Reviewed by Ore Williams Often in Young Adult (YA) novels, both physical and mental health issues can be written in a high-school or teenage-centric universe, full of boyfriend-girlfriend issues, dysfunctional or problem-ridden parent-child relationships, broken homes, and sexual abuse. So it’s refr…
Shortlisted for the Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2017. “We walk on wet gravel, following the silver hearse up the hill. In front of me, my eldest cousin. He rests his hand on the boot of the car, his face scrunched with tears. ‘Bentong!’ he shouts. ‘Go back to Bentong!’”
Dr Abby Waterman survives rat-infested cold-water tenements in London’s East End, the Great Depression, WW2 and the Blitz to become a Harley Street dentist, a doctor, an entrepreneur, a consultant pathologist and director of a cancer research laboratory.
Written in North Korea between 1989 and 1995 during the Kim Il-sung era, Bandi (a pseudonym meaning ‘firefly’) draws from his perspective as a worker in ‘The Accusation: Forbidden Stories from Inside North Korea’. Reviewed by Felicity Gee
“‘I bought you something,’ Duncan said, ‘but you can’t love it.’” In a world where man’s best friend is either their dog or their smartphone, Maria Hummer’s short story explores what happens when one couple tries to combine both.
Dzifa Benson reviews Don’t Panic, I’m Islamic – an anthology of artwork, photography, memoir, short stories by 34 contributors from around the world, all exploring what it means to be a Muslim in increasingly challenging times.
A short story by Jarred McGinnis, which was shortlisted for the 2016 Wasafiri New Writing Prize. ‘I Am a Forest, and a Night of Dark Trees’ is a dystopian story following a group of teenagers in a psychiatric unit.
Karimu Benetu woke up startled; hounded out of sleep by a relentless montage of dark dreams. Funeral processions, burning pyres, owl calls, and then dozing off right inside a dream. Death couldn’t be closer. It took Bako’s rudder rant to steer him afloat. He sat motionless on the bed, brow creased in sweat. Unsteady eyes fell on his phone. Two missed calls from Sweetness. He called back.
A delightfully funny short story by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, author of the award-winning novel Harmless Like You. Published for the first time on Wasafiri, ‘People with Wings’ explores a relationship between a husband and wife framed by the question, ‘Would you take your partner to the train station?’
Writing and artwork in the recently published Wasafiri special issue, ‘Writing Hong Kong’, capture the tense political climate that Hong Kong is experiencing. Some of the most notable factors contributing to the tension are the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) increasing involvement in Hong Kong legislation and politics, unregulated immigration from the PRC to Hong Kong, and local Hong Kong people’s resistance to this.
A touching piece of life writing by Rosemary Benzing on faith healing and a death in her family. ‘Grey Monday’ was shortlisted for the 2016 Wasafiri New Writing Prize. It is a reminder that ‘poor hope is better than none’.
An exclusive short story by Nadia Kabir Barb from her collection Truth or Dare, which is out now from Bengal Lights Books. In this tale two schoolboys play a game of truth or dare, which sends them on violently different paths.
It was the first time Goodluck infiltrated a wedding kikao. These gatherings were untapped domain. His habit had always been with actual weddings, the big ones in particular, where he felt buffered by the crowd. Though he was never actually indistinct, his distinction gave him more cushion – one was less likely to be interrogated at weddings when one was a priest or wearing a priest’s collar. And this commonly earned Goodluck esteem. Even if he were exposed (this had happened just twice in three years), he would be escorted out discreetly because no one would be seen mishandling a man of God.
On the spur of the moment, Scott decided to take a leave of absence from his job, to see Goya’s giant tapestry cartoons, among the jewels of the Prado Museum in Madrid. Since his mother’s funeral, two months before, he’d been finding it difficult to sit at his cluttered desk. There was a plant in his office that reminded him of her, perhaps because of its quiet, unassuming presence, or perhaps because of the shape of its leaves, which resembled one of her aprons. Sitting at his desk, he felt the new emptiness.
Ndinda Kioko is the winner of the Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2017, fiction category.
Samira wanted me to say yes. She had asked if I could accompany her to an exhibition later that day. Though this was the kind of thing I hated, it was impossible to say no to Samira with my head resting on the softness of her thigh, with her hands twisting my hair into Bantu knots. When I said yes, she shifted her body on the bed so that my head rested on the bare mattress, and then she kissed me.
Know Your Place is a collection of essays on working class experiences by 22 writers including Kit de Waal, Durre Shahwar Mughal and Catherine O’Flynn. Published by Liverpudlian indie Dead Ink, it was crowdfunded on Kickstarter, which is fast becoming the standard for book projects that mix social activism with literary merit. The project was in part inspired by Nikesh Shukla, editor of The Good Immigrant, who tweeted that someone do ‘a good immigrant-style state of the nation book of essays by writers from working class backgrounds’. The rest, as they say, is history.
On the one hand, it’s a shame that a book such as the Bare Lit anthology is necessary. Its very existence shows that the mainstream publishing industry risks making itself culturally irrelevant if it continues its present trajectory of passing over writers of colour. On the other hand, it is a vital that such a book exists because it acts as a kind of index of cultural independence and emblem of innovation within the publishing industry which has been slow to recognise the sheer scope, talent and value of BAME writers.
An interview with Monique Roffey, the Trinidadian and British author of The Tryst, which has been described by Rowan Pelling as ‘a sly, feral, witty, offbeat erotic novella that unsettles the reader, even as it arouses.’ Roffey discusses the genesis of the novel, different attitudes to sex, and also recommends some steamy reads.
