many thousands of miles are needed.

Alice

There was a lady I knew in passing,
And she died, as we all do.
But death did not come sudden for her,
It came in parts that took away the whole.
The first was estrangement from her children.
The second a car accident;
Crashed into by a physically challenged driver,
Who ran a red light right into her car at speed.
The third from the second her job security,
From too many harsh words,
Whose source was misunderstood.
The fourth was a stroke;
She lay paralysed in her bath for four days,
Unable to shout or move,
Before her absence was noted by friends.
But this then came back to the first,
As her children did not then look after her,
They just took her back home and left.
The fifth, one week after the fourth, another stroke.
It was three days before they found her,
Slumped against her fridge, milk in hand, dead.
It was ten days before,
Her children cleared out her home.
And as they filed past burdened with her possessions,
I could not help but to wonder,
If the first could not have been overcome,
And overcome all five.

If you don’t learn from the past it will possess your future.

One Won Once

I got a car out back,
One day I’ll get it running.
I got a roof over my head,
One day I’ll fix all the holes.
I got a bank account,
One month it’ll earn more interest than bank fees.
I got a job, more than one,
One month they might pay all the bills.
I got a wife,
One year we’ll have a real honeymoon.
I got two children,
One year they’ll go to university.
I got a good suit, wore it for my wedding,
One decade I’ll wear it in my grave.
I got a president,
One election I reckon he’ll really do everything he said.
I got a planet, as much as everyone does,
One time, when I was a child, I gave it more than callous thanks.
I got hopes, when once I had dreams,
One second was all it took, to put them away with my one suit.

Look at how minorities are treated/mistreated to judge the health of a society.

Challenge the stereotype, change the paradigm.

There is no house, village, town, city, province, state, country, continent. There is only you and I, all together on this world called Earth.

Perhaps the most scary thing in writing is realising that you yourself have the potential to be your darkest characters, that they do indeed stem from a darkness in yourself. Accept and explore that fully (in the writing only of course), without fear, and your writing will be true expressions and insights into real humanity and thus serve their purpose: to understand and reveal who we are in the bright light of truth.

Master the basics, and you can branch out into uniqueness with confidence.

Why is it so hard to comprehend that everything is in actuality free?
That the only payment is time spent, and the sweat of all our brows.
That were we to abandon the mental prisons we have built for ourselves,
Barred in the inequality of economics, money, and shirked personal responsibility,
We would still achieve all we have and much more besides.
And most importantly we would all be as free as everything is in actuality.

There is no greater truth about humanity than that expressed on the school-yard playground, for indeed we never really leave it.

There should be far stronger ties between Africa and South America, our similarities are so many as evidenced in the works of our writers.

There were things untold, words never said, an inextricable silence pounding with meaning. It was in these moments she learnt the most. Before, she had wasted time; plotting and scheming how to exit this nightmare that couldn’t be woken from. Now, there was only the dull axe of acceptance firmly lodged inside her brain, severing her former being from this one…

While tolerance is better than intolerance, it is not enough to merely tolerate without understanding. For tolerance without understanding all to often becomes intolerance again, at the slightest inconvenience.

One of the finer skills of writing is not in knowing what to write, but what not to write.

In our world of invisible giants, that seek to control our every move, we can only sense them by their footfalls; and hopefully have the courage to act when we do.

Deeply Flawed

Yes, I am deeply flawed,
As crooked as the Limpopo.
I have grown and carved away,
The sculpture of my being.
To fit this space I create,
That stretches from you to I.
Where we all co-mingle,
At fractal edges.
With each to their own,
And owned by each.

A great story is always more than the sum of its writer.

If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not even trying. Success is built upon blunders, botches, bungles, and phenomenal balls-ups; so be not afraid of failure, for only in failure may you find success.

If you’re not prepared to work on a story with an editor until it shines, then don’t bother writing it in the first place. Have no illusions, writing for publication is very hard work indeed.

