Waiting for an Angel is told episodically through linked stories, focusing on well-drawn and believable characters and their daily lives. He writes with great compassion and empathy, bringing to the fore not only the place and its atmosphere but also emphasizing the individuals’ capacity for hope and courage, friendship and love, beauty and poetry, despite the disturbing circumstances that they have to confront. The book was first published in 2000 in Nigeria as a story collection with one of the stories, “Love Poems”, winning Habila the 2001 Caine Prize for African Writing. The collection was later published in a revised format as Waiting for an Angel in 2002.
Four children – Ndike, Tobe, Somto and Ezinne – respond to an emergency call from home that their mother Ma’Kanu is dying. Ma’Kanu, who is in the last throes of death, makes a final demand of her children that her wake be held while she is still alive. The wake, she says, must be held with no tears and no sadness. The children must each tell her a story with random words she supplies them.
Yejide Kilanko is a Nigerian author, poet, and social worker based in Ontario, Canada. Her debut novel, Daughters Who Walk This Path, was published in April 2012 by Penguin Canada and is due to be released in the US next year. In this interview with Africa Book Club, she talks about her debut novel, how she managed to land a publishing contract with Penguin.
Ginny as she is fondly called is married to a young curate called Arthur and has no child of her own. She believes her prayer has been answered when a baby girl in a Tesco bag is brought to her and she earnestly presses for adoption. The child is named Julia. Not long afterwards, a black woman, Catherine decides to put up her eighteen month old son for adoption and she chooses Ginny and Arthur. Ginny accepts, though warily and Chester, the black child finds a home in the personage.
Released in January 2012, The Ghost of Sani Abacha is a collection of 26 stories by the witty and satirical writer Chuma Nwokolo and has its setting in Nigeria. Seventeen of the stories are published here for the first time. Contrary to its title, the book is not about Sani Abacha, the late president of the country, but rather it’s about everyday occurrence of the human life.
Myne Whitman is a Nigerian author, currently based in Seattle, USA, who has self-published two books – A Heart to Mend (2009) and A Love Rekindled (2011). A scientist by training – she holds a Masters degree in Public Health Research – Whitman decided to follow her passion, and now writes full-time. She also runs a blog – NaijaStories.com, which promotes upcoming Nigerian authors. In 2011, she was selected among the 50 Nigerians who made a Difference in 2011 by the Nation Newspaper for her work promoting Nigerian literature. In this interview, Whitman talks about her self-publishing experience and her remarkable success in using social media to promote her work.
Nine Lives is a story about Olupitan Ogunrinu, a young village boy and the travails he goes through to become a man. Pitan as he is called for short, comes from a poor rural fishing community. The first of three children, he has come to enjoy the serenity and peace associated with village life. But his life changes abruptly, when he gains admission to study at a university in the city.
Toyin Omoyeni Falola, well known scholar of African history, has used his personal experiences to create a rich and innovative memoir, combining his growing up during that time with events in his community and the country as a whole. The resulting book gives the reader vivid insight into a complex society with its intricate traditions, in particular those of the Yoruba culture.
In The Trouble with Nigeria, acclaimed author Chinua Achebe addresses his country’s problems, and the challenges that hold back Nigeria from moving forward. His arguments, however, are relevant not just for Nigeria but for many other countries.
‘Imagine this’ is the diary account of Omolola Ogunwole, a young girl who started keeping a diary from the age of nine. The diary, which she named ‘Jupiter’ was a constant companion to her when she was uprooted from familiar surroundings to a place where no one understood her. It chronicles ten years of her life.