Two boys get suspended from school. It’s at that moment their troubles really begin… A short story by Rafael Gamero who is an Assistant Professor of English at Shaw University. His fiction and non-fiction have been published in The Caribbean Writer, Drunk Monkeys, Litro Magazine, and others.
A heart rending but hopeful story of migration during the Partition in 1947 by acclaimed novelist and scriptwriter Qaisra Shahraz. Abandoned during the flight of Muslims to newly founded Pakistan, Riaz finds a new home with a Hindu family. Twenty years later, now named Raju, he makes the journey to Lahore to find his biological parents.
Saadat Hasan Manto was an Indo-Pakistani writer, playwright and author considered among the greatest writers of short stories in South Asian history. Here we reproduce one of his letters to Uncle Sam i.e. the USA, by kind permission of the Universal Poetries website.
Neel Mukherjee the acclaimed author of The Lives of Others in conversation with novelist Anjali Joseph about his latest novel A State of Freedom, which covers the novel, ‘Indianness’, and life in Britain in light of Brexit.
Elisabeth Sennitt Clough lives in Norfolk with her husband and three children. Her pamphlet Glass was a winner in the Paper Swans inaugural pamphlet competition and became a Poetry Society ‘Top Pick’. Her debut collection Sightings was published by Pindrop Press. Her poems have appeared in The Rialto, Mslexia, Magma, Stand, I,S&T, and The Cannons’ Mouth.
Helen de Búrca was born in Ireland and lives in Geneva, Switzerland. Her prize-winning stories have been published in The Irish Literary Review, the Sunday Business Post, the Nivalis 2016 anthology, the Aesthetica Creative Writing Anthology 2017, the Lakeview International Journal of Literature and the Arts, and Bare Fiction Magazine. ‘A Pair of Silk Stockings’ was shortisted for the Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2016.
Olivia Laing is a British writer and cultural critic. She is the author of three books: To the River, The Trip to Echo Spring and The Lonely City. Her tale ‘The Abandoned Person’s Tale’ appears in Refugee Tales: Volume II, which is out now from Comma Press.
Zeba Talkhani reviews Arundhati Roy’s second novel, which invites ‘readers to view alternate experiences of living in India. From the outcasts to the untouchables, from the marginalised to the misunderstood, from the war-torn Kashmiris to the rebelling Maoists, from domestic abuse to suicide, Roy covers it all. Towards the end of the book, we are confronted with another question, “How to tell a shattered story?”‘
Marta Naigzy Woodward considers herself an American child of East Africa, and a member of the African diaspora at large. Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to parents of Eritrean descent, and raised in Kenya – she now lives in the cultural melting pot of Silver Spring, Maryland where all three of her “parent” countries are well-represented. She is a wife, mother, teacher, and – during the precious in-between hours – a writer.
Steph Vidal-Hall coaches artists from all genres, particularly those from backgrounds under-represented in our cultural leadership. She facilitates literary events, including the PowWow Festival of Writing, the UK’s only writing festival to take place in a pub garden…
We used to keep chickens in the backyard. They came to us by way of My Uncle Sam’s Ford Cortina; yellow exterior, black roof and two furry dice hanging from the rear view mirror. Class. We, that is my mother’s extended family and me, all lived in a four-bedroom house on Comerford Road in Brockley. We called it ‘Yard’ and round Yard every room was a bedroom, except for the bathroom, kitchen and My Nana’s prized front room.
Irenosen Okojie reviews Leone Ross’s Come Let Us Sing Anyway, ‘a raucous, vibrant collection of short stories that rattles along, genre hopping with chameleon-like gusto’ from the Orange Prize shortlisted author ofAll the Blood Is Red and Orange Laughter.
Lesley Nneka Arimah (Nigeria) is shortlisted for The Caine Prize for ‘Who Will Greet You At Home’ published in The New Yorker (USA. 2015). She is the author of What It Means When A Man Falls from the Sky, a collection of stories published by Riverhead Books (US) and Tinder Press (UK), 2017. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Per Contra and other publications. Lesley was shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2016 and was a participant in the Caine Prize 2017 workshop in Tanzania.
Zillah Bowes is a writer and filmmaker. Her poems have been published in magazines and anthologies including Mslexia, The Next Review and Tate Modern.She received a New Writer’s Award from Literature Wales in 2014 and a Creative Wales Award from the Arts Council of Wales in 2017. She was selected for the Writers at Work programme at Hay Festival in 2016/17.
Bushra al-Fadil (Sudan) is shortlisted for The Caine Prize for ‘The Story of the Girl whose Birds Flew Away’ translated by Max Shmookler with support from Najlaa Osman Eltom, published in The Book of Khartoum – A City in Short Fiction edited by Raph Cormack & Max Shmookler (Comma Press, UK. 2016). Bushra has published four collections of short stories in Arabic. His most recent collection Above a City’s Sky was published in 2012, the same year Bushra won the Altayeb Salih Short Story Award. Bushra holds a PhD in Russian language and literature.
Ioanna Mavrou is a writer from Nicosia, Cyprus. Her short stories have appeared in Electric Literature, Okey-Panky, The Rumpus, Paper Darts, and elsewhere. She runs tiny publishing house Book Ex Machina and is the editor of Matchbook Stories: a literary magazine in matchbook form.
