Writings of the general word's body

Monday, February 12, 2007

Publisher's Pride

No one can accuse Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's UK publishers of not being proud enough of their wave-making author. "When beauty shines through, everyone sees it" - goes the bold statement on adverts for the new paperback edition of Half of a Yellow Sun. This (left) is a poster on a platform at Green Park Station - right there as you wait for the rush hour tube train. You can't put it plainer than that. The ad also announces the fact that Adichie's book is a Richard & Judy Book Club selection for 2007 - something which is certain to lead to sky-rocketing sales - and which will bring the author onto the Richard & Judy TV programme on March 14.
So there I was last week in the Wembley Asda store - to buy carrots, cereals, chicken legs and such like. I could hardly believe it when I saw right there on sale among the usual publishing suspects - Half of a Yellow Sun. No more talk of not being able to find this African writers' book in Books Etc..., Borders, or what have you. This one has broken the supermarket barrier in the UK! Which is to say it will be bought by the bucket loads. Which is to say our girl has "run past the bend in the road" - as I like to say. Well, never mind that I already have a hardback copy, I just had to have my own certified Asda, Richard & Judy approved copy. So I plonked it into my shopping trolley.

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Meanwhile, Giles Foden, author of the book from which The Last King of Scotland is adapted, reviews 2001 Caine prizewinner Helon Habila's 2nd novel, Measuring Time, published this month in the UK by Hamish Hamilton - and later this year in Nigeria by Cassava Republic. Foden writes:

"Given the way the country has gone, Nigeria now being a byword for scheming selfishness and corruption, it seems no accident that twins should play such a big role in the late renaissance of the Nigerian novel, as illuminated by Helon Habila, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Helen Oyeyemi... Habila... author of the acclaimed Waiting for an Angel, has also written a novel in which twins and history are central. It is a very subtle piece of work in which the story of a family and community in northern Nigeria in the 1980s and early 90s is woven into a wider sociopolitical narrative, touching on education, responsibility, the colonial inheritance and the mythic substratum of folklore." - Read the review in full.


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