Reading List


AmXULAY7c4zhw9RnEkNgk27YevNCgECvD58q82DU7M8r“little events, ordinary things, smashed and reconstituted. Imbued with new meaning. Suddenly they became the bleached bones of a story.” Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

  1. Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things. It’s such a powerful, beautiful book. Pressing red roses in this one, too.

2. My Ngoc To’s The Washing Room: A Story of Stories. So My Ngoc and I went to school together, and she gave me a copy of her book a little over a year ago. For the longest time it’s sat on my shelf, and then this week as I sat in a waiting room for over 5 hours (a story I must write about someday) I finally had the chance to read it from start to finish, and basically finished it in one sitting. It’s such a gorgeous book: both in terms of the way she captures detail with her language and the way she talks very honestly about mental health.

3. Jennifer Nansubuga’s Kintu. (excerpt here) I feel like this book should really be receiving more attention than it is right now. It’s absolutely beautiful story about generations of a Ugandan family fighting a curse that binds them together. The language is very accessible and Nansubuga’s sense of humor gets you laughing right from the first page– this is not hyperbole. Ultimately, it read to me like a story about self love, both cultural self love (as in loving your culture) and personal self love, as in loving yourself even though you’ve been raised in a family with a “curse” that manifests in various ways. Edit: If you’re in Kenya or know someone in Kenya you can get it at the Kwani Trust. Unfortunately, this book isn’t available on Amazon, which I think is an absolute tragedy.

4. “Why I cannot tell the African Story” By Nancy Kacungira. Nancy Kacungira is a Ugandan journalist who has worked in different African countries and is the inagural Komla Dumor fellow. I love what she says here. A quote: “Africa is not rich or poor, educated or illiterate, progressive or archaic. What Africa is depends on which part of it you are referring to. No single story can adequately reflect that, but a multiplicity of stories can and should broaden our received wisdom about the continent.” Read the rest of it here.

5. Shameless plug: I’m not really reading this, but I wrote a piece for Arts and Africa on chasing Jacaranda blooms– which is about all I can talk about recently– as well as “African” literature and living in translation, which you can have a look at here.

6. Finally, cheating for this one too but here’s a video I really liked. “I’m beautiful because I say so”

What are you reading?