Arinze Ifeakandu (Nigeria) is shortlisted for The Caine Prize for ‘God’s Children Are Little Broken Things’ published in A Public Space 24. Arinze was the editor of The Muse (No. 44) at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka where he studied English and literature, graduating in 2016. In 2013, Arinze attended the Farafina Trust Creative Writing workshop and was shortlisted for the BN Poetry Prize in 2015.
Winnie M Li’s impressive debut novel Dark Chapter takes an unflinching look at rape through the experience of a young American-Taiwanese woman who is brutally attacked by a teenage boy while hiking through the West Belfast countryside. Vivian, a media professional and Harvard graduate, has travelled to Northern Ireland to attend the 10th anniversary of the peace process when a complete stranger destroys her ‘entire world within minutes’.
Chikodili Emelumadu (Nigeria) is shortlisted for The Caine Prize for ‘Bush Baby’ published in African Monsters, edited by Margaret Helgadottir and Jo Thomas (Fox Spirit Books, UK. 2015). Chikodili’s work has appeared in One Throne, Omenana, Apex, Eclectica, Luna Station Quarterly and the interactive fiction magazine, Sub-Q. In 2014, Chikodili was nominated for a Shirley Jackson award and is working on her debut novel.
Magogodi oaMphela Makhene is shortlisted for the Caine Prize 2017 for ‘The Virus’ published in The Harvard Review 49 (Houghton Library Harvard University, USA. 2016). Magogodi’s work has appeared in Ploughshares and Elie Wiesel’s An Ethical Compass, and has been recognised by the NYU Reynolds Program for Social Entrepreneurship, the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity and the Truman Capote Fellowship at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she earned her MFA.
Shivanee Ramlochan is a Trinidadian poet, arts reporter and book blogger. She is the deputy editor of The Caribbean Review of Books. She was the runner-up in the 2014 Small Axe Literary Competition for Poetry, and was shortlisted for the 2015 Hollick Arvon Caribbean Writers’ Prize. Her first book of poems, Everyone Knows I Am a Haunting, will be published by Peepal Tree Press in October 2017.
Donna Hemans is the author of River Woman. In 2015, she won the Lignum Vitae Una Marson Award for Adult Literature for her unpublished manuscript Tea by the Sea. She was the 2007-2008 Black Mountain Institute (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) International Women’s Forum Fellow and twice served as the Lannan Visiting Creative Writer in Residence at Georgetown University. In 2015, she served as writer-in-residence at the University of the District of Columbia.
‘The Complaint’ appears in Sugar, Sugar: Bitter-sweet Tales of Indian MigrantWorkers by Lainy Malkani, which is published by Hope Road Publishing. Sugar Sugar is a contemporary collection of short stories based on facts which reveals a rich and culturally diverse history behind India’s migrant workers and one of the most abundant and controversial commodities in the world.
Jill Widner’s story ‘Dreaming in Latin’ was shortlisted for the Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2015 and was also a finalist in the Iowa Review’s 2016 creative nonfiction competition and Narrative Magazine’s spring 2015 competition. Her fiction has been published in American Short Fiction; Asia Literary Review (Hong Kong); Drunken Boat; Everywhere Stories (Press 53); The Fiddlehead (Canada); Kyoto Journal (Japan); North American Review; Short Fiction (UK); and the Willesden Herald anthology (UK).
Dzifa Benson reviews poet Rishi Dastidar’s first full collection of poetry, Ticker-Tape for Wasafiri. Dastidar’s poetry has been published by the Financial Times, Tate Modern and the Southbank Centre amongst many others, and has featured in the anthologies Adventures in Form (Penned in the Margins) and Ten: The New Wave (Bloodaxe).
Ola Awonubi studied for an MA in Creative writing and Imaginative Practice at the University of East London and in 2008 her short story The Pink House, won first prize in the National words of colour competition. This was followed by another story – The Go-Slow Journey, winning the first prize in the Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2009. Some of her short stories feature on blogs and journals and anthologies such as African Writing.com, Story Time, The Ake Review, The Siren.co.uk, The Woven Tale Press and more recently Brittle Paper.
LeAnne Howe is an enrolled citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, scholar, and writer of fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction and plays. She is the Eidson Distinguished Professor of American Literature in the English Department at the University of Georgia, Athens and former Fulbright Scholar. Her first novel Shell Shaker (Aunt Lute Books, 2001) received an American Book Award in 2002 from the Before Columbus Foundation.
Mervyn Morris is the outgoing Poet Laureate of Jamaica. His work as a poet, essayist and teacher has had an enduring impact on Caribbean literature. He is professor emeritus at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona, Jamaica, and lives in Kingston. In 1970, he began lecturing at UWI, where he later became a Reader in West Indian Literature.In 2009 he was awarded Jamaica’s Order of Merit. In 2014, he was appointed the first post-independence Poet Laureate of Jamaica.
Roshanak Pashaee was born and raised in Iran but she lives in the United States at the moment. She looks forward to publishing a collection of her short stories at some point in the future. Most of these stories revolve around the life of an Iranian woman in a fast changing world.
Rowyda Amin is the author of two pamphlets, We Go Wandering At Night And Are Consumed By Fire (Sidekick Books, 2017), and Desert Sunflowers (flipped eye, 2014). In 2009, she was awarded the Wasafiri New Writing Prize for poetry and in 2012 she won the Venture award from flipped eye press. She has performed at many UK venues including the Ledbury Poetry Festival, the Brighton Festival, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Royal Festival Hall.
