Eight books by African authors that have been translated in 2019.

We give you eight books by African authors that have been translated into several languages in 2019.

Translation is a very important aspect of writing that many writers don’t take too seriously. While it is exciting for your book to finally go through the publishing process, one mustn’t forget that it can get a new lease of life if your agent or publisher sold translation rights in another language. This is because the translated version gives you a whole new audience to tell your story.

Here are eight books that have so far been translated into different languages that will bring their authors a new audience. The translations all start in English but the languages of translation are as diverse as they can be with books now available in isiZulu, French, German and Portuguese. Please note that these are not all the books that have been translated this year, they are a sample to show you that you need to relook your strategy in this vital area.

Title:  Kollective Amnesie
Author:  Koleka Putuma
Translator: Paul-Henri Campbell
Original title: Collective Amnesia
Publisher: Wunderhorn Verlag
Translation: English to German
Blurb: This highly-anticipated debut collection from one of the country’s most acclaimed young voices marks a massive shift in South African poetry. Koleka Putuma’s exploration of blackness, womxnhood and history in Collective Amnesia is fearless and unwavering. Her incendiary poems demand justice, insist on visibility and offer healing. In them, Putuma explodes the idea of authority in various spaces – academia, religion, politics, relationships – to ask what has been learnt and what must be unlearnt. Through grief and memory, pain and joy, sex and self-care, Collective Amnesia is a powerful appraisal, reminder and revelation of all that has been forgotten and ignored, both in South African society, and within ourselves.

Title:  Die Frauen Von Salaga
Author:  Ayesha Harruna Attah
Christiane Burkhardt
Original title:  The 100 Wells of Salaga
Publisher: Diana Verlag
Translation: English to German
Blurb: Based on true events, a story of courage, forgiveness, love, and freedom in precolonial Ghana, told through the eyes of two women born to vastly different fates. Aminah lives an idyllic life until she is brutally separated from her home and forced on a journey that transforms her from a daydreamer into a resilient woman. Wurche, the willful daughter of a chief, is desperate to play an important role in her father’s court. These two women’s lives converge as infighting among Wurche’s people threatens the region, during the height of the slave trade at the end of the nineteenth century.

Buy a copy of the translation here.

Title:  Abazingeli Bezithunzi
Original title:  Shadow Chasers
Author:  Bontle Senne
Translator: Sifizo Mzobe
Publisher: Cover2Cover Books
English to isiZulu
Blurb: A trilogy that weaves African traditional folklore into a modern day quest. A feisty taxi boss’s daughter and her quirky friend enter the dreamworld and pit themselves against an army of shadows.

Get a copy of the book in isiZulu here.

Title: Minha Irmã, A Serial Killer
Original title: My Sister, The Serial Killer
Author: Oyinkan Braithwaite
Translator: Carolina Kuhn Facchin
Publisher: Kapulana
Translation: English to Portuguese

Blurb: My Sister, the serial killer ( My sister, the serial killer ), the Nigerian Oyinkan Braithwaite tells a story at once humorous and frightening about two sisters with very different temperaments and attitudes from one another: Korede and Ayoola. Korede is embittered, but pragmatic. His younger sister, Ayoola, is his favorite daughter, the most beautiful, and possibly with serious behavioral disorders. Her last three boyfriends are dead. The two sisters play unusual roles in this thriller and complex emotional relationships.

Get the book in Portuguese here.

Title: Heimkehren
Original title: Homegoing
Author:  Yaa Gyasi
Translator: Anette Grube
Publisher: Der Audio Verlag
Translation: English to German
Blurb: Homegoing is the debut historical fiction novel by Yaa Gyasi, published in 2016. Each chapter in the novel follows a different descendant of an Asante woman named Maame, starting with her two daughters, who are half sisters, separated by circumstance: Effia marries James Collins, the British governor in charge of Cape Coast Castle, while her half-sister Esi is held captive in the dungeons below. Subsequent chapters follow their children and following generations.

Get the book in German here.

Title:  O Que Acontece Quando Um Homem Cai Do Céu?
Original title: What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky
Author:  Lesley Nneka Arimah.
Publisher: Kapulana
English to Portuguese
Blurb: In twelve phenomenal tales, Lesley Nneka Arimah provokes and disturbs bringing themes such as motherhood, feminicide, existence of the black woman, dystopia, wars, memories, pain and overcoming. In one of the short stories, an imagined society consists of women who must build their children from disposable materials; in another, a mother leaves a photograph eight years after her death; in another, a father tells his daughter painful memories about war, a snake, and life lessons. The tales of what happens when a man falls from the sky are not what is expected – they are much more.

Get a copy of the book here.

Title: La felicità è come l’acqua
Author: Chinelo Okparanta
Translator: Federica Gavioli
Original title:  Happiness Like Water
Publisher:  Racconti Wdizioni
Translation:  English to Italian
Blurb: Here are Nigerian women at home and transplanted to the United States, building lives out of longing and hope, faith and doubt, the struggle to stay and the mandate to leave, the burden and strength of love. Here are characters faced with dangerous decisions, children slick with oil from the river, a woman in love with another despite the penalties. Here is a world marked by electricity outages, lush landscapes, folktales, buses that break down and never start up again. Here is a portrait of Nigerians that is surprising, shocking, heartrending, loving, and across social strata, dealing in every kind of change. Here are stories filled with language to make your eyes pause and your throat catch. Happiness, Like Water introduces a true talent, a young writer with a beautiful heart and a capacious imagination.

Get a copy of the book in Italian here.

Title:  Comme Une Mule Qui Apporte Une Glace Au Soleil
Author: Sarah Ladipo Manyika
Original title:  Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun
Translation:  English to French
Blurb: Morayo Da Silva, a cosmopolitan Nigerian woman, lives in hip San Francisco. On the cusp of seventy-five, she is in good health and makes the most of it, enjoying road trips in her vintage Porsche, chatting to strangers, and recollecting characters from her favourite novels. Then she has a fall and her independence crumbles. Without the support of family, she relies on friends and chance encounters. As Morayo recounts her story, moving seamlessly between past and present, we meet Dawud, a charming Palestinian shopkeeper, Sage, a feisty, homeless Grateful Dead devotee, and Antonio, the poet whom Morayo desired more than her ambassador husband. A subtle story about ageing, friendship and loss, this is also a nuanced study of the erotic yearnings of an older woman.

Get a copy of the book in French here.



3 responses to “Eight books by African authors that have been translated in 2019.”

  1. […] novel Siku Njema in English and Bontle Senne’s Shadow Chasers translated from English to isiZulu. The other books we tracked were written in English and then translated into other European […]

  2. […] literary blogger James Murua has suggested 8 books by African authors that have been translated into several languages. If you are interested in buying children books in […]

  3. […] literary blogger James Murua has suggested 8 books by African authors that have been translated into several languages. If you are interested in buying children books in […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.