We wrap up book news for our readers in our regular Book Digest segment with books from Anna Samwel Manyanza, Donna Hemans, Lauren Beukes, and Safia Elhillo.
Faradhi Ya Moyo by Anna Samwel Manyanza
Anna Samwel Manyanza
Anna Samwel Manyanza writes novels in her mother tongue, Kiswahili. Her debut novel, Penzi la Damu won the Mabati Cornell Prize for African Languages in 2015. She also writes children’s books in English, Kiswahili and German. Little Black Cappy is her debut children’s story and it has been translated into three more languages (Kiswahili, German and French.) Her short stories appeared in the anthologies Vazi la Mhudumu and in Imbiza Journal for African Writing. She holds Master’s degree in Political Science, English Literary and Cultural Studies and Media Science from the Leibniz Universität Hannover, Germany.
Faradhi Ya Moyo
Ugumba Unaweza kuwa sumu kwenye ndoa. Wasila Yamemkuta. Kapewa talak na mumewe, Maulidi, kwa vile hatungi mimba. Maulidi akaoa upya, tena zaidi ya mara mbili. Hakuna Katika hawa wakeze aliyeweza kutunga mimba. Hudi la Maulidi kwa Wasila likachipua upya. Akamtaka Wasila arudi kwa udi na uvumba, kwa mkuki na matanga.
Lakini Wasili alishapelekwa Unguja kwa shangaziye na mjombawe ili walimwengu wasimuandame kwa macho yao ya paka na ndimu zao za swila. Unguja ikamkutanisha Wasili na Bilali. Ugumba wa Wasila ukachukuwa taswira nyingine. Tumbo la Wasila likaanza kutuna. Ni mimba au ni uchoro? Wasili na Bilali wakajikuta wanaelea kwenye bahari ya matumaini ila yenye wimbi la kuzamisha. Bahari ya matumaini ikachafuka. Wimbi likazamisha matumaini ya Wasili na Bilali. Moyo wa Bilali ukachukua taswira pacha. Taswira pacha? Yanawezekanaje mambo haya?
The House of Plain Truth by Donna Hemans
Donna Hemans is the author River Woman, Tea by the Sea and Tree of a Thousand Feet (forthcoming from Zibby Books). In 2015, she won the Lignum Vitae Una Marson Award for Adult Literature for the unpublished manuscript of Tea by the Sea and was named co-winner of the 2003-4 Towson University Prize for Literature for River Woman.
Donna’s short fiction and essays have appeared in Slice, Electric Literature, Ms. Magazine, The Rumpus, Crab Orchard Review, among others.
She was the 2007-2008 Black Mountain Institute (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) International Women’s Forum Fellow and twice served as the Lannan Visiting Creative Writer in Residence at Georgetown University. In addition, Donna has received grants from the Maryland State Arts Council and the Prince George’s County Arts Council, as well as residential fellowships from Hedgebrook, Millay Colony for the Arts and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
She lives in Maryland, and is also the owner of DC Writers Room, a co-working studio for writers based in Washington, D.C.
The House of Plain Truth
A lyrical, lush, evocative story about a fractured Jamaican family and a daughter determined to reclaim her home.
When Pearline receives grave news about her ailing father, she abruptly leaves Brooklyn for her childhood home in Jamaica. But Pearline isn’t prepared for a tense reunion with her sisters or for her father’s startling deathbed wish that she repair their long-broken family legacy and find the sister and two brothers no one has seen in more than 50 years.
Moving through time and place, from modern-day Brooklyn and Montego Bay to 1930s Havana and back again, The House of Plain Truth is a journey through generational secrets and a family coming to terms with its past.
Inspired by the author’s own history, this soulful novel explores a fascinating story of immigration, divided loyalties, and what one woman must sacrifice in her attempt to find home.
Bright Red Fruit by Safia Elhillo
Publisher: Make Me a World
Date: February 6, 2024
Where to find it: Penguin Random House,
Safia Elhillo is an award-winning poet and author. Her debut YA novel in verse, Home Is Not a Country, was longlisted for the National Book Award and received a Coretta Scott King Author Honor and an Arab American Book Award. Sudanese by way of Washington, DC, Safia is a Pushcart Prize nominee, co-winner of the 2015 Brunel International African Poetry Prize, and listed in Forbes Africa’s 2018 “30 Under 30.” She lives in Los Angeles.
Bright Red Fruit
An unflinching, honest novel in verse about a teenager’s journey into the slam poetry scene and the dangerous new relationship that could threaten all her dreams. From the award-winning poet and author of HOME IS NOT A COUNTRY.
Bad girl. No matter how hard Samira tries, she can’t shake her reputation. She’s never gotten the benefit of the doubt—not from her mother or the aunties who watch her like a hawk.
Samira is determined to have a perfect summer filled with fun parties, exploring DC, and growing as a poet—until a scandalous rumor has her grounded and unable to leave her house. When Samira turns to a poetry forum for solace, she catches the eye of an older, charismatic poet named Horus. For the first time, Samira feels wanted. But soon she’s keeping a bigger secret than ever before—one that that could prove her reputation and jeopardize her place in her community.
In this gripping coming-of-age novel from the critically acclaimed author Safia Elhillo, a young woman searches to find the balance between honoring her family, her artistry, and her authentic self.
Bridge by Lauren Beukes
Lauren Beukes is the award-winning and internationally best-selling author of The Shining Girls, which has been adapted by AppleTV+, as well as Zoo City, Moxyland, Broken Monsters, and Afterland. Her novels have been published in twenty-four countries, and she’s also a screenwriter, comics writer, journalist and award-winning documentary maker. She lives in London with two trouble cats and her daughter.
A grieving daughter’s search for her mother becomes a journey across alternate realities in this dazzling new thriller from the author of The Shining Girls that is “sheer thrilling madness with a big, beating heart that reminds us we’re all connected” (Grady Hendrix, New York Times bestselling author).
There are infinite realities. She’s looking for one . . .
Twenty-four-year-old Bridge is paralyzed by choices: all the other lives she could have lived, the decisions she could have made. And now, who she should be in the wake of her mother’s unexpected death.
Jo was a maverick neuroscientist fixated on an artifact she called the “dreamworm” that she believed could open the doors to other worlds. It was part of Jo’s grand delusion, her sickness, and it cost her everything, including her relationship with her daughter.
But in packing up Jo’s house, Bridge discovers Jo’s obsession hidden amongst her things. And the dreamworm works, exactly the way it’s supposed to, the way Bridge remembers from when she was a little girl. Suddenly Bridge can step into other realities, otherselves. In one of them, could she find out what really happened to her mother? What Bridge doesn’t know is that there are others hunting for the dreamworm—who will kill to get their hands on it.
Bridge is a highly original, reality-bending thrill-ride that could only have come from the brilliant mind of award-winning novelist, Lauren Beukes, about mothers and daughters, hunters and seekers, and who we each choose to be.