Ruth Gilligan is an Irish novelist and journalist now living in the UK, where she works as a Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham. She has published four novels to date, and was the youngest person ever to reach number one on the Irish bestsellers’ list. Her most recent book, Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan, was inspired by the unknown story of the Jewish community in Ireland.
Sally St Clair’s stories have been published in Stand and Panurge. Her poems have been published in various anthologies includingBeautiful Dragons, and The Raving Beauties Hallelujah for 50ft Women (Bloodaxe). She has had a prize winning poem in the Arvon International Poetry Competition. She has been shortlisted for short stories (amongst others the BBC Short Stories competition and the Bridport Prize) and poems (Mslexia) and appeared on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour discussing her contribution to The Death of a Mother in 1994. She is currently working on a collection of poems, as well as a novel about the nature of ambition.
An extract from the short play ‘Battleface’ by Sabrina Mahfouz, which is published in The Things I Would Tell You (Saqi Books, 2017). From established literary heavyweights to emerging spoken word artists, the writers in this ground-breaking collection blow away the narrow image of the ‘Muslim Woman’.
Amaal Said is a Danish-born Somali photographer and poet based in London. Her photographs have been featured in Vogue, The Guardian and The New Yorker. She is concerned with storytelling and how best she can connect with people to document their stories. She is a member of the Burn After Reading poetry Collective as well as the Octavia Collective, and she is a Barbican Young Poet. She won Wasafiri Magazine’s New Writing Prize for poetry in 2015.
I doubt the incongruity was lost on him. The Langham in Portland Place and the BP Theatre in the British Museum are perhaps not the best places for a renowned commentator on the injustices of colonialism and its legacies in Africa to speak his mind. But Mahmood Mamdani must know that being heard can be as much about compromise as political settlements in the aftermath of post-colonial conflict, the subject of his Edward Said Memorial lecture last week.
Derek Alton Walcott, poet, dramatist and painter, died in his home near Gros Islet, St Lucia on March 17, 2017. Although his many international awards and distinctions included the Nobel Prize for Literature, a O.B.E., and a Guggenheim Fellowship from the United States, Walcott’s unchanging loyalty remained to the small Caribbean island of his birth. The opening section of his verse autobiography, Another Life (1973), was entitled ‘The Divided Child’.
Jo Stones has lived in South London for thirty-four years, having been born and bred in Sheffield then New Zealand. She returned to study as an adult, graduated with a degree in film and works as an archivist for Film and TV. She returned again to study at Birkbeck University graduating in 2014 with an MA in Creative Writing. Jo is a regular at Mad Poets, Hanbury Street and is working on a Young Adult Novel as well as poetry and short stories.
Aurvi Sharma has been awarded the Gulf Coast Nonfiction Prize, the Prairie Schooner Essay Prize, the Wasafiri New Writing Prize in Life Writing, the AWP Emerging Writer Scholarship, and a Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Award. She has received fellowships and scholarships from the MacDowell Colony, the Santa Fe Art Institute, Tin House Writer’s Workshop and Sarai. One of her essays was a notable in the 2016 Best American Essays. Her writing is also forthcoming or has appeared in The Kenyon Review, Pleiades, Fourth Genre and Essay Daily.
Steve Noyes comes from Winnipeg, Canada, and is now living near Canterbury, where he is completing a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Kent. His current project, The Astral Plane, is about an early New Age religion and a famous Canadian UFO experience, among other things. His two previous novels are It is just that your house is so far away (Signature Editions, 2010) and November’s Radio (Oolichan Books, 2015).
Anita Pati won the Wasafiri New Writing Prize (poetry) in 2013, has been a Jerwood/Arvon mentee and was one of 2015’s Aldeburgh Eight winners. Her poetry has been published in magazines and anthologies including Poetry London, The Rialto, Best British Poetry, Magma and The North. She has been a journalist, a library assistant and other things in between. Anita is working towards her first collection.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the seminal Caribbean novel Witchbroom, Njelle W. Hamilton interviews Lawrence Scott exclusively for WasafiriMagazine. Lawrence Scott is the acclaimed author of four novels—Witchbroom (1992), Aelred’s Sin (1998), Night Calypso (2004), and Light Falling on Bamboo (2012).He has also published two story collections, Ballad For The New World (1994) and Leaving By Plane Swimming Back Underwater (2015).
Mia Couto rarely comes to London. He is here for the Rolex Mentor & Protégé Arts Initiative. For a writer with quite some silverware to his name it is not surprising that when I arrive at Sofitel London St James it looks like he is already well into what could be a brutalising press and broadcast schedule today. I am 5 minutes early and he is in the middle of another interview, I am informed by his PR minders. The four of us stand in the hotel lobby, making anxious small talk. Clock checking.
Simon Van der Velde was born and educated in Newcastle upon Tyne where he trained and practiced as a lawyer, before leaving the legal profession to concentrate full time on his writing.He now lives in Newcastle with his wife and two tyrannical children. Simon has won both the Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2014, and The Park Publications Prize, 2016.
Ann Field hails from Leixlip, County Kildare, Ireland. Belonging to a Creative Writing Group, she has numerous stories published in magazines and shortlisted to read for Kildare Readers Festival in 2015. Along with writing, Ann enjoys painting and attends a reading group with a penchant for crime thrillers.
Gita Ralleigh completed her MA in creative writing at Birkbeck in 2015 and has had short stories published by Wasafiri, Bellevue Literary Review, Fox Spirit, the Word Factory and Freight (February 2017). She is currently writing a children’s novel and had her first poem for children published by The Emma Press in 2016.