The greatest influence on your writing, should be yourself. Absolutely no one else has the unique perspective you do.

There is always a moment when writing a story (particularly a lengthy one) where you can only see the bark, never mind the tree or the whole forest. It is perhaps the darkest hour, when you have no idea whether what you are writing is a load of tosh or not. This is when ones first reader(s) are worth their weight in gold (for perspective), and what you have to do is keep on writing, and write you way out of it.

There’s no doubt I’m a night owl. Living in, as I do, a busy city, the stillness of late night/early morning is always so perfect for writing. Zero distractions, and the words flow out as easily and as fresh as water from a mountain spring. The only other way I could achieve this would be to live very rurally (also a very attractive option).

If you want to see heaven and hell, all you have to do is look out your window.

As a writer, observation without empathy is fairly useless.

If you the writer become bored while writing a fiction story (first draft) the chances are so will the reader of the final product. It’s better to abandon it and start another one, than waste your time any further.

If you’re not an avid reader, odds are you’ll never be a great or even good writer.

True freedom is an illusion, for we don’t really know what it is and how to attain it, but it is something we must continually strive for until we do know what it is, and how to live it and keep it. One thing is sure though, we are learning what freedom is not, and true freedom must start with the rights of the individual.

There is a spring to his gait I envy, an air of elicit excitement that can only be felt by the young. A time when breaking the rules has less consequences and far more satisfaction…

We wait, and wait, and wait, until we feel like strangers in our own skins wondering who we are and where we came from. Our memories dim until one day we wake up foreigners speaking strange tongues and meeting strange people; living a life that seems to fit as long as you don’t look too carefully.

Hear the shrieks of antiques, wreathed in mystiques that reeks of foul techniques and power-freaks piques, whose foundations creaks from sneaks with winning cyber-streaks.

To be neutral is to be indifferent, and the orphans of indifference are legion.

All rights reserved.
Copyright © Ivor W. Hartmann 2011-2012.

Call for submissions: a new SciFi anthology: AfroSF

Call for submissions: I am editing and publishing, AfroSF, a new African Science Fiction anthology. Really looking forward to reading what the writers come up with, and think on the whole this anthology could be quite ground breaking. AfroSF will be the first Science Fiction genre anthology open to submissions from all African writers (only) across the continent and diaspora.

Deadline for submissions is May 31st 2012.

Submission guidelines and submissions are here: AfroSF Submissions.

The Facebook page is here: AfroSF.

African Roar 2011: An annual anthology of African authors, First Release Now Out!

African Roar 2011 Happy to announce StoryTime’s second annual anthology, edited by Emmanuel Sigauke and myself, African Roar 2011 first release eBook edition is now out and about.

Featuring fourteen awesome works from established and emerging African Writers: Memory Chirere, Ruzvidzo Stanley Mupfudza, NoViolet Bulawayo, Zukiswa Wanner, Hajira Amla, Uche Peter Umez, Murenga Joseph Chikowero, Dango Mkandawire, Emmanuel Sigauke, Emmanuel Iduma, Ivor Hartmann, Mbonisi P. Ncube, Chimdindu Mazi-Njoku, Ayodele Morocco-Clarke: Silent Night, Bloody Night, and Isaac Neequaye.

It has garnered commendations from some great writers:

“What do you get when you mash up literary stars with exciting new voices? You get African Roar 2011. A fantastic collection of short stories with diverse voices covering a range of narratives and styles… Confident, imaginative, electrifying, African Roar 2011 is a treat for lovers of the short story everywhere.” — Tendai Huchu, author of The Hairdresser of Harare.

African Roar 2011 is a compelling collection of short stories with some of the big and emerging names in contemporary African writing. This cocktail of a book touches on diverse themes and sensibilities, weaving an intricate tapestry of modern tales.” — Jude Dibia, author of Blackbird and Unbridled, and a recipient of the Ken Saro-Wiwa Prose Prize and Commonwealth Writers Highly Commended Award.

