This week’s issue features excerpts of fiction, some poems, and a non-fiction piece from a writer’s residency. Chris Ihidero, a columnist from Lagos, makes a debut with two poems exploring pain and nostalgia. In Bolaji Olatunde’s Straw Dogs, a young man explores his own sexuality and confrontation with the forces of Christianity. I strongly recommend it. Alkasim Abdulkadir also makes a debut with five poems, while Temitayo Olofinlua’s report on a chance encounter with a fellow Ugandan writer/teacher makes for a fascinating insight into a meeting of cultures and thoughts. What they all have in common, I guess, is a touch of personal subjectivity in approaching an always changing world.
In other news about contemporary developments in the literary world, the Caine Prize has come out with a shortlist of this year’s competing works. The shortlisted writers are Nigeria’s Rotimi Babatunde, Kenya’s Billy Kahora, Malawi’s Stanley Kenani, Zimbabwe’s Melissa Tandiwe Myambo, and South Africa’s Constance Myburgh. Links to their stories have been listed on the Caine Prize webpage while a California-based blogger Aaron Bady has put up a list of current reviews of each of the shortlisted stories on his website. From what has been written so far, shortlisted entries for this year’s prize present a forward-looking snapshot of the continent’s literary future.
All that’s left here is a tribute to Maurice Sendak, the famous author of children’s books (especially, Where the Wild Things Are), who died on Tuesday at the age of 83. Enjoy our issue!