Ismail Kadare’s novel opens with the backdrop of a bustling city square in Constantinople, in the heart of the Ottoman Empire. There is an ancient stone wall in the square, into which a cavity has been carved, and in this cavity, on a dish of honey and salt, sits a human head. The head belonged to the pasha of Albania, who was seeking independence from the Empire, and the purpose of this display is a deterrent to anyone else thinking of rebellion. This head’s resting place is the traitor’s niche of the title of Kadare’s satirical, fiercely anti-authoritarian novel.
Cliff Chen is a Trinidadian-born writer. He has published several short stories and was winner of the Wasafiri New Writing Prize for Life Writing (2013) and also shortlisted for fiction category that same year. He won 3rd prize in the Golden Pen competition, was Fish International Short Story finalist (2002) and semi-finalist in Carve Magazine‘s Esoteric Short Story competition (2014). He studied at Edinburgh and Oxford and is writing his first novel.
Ali May was born in Iran and his childhood was consumed by the eight-year war with Iraq. War, as a result, is one of the focal points in his writing. Having grown up amidst stifling repression, the concepts of liberty, choice and individualism shaped his intellectual framework. These are subjects that he writes about, alongside sex.
Jaki McCarrick is an award-winning writer of plays, poetry and fiction. She won the 2010 Papatango New Writing Prize for her play, Leopoldville, and her most recent play, Belfast Girls, developed at the National Theatre Studio, London, was shortlisted for the 2012 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the 2014 BBC Tony Doyle Award and won the Galway Theatre Festival Playwriting Prize. Belfast Girls premiered in Chicago in May 2015 to much critical acclaim and is shortly to make its debut in Canada.
Irenosen Okojie is a writer and Arts Project Manager. Her debut novel Butterfly Fish won a Betty Trask award. Her work has been featured in The Observer, The Guardian, the BBC and the Huffington Post amongst other publications. Her short stories have been published internationally. She was presented at the London Short Story Festival by Ben Okri as a dynamic writing talent to watch and was featured in the Evening Standard Magazine as one of London’s exciting new authors.
Catharine Mee grew up in Birkenhead and now lives in Durham. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University and a PhD in French and Italian literature. Her stories have been published in Wasafiri, The Salt Anthology of New Writing 2013, Unthology and Prole, as well as online. She won the Wasafiri New Writing competition in 2012.
The legacy of Kathleen Collins – Civil Rights Movement activist, pioneering film-maker, talented writer – is only coming to light in recent years. Her daughter, Nina Lorez Collins, inherited her vast, mainly unpublished archive when Collins died in 1988, and began sifting through it many years later. Within her mother’s things, Nina discovered several short stories, now collected and published as Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?
It was going to take two weeks for the ocean liner to reach the United Kingdom but Lawal hoped that the journey – the time between worlds – would help bridge the divide between homeland and sanctuary, shame and prosperity. He was young, but there was already much to put behind him and so, by day, as the ship sailed aside the coast of west Africa, he let his optimism ride along, surfing the slate-grey waves his ancestors once worshipped.
Richard Scott was born in London in 1981. His poems have appeared widely in magazines and anthologies including Poetry Review, Poetry London, Swimmers, The Poetry of Sex (Penguin) and Butt Magazine. He has been a winner of the Wasafiri New Writing Prize, a Jerwood/Arvon Poetry Mentee and a member of the Aldeburgh 8. His pamphlet Wound, published by Rialto, won the Michael Marks Poetry Award 2016.
Buchi Emecheta was a phenomenon, as an immigrant, a writer and a black single-mother surviving in the hostile conditions of London in the 60s and onwards. When,in 1981, I went to interview her at her home in north London, she had five children and had published five novels, so when she opened the door I was surprised at how young she was: to have achieved so much at thirty-seven!
Jane Ryan co-won the Wasafiri New Writing Fiction Prize in 2010. She is currently working with secondary schools who have adopted her recently launched teen spy thriller series Missing Dad 1: Wanted (Troubador) for use with library reading groups. Book 2: Twisted is out this Spring and Books 3 and 4 are due out during 2017 – Spring 2018.
Abeer Y. Hoque is a Nigerian born Bangladeshi American writer and photographer. She likes graffiti, sticky toffee pudding, and the end of the current US administration. Her books include a travel photography and poetry monograph, a collection of linked stories, poems, and photographs, and a memoir.
Uschi Gatward’s stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Best British Short Stories 2015 (Salt), Flamingo Land & Other Stories (ed. Ellah Allfrey, Flight Press), as a Galley Beggar Press Single, and in the magazines The Barcelona Review, Brittle Star, The Lonely Crowd, Short Fiction, Southword, Structo and Wasafiri.
There was an old gardener in my village in Italy, about twenty-five years ago, who after his wife’s death, decided to go around wearing her necklaces and brooches. They had been together for more than sixty years and, as he once whispered to me in his deep, guttural dialect, this was his way to feel her close to his heart and to feel himself again. Someone should write about this, I remember thinking, someone who could pay homage to the deep humanity of this gesture, to the simple world it sprang from and to the authenticity of this love.
Born in Dublin, Niamh MacCabe grew up in Paris, in north-west Ireland, and in Washington DC, graduating there from the Corcoran School of Art. She worked overseas in the Animated Film industry, eventually returning full-time to Ireland to raise her children.
