– Hell was a place of remembering, each beautiful moment passed through the mind’s eye until it fell to the ground like a rotten mango, perfectly useless, uselessly perfect. –
– Weakness is treating someone as though they belong to you. Strength is knowing that everyone belongs to themselves. –
– You cannot stick a knife in a goat and then say, Now I will remove my knife slowly, so let things be easy and clean, let there be no mess. There will always be blood. –
– Harlem felt like a big black band with so many heavy instruments, the city stage was collapsing. –
– If we go to the white man for school, we will just learn the way the white man wants us to learn. We will come back and build the country the white man wants us to build. One that continues to serve them. –
– So when you study history, you must always ask yourself, Whose story am I missing? Whose voice was suppressed so that this voice could come forth? Once you have figured that out, you must find that story too. –
5. What excites you most about the current literary landscape?
Rachel: Everybody who is part of trying to make a workable publishing industry. I love indie publishers who are unafraid to publish work that would give western publishers palpitations. Cassava Republic and Modjaji Books are my top two, and Bibi, Emma and Colleen are just the most inspiring people in the industry currently. Online journals top of my list are Saraba Magazine and The Jalada Collective, who are doing things that make my mouth hang open with admiration. Then Writivism is running mentorship programmes that make me cry with joy. I love the spec fic community that is finding its feet and planting them firmly in African soil, look up Omenana AfroSF anthologies, Bloody Parchment – if you join the African Fantasy Reading Group on Facebook you’ll discover a brave new world.
Tiah: I read an article where a writer quipped something along the lines that African writing right now is like France in the 1920s. There is so much happening, from JALADA, to Writivism, to KWANI and all the indie publishers springing up and making their mark. Look at the Etisalat prize, their coveted shortlist of three titles has included books from indie publishers such as Modjaji and Jacana – African fiction written, edited and published in Africa and succeeding. Thus, it is a huge privilege to be part of this dynamic African writing scene.
– Mother liked to reel out English words from the dusty corners of the dictionary; the kind of words that even the Queen of England would marvel at. –
– It took me years to figure out that the main characters of her story had strong similarities with the writer, but when I pointed it out she laughed at me and denied it. –
– Here in Lagos, I might as well walk naked for all they care. Life just moved on smoothly around me. Nobody cared that my heart was drumming like a crazy night dancer. Nobody cared that my palms felt like I had slicked them with groundnut oil before leaving the house. –
– “Men,” Nkoli spat. “They are our tickets to the golden life, but they can use you like newspaper for wrapping roasted corn.” –
–”You see, my dear,” she said. “There are no rules when it comes to life, but there are rules when it comes to the heart.” –
– That for the heart to sing, it must put away all that taints it: those punishments meted out by a life lived, the grievances, the indignities, in all their manifestations, that are our lot. –
–There are times when only the vast ocean of timelessness can wash away sorrow, when its unceasing agitation, ageless roar and blinding blueness are the sole slave for a wounded spirit. –
– A child is a child is a child, no matter the gender. –
– Women are encouraged, if not coerced, to follow the rules society has set for them. –
– Husbands returning from mines wanted, expected docile wives, docile as the youthful maidens they had married and soon left. But a wife left husbandless soon gets used to do things her way, getting on with the business of getting on. –
– Her childhood was ending and it was time to learn to be a woman. The lessons started with Mummy teaching her to iron shirts. –
– He still wasn’t sure what they could do against gangsters, the cockroaches that crawled out of the walls after the kitchen lights went off. The watch members’ torches cast a light on their activities, but it was dim. –
– He understood now why people got gerook. It made a boring life seem interesting for a while. –
– [The struggle] were like converted people who went around asking everybody if they had accepted the Lord into their hearts. Only they said Lenin. –
– Making love was the word in Mills & Boon romances, always at the end of the book. Fucking sounded better. – Continue reading →