African Writers continue to push the limits for African Literature. The list below, though in-exhaustive, reflects the continents outlook for the year 2013.
1. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria): Celebrated novelist returns with a new novel “Americanah”. The title comes from the word Nigerians use for those who have left the country for the US and become “Americanised” – a borderline insult. With three books to her name and a clutch of literary prizes, Chimamanda is one of the most beloved and critically lauded writers working today. Americanah comes out in May.
2. NoViolet Bulawayo (Zimbabwe): NoViolet Bulawayo (pen name of Elizabeth Tshele) is a writer who takes delight in language. Noviolet’s works are intensely lyrical and moving, while engaging with real social issues. Noviolet won the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2011 for her story “Hitting Budapest”.
“We Need New Names” which comes out in May, is the lovely title of her forthcoming debut novel. She is a 2012-2014 Stegner Fellow at Stanford University.
3. Lauren Beukes (South Africa): One of the finest genre Writers in the continent. Her book “Zoo City” won the 2011 Arthur C Clarke award, the 2010 Kitschies Red Tentacle for best novel and was short-listed for several other prizes and the film rights have been sold.
In 2011, HarperCollins brokered a six-figure sum deal at the Frankfurt Book fair for “Shining Girls” and plans to publish it in May this year. In Shining Girls, The Time Traveler’s Wife meets The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo in this story of a time-traveling serial killer who is impossible to trace, until one of his victims survives.
4. Mehul Gohil (Kenya): A writer born and living in Nairobi, Kenya. He won the Kenya I Live In short story competition organised in 2010 by Kwani Trust for his short story “Farah Aideed Goes To Gulf War”. He has previously been published in Kwani 06. Those hungry for his first book hopefully won’t have to wait long.
5. Beatrice Lamwaka (Uganda): Short-listed for the Caine prize in 2011 for her story “Butterfly Dreams”, Lamwaka is the General Secretary of the Uganda Women Writers Association. She was a finalist for the 2009 SA PEN/Studzinski Literary Award and was a fellow of the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation/African Institute of South Africa Young Scholars programme that year. Lamwaka is currently working on her first novel and a compilation of her short stories.
A full list of African Writers to watch out for in 2013 is available on www.efrika.tv