Mama Can’t Raise No Man was recently reported to be the only fiction debut by a black male novelist to have been published in Britain this year. It is a dubious privilege for any first novel to bear, but beyond this woeful statistic, it is also an urban coming-of-age story about masculinity, fatherhood, crime, punishment and psychic rehabilitation by a young novelist who writes with insight into and compassion for the world he dramatises, as if from its inside. In this insider mentality, Mama Can’t Raise No Man poses questions about the value of authenticity in fiction and also, obliquely, the burden of representation.
When I joined Nelson publishers in 1954, I worked first of all for Van Milne. I was brought in as an editor in the Overseas Department, which had been Van Milne’s role. He had become Overseas Manager. I, then, spent the next few years in and out of Ghana and Nigeria partly because Nelson had made an arrangement with the University College of the Gold Coast (as it was called then) and University College Ibadan to help set up university presses.
Stephanie Victoire was born in London to a Mauritian family. In 2010 she graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from London Metropolitan University. In 2014 Stephanie completed her collection of fairy and folk tales entitled The Other World, It Whispers whilst on the The Almasi League writers’ programme. Two of these stories were separately published in 2015. Stephanie lives in London and is currently working on a novel, The Heart Note.
Crystal Mahey-Morgan began her career as a freelance journalist at the age of 16 writing for publications such as the Guardian and The Face Magazine. At the age of 19 Mahey-Morgan became Marketing Manager for Raindance Film festival and after Graduating from SOAS University she embarked on a career within Publishing, firstly working as Literary Assistant at Peter, Fraser and Dunlop (PFD), then joining Random House in 2009.
Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné is a poet and visual artist from Trinidad and Tobago. Her work has been featured in publications such as The Caribbean Writer, Small Axe Salon, Anthurium: A Caribbean Studies Journal, The Missing Slate, Room, and Dirtcakes Poetry. She is the winner of the 2012 Small Axe Poetry Prize and the 2015 Hollick Arvon Poetry Prize. In 2013 she was shortlisted for the Montreal Poetry Prize. Danielle’s first collection of poetry is forthcoming.
Born in Dublin, Niamh MacCabe grew up in Paris, in north-west Ireland, and in Washington DC, graduating there from the Corcoran School of Art. She worked overseas in the Animated Film industry, eventually returning full-time to Ireland to raise her children.
Refugee Tales’ simple mandate is to put an end to Britain’s indefinite detention of immigrants. Britain is the only country in the EU that does this — that detains immigrants, essentially imprisons them indefinitely.
I first visited the Houses of Parliament in 2012 just before the start of the Olympics. I’d been commissioned by them to write about British identity and the process was to be as inclusive as possible, to crowd-source the poem.
Amaal Said: “I’m a Danish-born Somali girl who calls London a home. I chose poetry, or poetry chose me. I’m so interested in the ways we can heal ourselves from trauma and also in how we can make new lives for ourselves after tragedy.
Uschi Gatward was born in East London and lives there now. Her stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Best British Short Stories 2015 (Salt), Flamingo Land & Other Stories (ed. Ellah Allfrey, Flight Press), as a Galley Beggar Press Single, and in the magazines The Barcelona Review, Short FICTION, Southword, Structo and Wasafiri. She was shortlisted for The White Review Short Story Prize 2016.
Louise Kennedy grew up in Holywood, Co. Down. In 2015 she won both first place and runner up in the Ambit Fiction Prize, first place in the Wasafiri New Writing Prize (Life Writing) was a prize winner in Inktears Flash Fiction contest. She was shortlisted for Cuirt New Writing Prize 2016, Fish 2015, Allingham 2015. She has been published in Ambit, Wasafiri, The Incubator and Silver Apples. She is working on a play set in Belfast in the seventies and a collection of short stories. She lives in Sligo, Ireland.
CNN calls Shailja Patel ‘the people-centered face of globalisation’. Her publishing debut, Migritude, based on her acclaimed one-woman show, was an Amazon poetry bestseller, a Seattle Times bestseller and was shortlisted for Italy’s Camaiore Prize. Migritude is taught in over fifty colleges and universities worldwide.
Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor was born in Nairobi, Kenya and educated at the Kenyatta University, the University of Reading and the University of Queensland. She won the 2003 Caine Prize for African Writing for the short story ‘Weight of Whispers’, which the BBC described as a ‘… subtle and suggestive work of fiction that dramatises the condition of refugees.’
Maaza Mengiste is a Fulbright Scholar and the award-winning author of Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, selected by the Guardian as one of the ten best contemporary African books. The novel was named one of the best books of 2010 by Christian Science Monitor, Boston Globe, Publishers Weekly and other publications.
On 17 April, Colombian author and Nobel Prize winner, Gabriel García Márquez passed away at his home in Mexico City, aged eighty-seven. He has been described as one of literature’s all-time greats — what of the legacy he leaves behind?
Interview and translation by Jack Little Sergio Téllez-Pon (Mexico City, 1981) is a poet, essayist, literary critic and editor. His work has been published in various publications and newspapers in Mexico and abroad and translated into English, French and Portuguese. He is the author of No recuerdo…
This is an edited extract from the text ‘The Heart of the Moment: An Interview with Alberto Blanco’ which was carried out by Kimberly A. Eherenman. It has been published in parts in The Bitter Oleander and in the magazine Fractal. The following has been published with full permission from Alberto and Kimberly.