“At a time when the short story is regaining popularity, this anthology showcases the form at its vibrant best. African Roar 2011 is a striking and exciting collection of stories. Read and revel in them.” — Jayne Bauling, South African novelist and poet, and winner of the 2009 Macmillan Writer’s Prize for Africa and the 2011 Maskew Miller Longman literature award.

African Roar 2011 is a well-prepared dish that offers a rich blend of literary delicacies; from the practised ink of the chefs, to the talented pens of the emerging writers, flow the rich creative ingredients that stew these pages into a most enjoyable story collection. The stories reflect the diversity of the tree from which they are plucked; the rich literary talent that has its roots in Africa. An exciting read.” — Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, short fiction writer and recipient of the 2009 Yvonne Vera Award.

“Encompassing a wide variety of diverse voices, African Roar 2011 showcases a smorgasbord of new and established writers. Fiction and memoir sit comfortably side by side in this intriguing collection, which puts paid once and for all to the myth of a monolithic African culture.” — Fiona Snyckers, author of the Trinity series of novels, and the Sisterz series of mobile novels.

“The fourteen short stories in African Roar 2011 are fourteen voices in a wide and beautiful range. They’re parables or fables, classically realistic, or savagely satiric, morality tales, haunting tales, or tales with intoxicating oral cadences. There are brilliant imaginings of other consciousnesses. They’re stories that take you deep into the hearts and minds of characters, and to places new yet familiar, and places quite strange. This anthology showcases dynamic voices coming from all over Africa and the African Diaspora right now, and they’re exhilarating indeed.” — Dawn Promislow, author of the collection Jewels and Other Stories.

“A salmagundi of wordsmiths that offers an array of narratives located in gritty African Realism interspersed with moments of magical realism and laugh-out-loud humour. A fitting tribute to the late Ruzvidzo Stanley Mupfudza, this anthology is a multifaceted authentic voice of Africa. A truly visceral reading experience as the stories unfolded from the pages and wrapped their filmic imagery around my mind.” — Gillian Schutte, award winning documentary filmmaker, writer, and social justice activist. Author of two collections of poetry and debut novel After just now, founder of the human rights forum Media for Justice, and the independent Ludic Press.

And a great insightful review from Dawn Promislow “…African Roar 2011 features voices telling stories in the ways they want to and must, defying all and any expectations to the contrary. In the pages of this anthology, writing coming now out of Africa and its Diaspora is not monolithic at all, nor bound by any prescription, but is writing varied in theme, genre and style, that is vibrantly alive going into the future.” read the full review here: SliP

Available to buy through the Kindle platform see:

Buy from Kindle USA

Buy from Kindle UK

Buy from Kindle Germany

Buy from Kindle France

And through Kindle apps on iTunes.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as we all have in making it for you.

How to succesfully irritate an editor

Warning: Just one and certainly all of these points combined are 100% guaranteed to work (and if they don’t you’re dealing with an alien editor from another planet with infinite patience, or, stupidity).

1 – Ignore most if not all of the initial extensive submission guidelines they had to create because of idiots like you.

2 – Harass the editor using all means available to you (online and offline) until they read your submission.

3 – Make sure your submission is as unreadable as possible; e.g. highly ‘experimental’, raw, un-proofed, not thought out at all, or clearly apparent you wrote it down only once while in a hurry, high, drunk, or perhaps even unconscious.

4 – Quit your day job as soon as you have your very first acceptance, so you’ll have plenty of time to harangue or abuse your editor all day long. After all, writers make lots of money, and you should have servants rolling up wheelbarrows full of cash before you know it. (point 4 by Paul Riddell)

5 – Do disregard any edits and suggestions made to your submission and give long-winded justifications as to why, because you and your editor know very well every word you typed is pure gold and could not be improved upon, ever.

6 – If by some miracle your editor takes pity on you, and thinks despite all of the above you might have talent, make sure to then attack and insult them personally until you achieve rejection.

7 – Repeat all of the above ad infinitum, with each and every editor, and moan loudly and publicly about how all editors are, Evil!

