We all know of Chimamanda Adichie. Many may have read her works, reveled in the feminism of her works and her depiction of Nigeria and its struggles, which are especially beautifully bought out in her two novels, Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun.
But Nigeria is also teeming with many other female writers writing in English. While Adichie’s writing is breathtaking, her works often overshadow the other writers.
So this International Women’s Day, The Book Cafe, brings to the limelight five female Nigerian authors that one must read:
1. Buchi Emecheta:
Chinua Achebe seems to embody African literature. English literature syllabus in universities that teach world literature or post colonial literature, undoubtedly include Things Fall Apart by Achebe.
But Buchi Emecheta is not as well known. She was born in Lagos but immigrated to London with her husband. Her works are prolific and portray the sexism of institutions such as marriage and motherhood as well as speak about her own experiences as an immigrant. If you loved Americanah by Adichie, you should give her books her read too! You can borrow her books at the Internet Archive.
2. Flora Nwapa:
Flora Nwapa is another pioneer of Nigerian writing. Her works also lay bare the inherent discrimination within Igbo society. She combines folktales and stories to present modern day narratives of female empowerment. Through her books, the reader gets to see a women’s perspective of Igbo culture which is vastly different from Achebe’a portrayal of the same culture as it shows a male perspective. You can borrow one of her novels, Women Are Different at the Internet Archive.
Google commemorated her 86th birthday in 2017 as well!
It is February 22nd! Anddd today is National Cat Day in Japan.
Thus, we at The Book Cafe want to celebrate it by presenting the Top 5 books from Japanese Literature that feature none other than our favourite feline creatures, CATS!
Japan loves its cats. They feature in legends and folklore. There are even shrines dedicated to them such as Nekonomiya (Shrine of the Cat) in Yamagata Prefecture or the Nekojinja (Cat Shrine) on the island of Tashirojima in the Miyagi Prefecture. And of course the ubiquitous maneki neko (the beckoning cat) beckons through most shops and restaurants.
Unsurprisingly, Japanese literature also boasts of several books that centre on cats or have cats as prominent characters.
Let’s take a look at the Top 5 Japanese novels that are about cats:
Folklore are the world’s oldest stories. India is replete with them. All corners of the country can boast of their own set of different oral stories that have been passed down from one generation to another.
Yet the 20th and 21st century (and perhaps earlier too?) there have been authors who have created exceptional fictional worlds, after being inspired by folklore and legends. They rewrite them. They create their own. They interweave fiction and folklore creating a rich tapestry of story telling, adding to our country’s own storytelling traditions.
Here’s our Top 5:
If you have been following The Book Cafe posts, you may have noticed about how I have been trying to read more female writers and how many of their novels have had a sense of growth and change in the female characters which makes them qualify as a bildungsroman novel. A bildungsroman novel can be loosely defined as a coming of age novel focusing on the protagonist’s formative years or a novel that highlights a physical or psychological growth and change.
Often, these bildungsroman novels have a male protagonist and their specific growth. But in this post I would like to highlight my top 5 picks of female bildungsroman novels!
Come take a look!
5. In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez:
This is a heart wrenching true story of three Mirabel sisters who became legends because of their defiance during the gaunt Trujillo regime in Dominican Republic. It is not just about their rebellious years but also about their innocent childhood, their family life and how they grew into the symbols that they have become today.
Read my full review here.
4. Circle of Karma by Kunzang Choden:
This one is a debut novel in English from the renowned Bhutanese author, Kunzang Choden and she takes us to join Tshomo’s journey towards her acceptance of her self and her spiritual love.
As temperatures dip, grab a cuppa and enjoy the soothing, balmy poems of Meena Alexander.
Here are my top 5 picks of her poems:
Terrace deep as the sky.
Stone bench where I sit and read,
I wandered by myself
Into the heart of the mountains of Yoshino.
In one hand a book, in the other, a bag made of newsprint—
No weather-beaten bones here
Just lychees bought in the market,
Thirty rupees per kilogram.
Stalks mottled red tied up with string,
Flesh the color of pigeon wings—
Sunlight bruises air
Pine trees blacken.
Where shall I go?
The Dhauladhar peaks
Are covered in snow.
I watch your hands at the keyboard
Making music, one hand with a tiny jot,
A birthmark I think where finger bone
Joins palm, mark of the fish,
Living thing in search of a watering
Hole set in a walled garden,
Or in a field with all the fences torn:
Where I hear your father cry into the wind
That beats against stones in a small town
Where you were born; its cornfields
Skyward pointing, never sown, never
To be reaped, flagrant, immortal.
Come September and we are to celebrate the world of translations!
That is because September is the National Translation Month!
Take a look at this below to find more translation picks!
Here are my Top 5 translations! There are of course many more but these are the ones I picked for this post!