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.
Hadero shows us two worlds, dialectical at best: one of ease and comfort, enjoyed by foreigners, and the other of lack and precarity, experienced by locals. The “new” Ethiopia, depicted in her story, has no space for the poor and their “homes made of cloth and rags and wood.” This depiction typifies the irony at the heart of capitalist modernity pursued by the neocolonial elite.
I find myself randomly in my day, ‘seeing’ beyond the final pages before me, clamouring for more of Iryn’s words – there has to be more beyond the words currently captured in The Separation.
“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.
Troy Onyango’s "This Little Light of Mine" is one of the shortlisted stories for the 2021 Caine Prize. It continues that tradition established in Onyango’s earlier works – writing explorations of contemporary rejection, isolation and conflict.