8 – (To now successfully irritate yourself once you have exhausted all the editors in the world…) Self-publish your work as is (per 3) and stay unemployed so as to await the river of cash that is sure to be cascading your way shortly; even though you have only published it on createspace/smashwords/lulu/etc. and done nothing else.

Why writers need to learn when to shut the f**k up

Recently there has been a spate of illustrious writers really shoving their foot in their mouths, sometimes all the way up to the knee. Two examples are VS Naipaul who recently said “I read a piece of writing and within a paragraph or two I know whether it is by a woman or not. I think [it is] unequal to me.”, and “Homosexuality is a defect” said recent Nebula award winner Eric James Stone (comment 21).

To quote one of my favourite humourist non-fiction writers: “Opinions are like nipples, everybody has one. Some have firm points, others are barely discernible through layers, and some are displayed at every opportunity regardless of whether the audience has stated ‘I am interested in your nipples’ or not.” – David Thorne. The last part is especially true of writers, who, mostly, by their nature of course have a multitude of nipples and they feel beholden to display each and every one of them whenever, wherever, they can.

But therein lies the rub, as writers we are now expected (and indeed required to do so by publishers in many cases) to shamelessly promote ourselves in whatever mediums we can to aid both one’s long term career and current book sales. But the truth is not every opinion a writer has is worth sharing, and with the net’s ability (socially and otherwise) to disseminate information at near light speeds, some opinions are certainly best left unsaid. Because when, for example, that opinion is blatantly sexist, then you have just shot yourself in the foot and lost at least 50% of your readers and many more potential readers. And that carelessly formed and thrown opinion, particularly when it hits the net, will last virtually forever.

There is the saying that ‘all publicity is good publicity’, but it does not hold true today, and perhaps it never has. So as a writer you have to think long and hard before you open your mouth, answer that email interview, or comment on anything at all online. Because if you don’t it could (depending on its severity) come back and bite a huge chunk out of your arse, and career, permanently. So we need to learn when to just shut the f**k up and keep our opinions to ourselves, and when not too. It’s either that or you need to become a recluse and have zero public interaction at all, which for seemingly compulsive serial offenders like Naipaul is probably the best option. So if you’re a closet misogynist, homophobe, racist, etc., then you’d best keep it in the closet. Unless you only want readers who share these views, because that’s all the readers you’ll have left, and the rest of us who don’t share these views, well, we won’t be buying your books any time soon once we know.

ReadSA goes to Pietermaritzburg

On the 17th and 18th of March as part of the ReadSA initiative I had the pleasure of going to Pietermaritzburg and speaking to students at Orient Heights Primary School, from six primary schools (Orient Heights Primary, Greenhills Primary, Ramatha Road Primary, Springhaven Primary, Ridgeview Primary, and Northlands Primary).

The two day event was perfectly organised by English teacher Amisha Aiyer and ReadSA, which included bussing in students from all the schools, and taking excellent care of the writers.

The writers: Ivor Hartmann, Zukiswa Wanner, Ellen Banda-Aaku, and Mukanda Mulemfo.

On the 17th four writers, Ellen Banda-Aaku, Mukanda Mulemfo, Zukiswa Wanner and I, talked to the students about writing and being a writer. As well as donating copies of our books (many thanks go to my publisher Vivlia for donating copies of Mr. Goop) to the six school libraries. We even a managed to fit in a workshop on creative writing and character creation, which ended with a creative writing competition to be handed in the next day.

Students from Orient Heights Primary, Greenhills Primary, Ramatha Road Primary, Springhaven Primary, Ridgeview Primary, and Northlands Primary.

On the 18th Zukiswa and I (Ellen and Mukanda had to leave for Durban), after an assembly talk with the whole of Orient Heights Primary, continued with the workshop started the day before. Students read their assignments aloud and we commented on each work. At the end of the readings we determined a first place prize winner, and awarded signed copies of the books. Lastly, in keeping with an ongoing culture of reading and to foster some friendly competition between schools, ReadSA asked that each school form a book club. These school book clubs will write and send one summary/analysis of monthly to ReadSA. The school with the winning summaries will be rewarded with more book donations within 18 months from this event.

