Book reviews

On Muslim YA Novels

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While the folks in my YA books were experience a blushing first romance, I was trying to reconcile pop culture with the teachings of my conservative Muslim upbringing.

From Preachy
On May 3, 2022
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In Challenge of a Single Story

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Kufre Usanga is a PhD student in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta, where she researches petroculture and Indigenous literatures. Usanga holds the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Doctoral Award.

From Olongo Africa
On April 15, 2022
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EXTRA-METATEXTUALITY: A REVIEW OF CHUCK KLOSTERMAN’S THE NINETIES: A BOOK

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In his book "The Nineties", Chuck Klosterman is not interested in what’s conventionally understood or easily graspable but in the layers that either exist deep underneath or hover loftily. It’s what makes his essays and books so fun—it allows us to reconsider accepted wisdom.

From Tasteful Rude
On April 5, 2022
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Are African Writers Ready For Science Fiction?

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Although science fiction is still a white-dominated genre, Black sci-fi has come far from the days of zombies, aliens and white-washed robots. We have seen how much culture and history can be woven into technology to birth Afrofuturism.

From Olongo Africa
On December 14, 2021
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Democratic Experiments in Action

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"Deliberative Democracy in Taiwan: A Deliberate Systems Perspective" by Mei-Fang Fan is a useful look at contemporary democracy in the Taiwanese context.

From No Man Is an Island
On September 24, 2021
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Hatred of Many Colours

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Unstable leadership in African countries hasn’t just ruined family lives, it has fried the mental house of men and women whose talents and skills could have built a thriving society.

From Olongo Africa
On September 20, 2021
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NOTES ON IMAGINED PLACES: FROM TIM’S CREEK TO SANTO DOMINGO

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I hesitate to read works that portray Black queer trauma. Many of our collective narratives focus on pain and spiritual isolation, with very little room for much else. But there is a difference between a book that reduces us to our pain and a book that opens up the world by exploring the repercussions of being made to feel unclean, undesired, unkept, unhoused, unloved.

From Tasteful Rude
On September 3, 2021
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MUSHROOMS TALK TO HER: A CONVERSATION WITH BETT WILLIAMS

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Elizabeth Hall is a full-time lover and a part-time writer. She is the author of the chapbook Two Essays and the book I HAVE DEVOTED MY LIFE TO THE CLITORIS, a Lambda Literary Award Finalist. Bett Williams’ memoir THE WILD KINDNESS: A PSILOCYBIN ODYSSEY is all about the search.

From Tasteful Rude
On August 19, 2021
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The AKO Caine Prize: What’s in for us in 2021?

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In publishing and creative industries, conversations around diversity sprung up among stakeholders — writers, editors, agents, publishers and marketers. Amongst several shocking revelations, a few facts hit hard: books and stories written by African writers are edited and marketed by their white publishers to target a western audience. It also exists as a barrier to entry, so writers conform to stereotypical storytelling patterns that fixate on hard issues like rape, immigration, race, poverty and politics, to be published or win certain prizes.

From Olongo Africa
On July 23, 2021
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Having Faith in a Secular World

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When secularism is practically a religion, what does it mean to believe, be spiritual, and attempt to see beyond ourselves? Does life have no meaning beyond what we are capable of understanding?

From No Man Is an Island
On July 20, 2021
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NONPROSECUTABLE: A REVIEW OF SHIORI ITO’S BLACK BOX

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Through personal narrative, journalist, survivor, and activist Shiori Ito examines rape culture in Japan.

From Tasteful Rude
On July 13, 2021
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2021 Caine Prize Reviews at OlongoAfrica

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By now, you must have heard about the shortlist of the Ako Caine Prize stories for 2021. It includes stellar offerings from Doreen Baingana, Rémy Ngamije, Meron Hadero, Troy Onyango, and Iryn Tushabe. We at Olongo wish them hearty congratulations! Caine Prizewinners and shortlistees have always gone on to become proud names in African literature, from Binyavanga Wainaina to Chimamanda Adichie to Tọ́pẹ́ Fọlárìn, to name a few.

From Olongo Africa
On July 6, 2021
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[Review] Baingana’s Memories of War

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“Lucky,” by Doreen Baingana, is a historical-memoir short story that addresses the subject of war and its devastating effects on human society. The immediate allusion to “Gulu District, West Nile” paints in the reader’s mind the impression of the 1980 insurgency⎯which occurred after Idi Amin was toppled a year earlier⎯and places the story perfectly to the period during the Uganda Bush War, which lasted for nine years from 1980.

From Olongo Africa
On July 6, 2021
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