"Abdul-Lateef sits in the shade at the front of his shop, a glint in his eye and a week's growth of beard on his cheeks. With care, he weighs out half a dozen dried chameleons, wraps them in a twist of newspaper and passes the packet to a young woman dressed in black..." Tahir Shah describes a visit to Fes.
The latest issue of FARAFINA is out, guest edited by Laila Lalami:
I have often noticed that whenever one hears about “Africa,” whether on the news, or in music, or in arts, or in literature, the inevitable focus is always the portion of the continent that is geographically south of the Sahara desert. For instance, the “plight of Africa,” that favourite headline of European and American newspapers, usually refers to AIDS or child soldiers or foreign debt or whatever new cause hipsters find fit to embrace at the moment. When African music is written about outside of the continent, it is usually in terms of Youssou N’Dour, or Fela Kuti or Miriam Makeba. African art, as curated in places like The Metropolitan Museum in New York, means only artwork produced south of Senegal to the west and Sudan to the east. I have also noticed that those of us from the Northern parts of the continent are regularly thrust under the headings of “Arab” and “Islam,” to the exclusion of all others."Chris Abani wins a PEN/Beyond Margins Award for his latest book SONG FOR NIGHT (Akashic) - read an extract here. "The reader is led by the voiceless protagonist who, as part of a land mine-clearing platoon, had his vocal chords cut; a move to keep these children from screaming when blown up, and thereby distracting the other minesweepers".
An interesting article on the post-apartheid novel with male protagonist, from Jane Rosenthal found here: "...noticeably, in none of these novels is there any sort of racial sharing of the new South Africa. Apartheid persists, even in fiction it seems. How dour and dire is this?"
And more on South Africa: Shaun De Waal reviews titles on Thabo Mbeki's legacy for the country here. "It's not a great stretch to see the arms deal, and what went wrong with it, as a key factor in the Mbeki presidency's slide into secretiveness, paranoia and denialism, not to mention its vicious attitude towards any dissent or revelations of wrongdoing".
Labels: Weekly Round-up