Amisha Aiyer

So I give many thanks to Amisha and ReadSA, and all in all I believe it was a great experience for all involved. As for most (if not all) the students this was the first time they had met a writer in-person, and for me it was the first time meeting my readers (or potential readers) of Mr. Goop. So I learnt as much from the students as they did from us. The students were, I hope, inspired by the event to become avid readers of African literature, and perhaps saw the first blossoming of future South African writers from Pietermaritzburg.

Assembly with all the Students of Orient Heights Primary, with Zukiswa Wanner and Ivor Hartmann.

A Must-Read African authors books list

Awhile back there was a 100 must-read books list purportedly (it turned out not to be) from the Beeb doing the facebook rounds, and now its back in the form of an app. What greatly disappointed me then, and now, was the total absence of African authors on that list. So to remedy this dire oversight, and with your help, I’m composing a collective and unlimited African authors only must-read books list right here. Please add to this list in the comments and I will add them to the post. In no preferential order but what came to my mind as as must-read’s, here we go:
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The House of Hunger – Dambudzo Marechera
Arrow of God/Anthills of the Savannah – Chinua Achebe
The Stone Virgins – Yvonne Vera
Wizard of the Crow – Ngugi wa Thiong’o
When Rain Clouds Gather – Bessie Head
The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born – Ayi Kwei Armah
Harare North – Brian Chikwava
The Famished Road – Ben Okri
The Interpreters – Wole Soyinka
Black Diamond/Ways of Dying – Zakes Mda
The Hairdresser of Harare – Tendai Huchu
Men of the South – Zukiswa Wanner
An Elegy for Easterly – Petina Gappah
Diaries of a Dead African – Chuma Nwokolo
The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives – Lola Shoneyin
Who Fears Death – Nnedi Okorafor
Nervous Conditions – Tsitsi Dangarembga
The Boy Next Door – Irene Sabatini
Happiness is a Four-Letter Word – Cynthia Jele
The Memory of Love – Aminatta Forna
Purple Hibiscus/Half of a Yellow Sun/The Thing around Your Neck – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
African Psycho – Alain Mabanckou
Harmattan Rain – Ayesha Harruna Attah
Tail of the Blue Bird – Nii Ayikwei Parkes
Dancing with Life – Christopher Mlalazi
African Roar anthologies – Multi-author annual anthologies
Nairobi Heat – Mukoma Wa Ngũgĩ
Is it Coz I’m Black? – Ndumiso Ngcobo
On Black Sisters’ Street – Chika Unigwe
Unbridled/Blackbird – Jude Dibia
Harvest of Thorns/Can We Talk and Other Stories – Shimmer Chinodya
In Dependence – Sarah Ladipo Manyika
Bones – Chenjerai Hove
Underground People – Lewis Nkosi
Waiting for the Rain – Charles Mungoshi
A Fine Madness – Mashingaidze Gomo
To Saint Patrick – Eghosa Imasuen
Somewhere in This Country – Memory Chirere
The Old Man and the Medal – Ferdinand Oyono
Matigari – Ngugi wa Thiong’o
Down Second Avenue – Ezekiel Mphahlele
This Earth, My Brother – Kofi Awoonor
A Simple Lust – Dennis Brutus
The Setting Sun and the Rolling World – Charles Mungoshi
Sozaboy – Ken Saro-Wiwa
Walking with Shadows – Jude Dibia
Wife of the Gods – Kwei Quartey
Without a Silver Spoon – Eddie Iroh
Akin the Drummer Boy – Cyprian Ekwensi
Jagua Nana – Cyprian Ekwensi
Toads for Supper – Vincent Chukwuemeka Ike
