非漂 [Fēi Piāo] Newsbriefs: August 2018

It took 50 years, but Come Back, Africa! Fourteen Short Stories from South Africa has been translated into Chinese and recently launched in the PRC, as 《大地的葬礼: 南非经典短篇小说翻译与赏析》. Edited by 谭惠娟 and 倪志娟, it features short stories by Alan Paton, Es’kia Mphahele, Lewis Nkosi, Alex La Guma and others. Which makes you wonder: Where are the Chinese translations of more contemporary fiction writers? Check out Brittle Paper for excerpts and the latest news on the African literary scene.

In The 40-year-old “prophetic” novel that predicted the troubles of modern-day Zimbabwe, Tinashe Mushakavanhu reminds us of the prescient novel The House of Hunger and Dambudzo Marechera, its mercurial author. His rebelliousness . . . is captured in his outlandish behavior at the 1979 Guardian Fiction Prize ceremony where he threw plates and cups at walls and chandeliers, partly a response to the way he had been packaged for a rich white audience whom he accused of celebrating him while his people were suffering and being killed by the Rhodesian forces.

Writer Chibundu Onuzo chides Economist Intelligence Unit for finding Lagos one of the ten least liveable cities in the world:  To paraphrase Benjamin Disraeli, there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and global liveability indexes.

In War and Literature in Mogadishu, Najala Nyabola asks: In the week before the book fair, a car
bomb in Mogadishu killed a number of people, while a popular young entrepreneur named Mo Sheikh Ali was assassinated in broad daylight. What does it mean to hold a book fair in the middle of so much uncertainty?

People’s Literature Publishing House has just launched 《隐居》, the Chinese translation of Secret Lives, and other Short Stories by Kenyan author Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o. The English edition was first published in 1975, and is described by Penguin as bringing together “a range of  Ngugi’s political short stories. From tales of the meeting between magic and superstition, to stories about the modernizing

The first collection of Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s short stories to appear in Chinese

forces of colonialism, and the pervasive threat of nature, this collection celebrates the storytelling might of one of Africa’s best-loved authors.”  The Chinese edition contains 17 stories, including 穆古莫, 黑鸟, 梅赛德斯的葬礼and 再见,非洲. Ngũgĩ began writing in his native Gikuyu and Swahili in 1967, but it is not clear if any of these works were penned in — or translated direct from — these indigenous languages.  Three of his novels have previously been rendered in Chinese, all published in the 80s: A Grain of Wheat一粒麦种》, The River Between大河两岸》and Weep Not, Child孩子,你别哭》.

Banned in Nigeria: Quartz Africa reports on a music video by rapper Falz, This is Nigeria, his “take” on Childish Gambino’s This is America. Not too hard to understand why the authorities are less than pleased. Just check out the video (below) featuring chibokesque girls in hijab. A taste of the lyricsThis is Nigeria/Praise and worship we singing now/Pastor put his hands on the breast of his members/He’s pulling the demons out/This is Nigeria/No electricity daily o/Your people are still working multiple jobs/And they talk say we lazy o

Mozambique’s Lusophone novelist Mia Couto (米亚·科托) will appear onstage in three forums at Shanghai Book Fair’s “Int’l Literary Week” (上海国际文学周) on August 14, 16 and 17. See here for news on the recent publication of 《母狮的忏悔》, translated from his novel A confissão da leoa. Three of his novels should be out in Chinese within 2018. For details, click here and scroll down to “Couto” under “C”. 上海国际文学周专访: “人们对非洲最大的误解” and “战争、殖民、疾病、贫穷,除了这些粗暴的标签,我们对非洲一无所知”.

Self-portraits of Senegalese photographer Omar Victor Diop (at left) “reframe African revolt through the lens of football fandom.”

Looking back at the design of the “African Writers Series”: In Judged by its Covers, James MacPhee highlights a dozen or so covers from Heinemann’s flagship project — famously dissed as “the Orange Ghetto” by Woyle Soyinka — and comments on the graphics.

The Nigeria Prize for Literature longlist — which focuses on drama this year — is out. A shortlist of three is expected in September and a possible winner (sometimes there isn’t one!) will be announced by the Advisory Board in October. The award rotates among four genres: fiction, poetry, dram and children’s literature, repeating the cycle every four years. With the total prize value of US$100,000 for the individual winner, it is the heftiest literary award in Africa. The 2018 longlist comprises 11 plays chosen from 89 entries, selected by a panel of three judges: Matthew Umukoro, professor of Theatre Arts at the University of Ibadan; Mohammed Inuwa Umar – Buratai, Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the Ahmadu Bello

China’s Confucius Institute penetration of Africa: From zero sites in 2004 to 48 today, second only to France’s Alliance Française

University (Zaria); and Ngozi Udengwu, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Theatre and Film Studies at the University of Nigeria (Nsukka).

Call for submissions (thru Sep 28) in post-Mugabe era: The Village Square Journal in Lagos seeks “reflective essays, short non-fiction, poetry and visual art that explore the current mood of Zimbabweans.”

Michael Orthofer reviews francophone author Alain Mabanckou’s The Tears of a Black Man. Writes Mabanckou: Born in Africa, in the Congo-Brazzaville, I spent a good part of my youth in France before settling in the United States. Congo is where my umbilical cord is buried, France is the adopted homeland of my dreams, and America is a corner from which I can observe the footsteps of my wanderings.

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