Writings of the general word's body

Monday, December 18, 2006

New Reads

Nigeria has recently witnessed a plethora of writers from the diaspora doing reading tours in that country and this is supported by a new generation of young publishers who are linking up with metropolitan publishers to co-publish African editions of books by African writers first published abroad. African publishers like Farafina Books on the ground acquire the rights to publish them locally in order to make them available and affordable in Africa. In addition, they have toured these writers to several cities in Nigeria and recent tours have included Sefi Atta (winner of the inaugural Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa 2006) with her book Everything Good Will Come, Diana Evans with her book 26A (winner of the Orange Prize for New Writers 2005) and Ogaga Ifowodo, one of the most respected of a younger generation of poets and a major poetic voice, appeared at The Jazzhole in Lagos with his latest publication entitled 'Pouring Words on Troubled Waters: The Writer and His Nation' in September 2006.
  • The above is extracted from Becky Clarke's introduction to the current issue of Crossing Borders Magazine, which offers up new short stories by African writers including Jackee Budesta Batanda and Blessing Musariri. Read it all here.

In a new story by Nadine Gordimer published in The New Yorker, a South African woman contends with a sense that her husband, a cellist, is having an affair. In this excerpt, she wonders who the other woman might be...

Or was the woman nearer home? A member of the national orchestra in which he and his cello were star performers? That was an identification she found hard to look for, considering their company of friends in this way. A young woman, of course, a younger woman than herself. But wasn’t that just the inevitable decided at her mother’s tea-table forum? The clarinet player was in her late forties, endowed with fine breasts in décolleté and a delightful wit. There was often repartee between them, the clarinet and the cello, over drinks. The pianist, young with waist-length red-out-of-the-bottle hair, was a lesbian kept under strict guard by her woman. The third and last female musician in the orchestra was also the last whom one would be crass enough to think of: her name was Khomotso; she was the second violinist of extraordinary talent, one of the two black musicians. She was so young; she had given birth to an adored baby, who, for the first few months of life, had been brought to rehearsals in the car of Khomotso’s sister so that the mother could suckle the infant there. The director of the orchestra gave an interview to a Sunday newspaper about this, as an example of the orchestra’s adaptation to the human values of the new South Africa. The violinist was certainly the prettiest, the most desirable, of the women in whose company the cellist spent the intense part of his days and nights, but respect, his human feeling, would be stronger than sexual attraction, his identification with her as a musician would make distracting her from that taboo. As for him, wouldn’t it look like the old South Africa—a white man “taking advantage of” the precariously balanced life of a young black woman?

Read 'The First Sense'...

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