I Do Not Come to You by Chance – Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani
Time of the Butcherbird – Alex la Guma
Dog Eat Dog – Niq Mhlongo
Joys of Motherhood – Buchi Emecheta
Efuru – Flora Nwapa
Sounds of a Cowhide Drum – Oswald Mbuyiseni Mtshali
From Caves of Rotten Teeth – A. Igoni Barrett
Pregnancy of the Gods – Odili Ujubuonu
Everything Good Will Come – Sefi Atta
Burma Boy – Biyi Bandele
Allah is Not Obliged – Ahmadou Kourouma
Zarah the Windseeker – Nnedi Okorafor
Graceland – Chris Abani
A Long Way Gone: memoirs of a boy soldier – Ishmael Beah
Mashetani (The Devil’s) – Ibrahim Hussein
Betrayal in the City – Francis Imbuga
Echoes of Silence/The Burdens – John Ruganda
Petals of Blood/A Grain of Wheat – Ngugi wa Thiong’o
Waiting for an Angel – Helon Habila
The House Gun – Nadine Gordimer
The Concubine – Elechi Amadi
Mine Boy – Peter Abrahams
The Lion and the Jewel – Wole Soyinka
Kill Me Quick – Meja Mwangi
Disgrace – J.M Cotzee
Potent Ash – Leonard Kibera and Sam Kahiga
Baobabs in Heaven – Tawanda Chabikwa
Stars of the New Curfew – Ben Okri
The Healers – Ayi Kwei Armah
Nights of the Creaking Bed – Toni Kan
Songs from the Marketplace/Village Voices/The Eye of the Earth – Niyi Osundare
Life and Times of Michael K – J.M. Coetzee
Triomf – Marlene Van Niekerk
Measuring Time – Helon Habila
The Only Son – John Munoye
Room 207/ The Book of the Dead – Kgebetli Moele
The Book of Secrets – M. G. Vassanji
Paradise – Abdulrazak Gurnah
Maps/Gifts/Secrets (Blood in the Sun trilogy) – Nuruddin Farah
So Long a Letter/Scarlet Song – Mariama Bâ
Agaat – Marlene van Niekerk
Welcome to our Hillbrow – Phaswane Mpe
Thirteen Cents/The Quiet Violence of Dreams – K. Sello Duiker
David’s Story/Playing in the Light – Zoe Wicomb
One Day I Will Write About This Place – Binyavanga Wainaina
Tropical Fish: Stories out of Entebbe – Doreen Baingana
The Identity of Blood Money – Mzondi Lungu
Say You are One of Them – Uwem Akpan
The Other Crucifix/The Sun by night/The Clothes of Nakedness – Benjamin Kwakye
Dantsoho: the artist by Mike Adeyi
Book of the Dead – Kgabetli Moele
Urban Zulu Warrior – Ndumiso Ngcobe
Sleepwalking Land – Mia Couto
AfroSF – Multi-author SF anthology
Going Down River Road/The Cockroach Dance/The Last Plague/Striving for the Wind – Meja Mwangi
Labyrinths – Christopher Okigbo

Seven effective habits of happily unsuccessful people

A self-help satire that in all probability is never coming to a book-store’s self-help section near you…

1) Be Retroactive
Random shit happens, how fast you deal with it will decide how it deals with you.

2) Begin with the beginning in mind
Don’t presume to know where you are going and how long it might take to get there.

3) Don’t do anything until you have to
(Fairly self-explanatory)

4) Think Zero-Zero
Something is inevitably lost by both sides in any confrontation, although it may not be readily apparent.

5) Seek to understand nothing nor to be understood
All we get are fractional glimpses of a larger truth; you will never know the whole truth of anything.

6) Create conflict
Conflict is the modus operandi of Earth and all its inhabitants, because it works; we are at our best when fighting others for something.

7) Blunt the blade
Don’t over-specialise, or you may find a single obsession that detracts from other obsessions.

Coming up next Week, Month, or Year: ‘Sorry there’s No Secret’.