Pedro Serrano has published five collections of poems. He has co-edited and co-translated the groundbreaking anthology The Lamb Generation which published translations of 30 contemporary British poets in 2000.
‘You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don’t ever count on having both at once’. Science fiction writer, Robert A Heinlein, once wrote. And the Young Vic’s production of A Season in the Congo, brings this sage expression sharply to mind.
Louise Kennedy grew up in Holywood Co. Down. She started writing in 2014. In 2015, she won both first place and runner up in Ambit Fiction Contest, and first place in Wasifiri New Writing Competition (Life Writing). In 2016 she won Listowel Los Gatos Short Story Contest and John O’Connor Short Story…
Shiva Rahbaran was born in Tehran. She was eight years old when the last Persian monarch, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, left Iran giving way to the foundation of the Islamic Republic. Together with her family she left Iran for Germany in 1984, where she studied literature and political science at the…
The 2013 Caine Prize shortlist in making up for what it lacks in diversity (all five stories are by writers from West Africa), features remarkably relatable and topical themes: faith and disappointment, emigration and homecoming, religion and politics.
Wasafiri is delighted to feature a second exclusive extract from the exciting new anthology Safe House: An Anthology of Creative Nonfiction. Published by Cassava Republic Press on 26 May 2016 in partnership with Commonwealth Writers, the cultural initiative of the Commonwealth Foundation, the book’s…
An exclusive extract from the new novel by Yvvette Edwards Kwame Johnson is forty-two and has been coaching Ryan’s football squad since Ryan started playing regularly at eight. Ryan always liked and respected him, and as a consequence, so do I. Many of the boys he coaches are Afro-Caribbean and he i…
‘A Just War’ An extract from, South Haven, the first novel by Hirsh Sawhney As they drove to Deer Run Elementary School on that chilly February evening, a light snow wet the windshield of their rust-coloured car. His stomach gurgled with dread, which mounted as they approached the town centre. Soon…
The enthusiastic first meeting of the New Beacon Book Club took place on a wet March evening in North London. A group of readers met to discuss Foundations, the first volume of poetry by Trinidadian poet and erudite activist John La Rose. Our first session was introduced by Linton Kwesi Johnson, who…
A Distant Traveller Celebrating Attia Hosain 1913-1998 In this piece, written to coincide with the centenary of Attia Hosain’s birth, Ritu Menon and Aamer Hussein, co-editors of a new collection of Attia’s fiction drawn from early and previously unpublished archival material, celebrate her enduring…
Book Review by Beverley Naidoo Luka and the Fire of Life Salman Rushdie Jonathan Cape, London, 2010, hb 216 pp, £12.99, 978 0 224 06162 9 Storytellers are magicians. Twenty years after publication of his entrancing Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Salman Rushdie has created a sequel in Luka and the Fi…
Book Review by Aamer Hussein Hanif Kureishi Collected Stories Faber, London, 2010, pb 672pp ISBN 0 5712 4980 0 £14.99 www.faber.co.uk ‘The chief problem for a story writer’, Kureishi recently wrote about American writer John Cheever, ‘particularly when it comes to a collection, is that of variety,…
Book Review by Robin Yassin-Kassab Lyrics Alley Leila Aboulela Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 2010, hb 320pp ISBN 0 2978 6314 4 £18.99 www.wnfiction.com It’s the mid twentieth century, and British control over north east Africa is failing. Sudanese cotton tycoon Mahmoud Abuzeid, awarded the titl…
One Day I Will Write About This Place Binyavanga Wainaina Granta, London, 2011, pb 272pp ISBN 1 8470 8021 9 £15.99 www.grantabooks.com/ Binyavanga Wainaina won the Caine Prize for African Fiction in 2002 with his short story ‘Discovering Home’. He resurfaced three years later with his scathing, sa…
Migrations: Journeys into British Art Tate Britain, 31 January – 12 August 2012 £6 (£5 concessions) www.tate.org.uk/britain Reviewed by Michael McMillan Immigration is a politicised discourse in which immigrants tend to be demonised as aliens, different, strange, even dangerous – read ‘terrorist’ –…
The Artist of Disappearance Anita Desai Chatto & Windus, London, 2011, hb 176pp ISBN 978 070118620 3£12.99 www.randomhouse.co.uk/editions/imprint/chatto-windus Reviewed by Razia Iqbal How should novelists respond to, or engage with the rapid industrial and attendant cultural and social change wh…
Overall winner and regional winner, Asia: Shehan Karunatilaka (Sri Lanka), Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Mathew (Random House) Regional winner, Africa: Jacques Strauss (South Africa), The Dubious Salvation of Jack V (Jonathan Cape) Regional winner, Canada and Europe: Riel Nason (Canada), The Town…
NW Zadie Smith Hamish Hamilton, London, 2012, hb 296pp ISBN 0 2411 4414 5 £18.99 www.fivedials.com Reviewed by Maya Jaggi In a Guardian review twelve years ago of Zadie Smith’s White Teeth, rather than hailing a fresh ‘voice’ in fiction, I doffed my hat as a fellow Londoner-born-and-bred to a thrill…
‘Splendour, Tarnished’ – A book review by Gabriel Gbadamosi There Was A Country: A Personal History of Biafra Chinua Achebe Penguin, London, 2013, pb 352pp ISBN 0 2419 5920 9 £9.99 In the House of the Interpreter: A Memoir Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o Harvill Secker, London, 2012, hb 256pp ISBN 1 8465 5628 7 £…
