A very Happy New Year to all. It’s a new season in the publishing world. This year offers some fiction big-hitters and some impressive debuts.
By far the two most talked-about (if not most read) books published in the past 12 months have been “Feddie Girl” and “I Do Not Come to You By Chance” by Nona David and Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani respectively. Feddie Girl focuses on the hilarious adventures of an American teenager in a Nigerian Boarding school while Adaobi’s I Do Not Come to You By Chance is satirical look at the 19 trade made so popular by Nigerians. Both books got lots of commendations from reviewers and literary societies alike.
Also worth mentioning is “One Man, Too Many” by Oyindamola Affinnih and “Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives” by Shola Shoneyin. In all, 2010 was a good year for books.
2011 even promises to be even greater. Literary heavyweights such as Ngugi Wa Thiongo, Jude Dibia and Sefi Atta make a return.
Jude Dibia, author of “Walking with Shadows” and “Unbridled”. “Walking with Shadows” is said to be the first Nigerian novel that has a gay man as its central character. “Unbridled” too also stirs controversy by exploring incest and sexual abuse. Dibia is well known for causing debate. His new novel “Oil on Water” will be no different focusing on issues within the Niger Delta.
Sefi Atta author of “Everything Good Will Come” makes a return with ‘’Swallow”. Swallow is set in the mid 1980s where the governments War against Indiscipline and Structural Adjustment Program are fully in operation. The story, narrated by mother and daughter promises to be a good read.
“Every Day is for the Thief” was Teju Cole’s debut novel. It is a striking portrait of Nigeria in change through a series of cinematic depictions of everyday life in Lagos. In his latest work “Open City”, he writes about national identity, race, freedom, loss, dislocation and surrender told through the eyes of a young Nigerian doctor.
On the international scene, “Ours are the Streets” by Sunjeev Sahota bravely attempts to invoke sympathy for a suicide bomber. Sophie Kinsella’s “Mini-Shopaholic” and “Naked Heat” by Richard Castle comes out in paperback during April. “Spoken from the Heart”, a memoir by Laura Bush also comes out. She writes about growing up, life in the White House and much more.
One book that will surely generate a lot of controversy is James Frey’s new novel, “The Final Testament of the Holy Bible”. It imagines what might happen if Christ returned to earth and was living in modern-day New York and having plenty of sex-with both men and women. The book comes out in April.
Watch his space for updates and reviews about these novels and more. You can also follow me on twitter @dhame_lawal .