Friday, July 27, 2007

I nipped over to Brighton last week for the launch of the SMALL PRESS REVIEW, for which I will probably begin writing soon. Thanks to Kimbofo over at Reading Matters for drawing my attention to this, "a magazine devoted to the English language small presses." Since the vast majority of books by African writers come from small presses, my interest is quite logical. The first issue has just come out...

Brighton is an interesting place for visitors - impressive architecture and the most stunning sea views as the sun sets pinky-red over the pier, lights twinkling on as the sky darkens.

The Kemp Town Bookshop is a wonderful independent with an interesting and eclectic range of books, cards and puzzles ranging over three floors. Upstairs is a light and airy cafe, and they've started to sell art as well (Bookroom Art Press), the young woman I spoke to said they were hoping to soon produce a range of Edward Ardizzone prints. A perfect spot for a rainy morning.

Meandering through the Lanes there are numerous secondhand bookshops of varying quality. I couldn't possibly visit them all in the time I had, but I lucked out at the Oxfam Bookshop, where I found some out of print African Writers' Series titles to add to my collection (descriptions below taken from cover blurbs):

First published Nigerian Printing & Publishing Co. Ltd 1959; AWS edition 1967
The village of Isolo has great difficulty in accepting the missionary concept of 'one man, one wife': this is the story of how a large portion of the village populace becomes disillusioned with mission Christianity and returns to the worship of the old gods.
A NAKED NEEDLE by Nuruddin Farah, the celebrated Somalian author, 1976.
Koschin has idly, far away and two long years ago, agreed with Nancy, that they should get married if they have not found anybody else in the meantime. It had been easy to give such a promise to her in London before he returned to teach in Mogadiscio. Now he receives a telegram to say that Nancy is coming to share his life in Somalia in a society she does not know.
THE AFERSATA by Sahle Selassie Berhane Mariam, 1968; AWS edition 1969.
'The night Namaga's hut was burnt down all the inhabitants of the thirty villages of Wudma were asleep.' Who is the culprit? The men set about finding out by means of the ancient institution of the Afersata, the traditional Ethiopian way of investigating crimes.
What is particularly exciting about these three books, is that they are titles I knew existed but have never laid eyes on before as they are long out of print! All in clean, neat condition. The cover art is sensational. One of these days I must get a digital camera so that I can post the covers here.

My final stop was my favourite source of African books (no bias here, of course!), the Africa Book Centre. Floor to ceiling titles from across the entire continent - so satisfying. I was extremely restrained, but still managed to purchase a few things. They deserve a little closer attention, so I'll blog in more detail about them shortly.



Anonymous David said...

N, assuming said covers aren't available on Google Image Search, please don't photograph them. You have a fabulous scanner in the back office, the pictures will look much, much betterer scanned.

You can then upload them to your Google Photo account, and embed the links here. Happy to give you a tutorial if/when you want to try this.

4:48 pm  
Blogger A. said...

Oh dear, why not photograph them? I'm afraid I always do. I like the "used" look :)

1:36 pm  
Blogger Karen said...

Your chosen subjects would seem to offer themselves so well to being pictured, by whatever means!

7:08 pm  
Blogger Elaine said...

I love Brighton and wandering round the Lanes. Perhaps I am due another visit. Delighted to see about the Ardizzone prints. I love his illustrations

8:48 pm  
Blogger kenyarockfilmfestivaljournal said...

Hi! I did a paper on the Afersata a while back. Interesting book! I am a Kenyan. Spent two years in your home country. There's a lot I liked about South Africa but the best thing I think was the second hand book shops! Spent a month in Cape Town and I will never ever forget Long Street. All those second hand book shops! Heaven for a bookworm like me:-)

5:24 pm  

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