Helon Habila Mr Loverman Bernadine Evaristo Hamish Hamilton, London, 2013, pb 320pp ISBN 0 2411 4578 4 £8.99 fivedials.com In Mr Loverman, Bernardine Evaristo comes close to pulling off the perfect novel. Intelligent plotting, lyrical language, compelling imagery, gritty urban setting – this is im…
Arifa Akbar Marriage Material Sathnam Sanghera William Heinemann, London, 2013, hb 306pp ISBN 0 4340 2190 1 £14.99 www.randomhouse.co.uk Quintessential English classics have, before now, been adapted and re-shaped to tell diasporic and subcontinental stories, some more skilfully than others. Sathn…
Selma Dabbagh A God in Every Stone Kamila Shamsie Bloomsbury, London, 2014, hb 320pp ISBN 1 4088 4720 6 £16.99 www.bloomsbury.com/uk ‘You are reading Kamila?’ asks Baronessa Beatrice Monti della Corte in the garden of Santa Maddalena – her writing retreat in Tuscany. Yes – and yes, I was going to…
Birthday Issue Launch, Schools Project: New Generations and Exclusive New Fiction To mark this special year, we commissioned new work for a special Birthday issue which was – quite literally – launched on board a boat on 21 September when passengers on the William B were treated to readings by write…
To celebrate the magazine’s 30th birthday, Wasafiri has been looking forward, working with a group of young students who may become tomorrow’s writers, journalists and editors, on a schools publishing project. In collaboration with Eastside Educational Trust, Wasafiri launched the project in October…
Wasafiri is delighted to be launching our new Special Issue, Writing the Balkans, guest-edited by writer and academic Vesna Goldsworthy. As a little taster of the issue, we’re publishing this extract here from acclaimed writer Igor Štiks (translated by Andrew Wachtel). Igor and a host of other write…
Natasha Soobramanien Seldom Seen, by Sarah Ridgard Hutchinson, London, 2012, hbk, 256pp, £14.99, 9780091944124, www.randomhouse.co.uk Set in Suffolk in the 1980s, this wonderful novel is about how our secrets shape us. Shy teenager Desiree White becomes a village celebrity when she finds a dead baby…
Gabriel García Márquez’s seminal novel One Hundred Years of Solitude topped the list of books that have most shaped world literature over the last twenty-five years, according to a survey of international writers specially commissioned by Wasafiri as part of its twenty-fifth anniversary in 2009. The…
Toby Litt Building Stories, by Chris Ware Jonathan Cape, London, 2012, hbk, 246pp, £30, 9780224078122 www.vintage-books.co.uk Chris Ware must get fairly bored with being called a genius. But I can’t help it – I get more emotion from a single panel of Ware’s than I do out of many entire novels. His B…
On 3 October 2012, to mark the launch of Wasafiri’s Special Issue, ‘Britain and India: Cross-Cultural Encounters’, guest-edited by Florian Stadtler, three writers came to together at Asia House in London, to reflect on the largely unacknowledged legacies of forgotten South Asian writers who were act…
Maggie Gee Out of It, by Selma Dabbagh Bloomsbury, London, 2011, pbk, 320pp, £12.99, 9781408821305, www.bloomsbury.com Selma Dabbagh’s pacy, beautifully written first novel Out of It takes you to the heart of life for the young in Palestine today – as well as making viscerally real young (and old) P…
Following on from Marius Kociejowski’s contribution to Wasafiri (an interview with Brian Chikwava in issue 67) we interviewed the writer in a special online feature. Marius Kociejowski is a Cheltenham Prize-winning poet, essayist and travel writer living in London. His four collections of poetry inc…
Daisy Hasan The Collaborator, by Mirza Waheed Viking, London, 2011, pbk, 320pp, £12.99, 9780670918959, www.penguin.co.uk Mirza Waheed’s The Collaborator focuses on the story of a young Gujjar boy recruited to collaborate with an official in the Indian army in the Kashmir Valley. As he collects the i…
Jay Bernard came to comics via poetry; her first pamphlet, Your Sign is Cuckoo Girl (2007), was followed by a graphic poem in City State (2009). In the interim she produced graphic reviews for culturewars.org.uk and penned a strip entitled Budo. Most recently, she was artist-in-residence at StAnza a…
Award-winning Pakistani author, Bina Shah’s short story, ‘Peter Pochmann Goes to Pakistan’, features in issue 65. Bina talks to Wasafiri’s Nisha Obano about her writing, her journalism, the influence of Karachi and the growing tension in Pakistan upon her work. Nisha Obano Bina, you are a writer an…
Moniza Alvi Ten: New Poets Spread the Word, edited by Bernardine Evaristo and Daljit Nagra Bloodaxe Books, Tarset, 2010, pbk, 128pp, £8.95, 978182248796, www.bloodaxebooks.com This anthology is the eagerly awaited fruit of Spread the Word’s initiative to support talented poets with black and Asian b…
When Wasafiri turned 25 in 2009, 25 authors were asked to select an influential book from, or upon, the last 25 years. In addition, Wasafiri asked its own Editorial Team and Board what their suggestions might be. Melanie Abrahams: Orange Laughter by Leone Ross Sharmilla Beezmohun: Daughters of Afric…
Wasafiri Editor, Susheila Nasta, selected her top ten books for the Guardian in 2009. ‘The tragic-comic creation of a black city of words that was both magnet and nightmare for its new colonial citizens is a must.’ ‘An intimate African-American classic which looks forward to Morrison’s award-winning…