While she might not have made it on to the final list yet, being shortlisted twice for the Caine Prize is testament to Lesley Nneka Arimah’s talent. Her particular skill is focused on short stories, and the accolades recognising her flair are growing. UK-born, Nigeria-raised Arimah won the 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for Africa. Having built a solid portfolio, she debuted a short collection of short stories in 2017. What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky, has already won numerous awards including the Kirkus Prize for Fiction. You may find it hard to not read the 12 stories in one sitting, but do try to savour them as individual masterpieces. Scenes are set in various locations from Nigeria to the US, but the common thread throughout is insight into the lives of girls and women.
Want to cross-reference between a movie and a book?
Code-switching is a reality many black South African’s will be familiar with. Though the names are different in Angie Thomas’ book, The Hate U Give, the predominately poor black neighbourhood the character lives in could be any one of our townships, and the affluent neighbourhood in which she attends school could be suburbs ranging from Rivonia to Riverside. With race, identity and violence as major themes, the book is about how 16 year-old, Starr becomes an activist after her friend is fatally shot by a white cop. There are some differences between the movie and the book, so it may be prudent to start with the novel for a fully nuanced read. And then gather your tribe to watch the movie. It will elicit tears, but also bring up some important conversations about staying hopeful for a better, safer world.
Try this poetry book
A prolific writer, Kwame Dawes has 20 poetry anthologies, 2 novels, a collection of short stories and 3 non-fiction books. While delivering all these works, he’s also managed to obtain a PhD in Comparative Literature. His 20th poetry book is City of Bones. It’s divided into four sections, with titles such as Stealing Home for Part One, and Reading the Sky for Part Three. Currently working as a Professor of English, the Ghanian poet, actor, editor and musician has an indisputably magical gift for words and rhyme.