My 27-Book Haul from @AkeFestival #AkeFest15

I didn’t do badly this first time at Aké; I come home with 27 books!

Books I Bought:

Ake Books I bought

  • The Birth of Illus by Jumoke Verissimo. This is Jumoke’s second collection of poetry. I’m a fan of her work.
  • Bound to Secrecy by Vamba Sherif. A detective novel set in Liberia. A new-to-me writer.
  • Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor. The first of Okorafor’s books that I own. It’s been a long time coming.
  • Minaret by Leila Aboulela. She has a new book, The Kindness of Enemies, out. I’m trying to catch up.
  • Blackass by A. Igoni Barrett. I”m behind on my reviews but I loved Igoni’s Love is Power or Something Like That.  This is his newest book.
  • A Killing in the Sun by Dilman Dila.  Speculative fiction.  I first came across his work in Jalada’s Afrofutures issue.

(In a special category) The Etisalat Prize Longlisted Books

Etisalat Prize-longlisted books were sold in a frenzied manner at Aké. At some point after the last session of the day and before dinner, Lola announces that the Etisalat books are on sale at 1000 each (roughly $5) and folks would stampede for the books. Most wanted The Fisherman but quite a number of us desperately needed to get our hands on Tram 83. It was such drama; the arrival of Tram 83 was delayed by a day.

  • I formed all sorts of alliances to secure three copies of Tram 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujilla.  ( I bought two and thanks to Etisalat’s Opeyemi Lawal for gifting me one copy). I also bought:
  • The Fisherman by Chigozie Obioma
  • The Reactive by Masande Ntshanga
  • Shadow Shelf by Paula Marais

I chose by reputation and blurb. I hope three books in my selection end up on the Etisalat Prize shortlist because I plan on shadow judging the shortlist. (Note to self: You can’t trust this hope).

Books Bought for me by Frankie Edozien and Emmanuel Iduma (Thanks guys!):

Ake book gifts

  • Paradise by Abdulrazak Gurnah. Gurnah has been on my reading list for the longest. Finally, I can begin!
  • Beneath the Lion’s Gaze by Maaza Mengiste
  • Far from My Father by Veronique Tadjo. Yay! Tadjo’s books have a home here.
  • Butterfly Fish by Irenosen Okojie. Her Book Chat session at Aké intrigued.

Given by writers:

Ake Books from Writers

  • Clinical Blues by Dami Ajayi. A collection of poetry. I wasn’t able to attend Dami’s poetry reading in Accra.
  • Maid In SA: 30 Ways to Leave your Madam by Zukiswa Wanner.  Non-fiction from the wonderful and prolific Zuki.
  • The Wonderful Life of Senator Boniface and other Sorry Tales by Ayo Sogunro. Since I like to judge books by their titles, the placement of  “Sorry” in the title is superb; this will be a good read!
  • Headscarves and Hymens by Mona Eltahawy. Non-fiction. Subtitle: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution. Mona was on fiyah at Aké.

Books given by publishers:

Ake Books from Publishers

  • Taty went West by Nikhil Singh. A Kwani? Trust publication. The story was longlisted for the the 2013 Kwani? Manuscript Project.

The rest are published by Parresia:

  • Season of Crimson and The Whispering Trees by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim. The Whispering Tree (short stories) was longlisted for the inaugural Etisalat Prize. Abubakar is a Caine Prize-shortlisted writer.
  • The Domestication of Munachi by Ifesinachi O, Okpagu
  • Oil on Water by Helon Habila.
  • Indigo by Molara Wood.  My current short-story-collection-read.

What do you think of my haul? Any on here that you’ve read or are thinking of reading?

(More Aké stuff coming soon)



  1. Reblogged this on ellesue's Blog and commented:
    Check this out guys!
    The rush of emotions I am feeling while seeing these books makes me wish I was at the #AKE festival this year. Anyways, there’s always a chance of attending next season.


  2. Wow, what a haul. You are going to be busy! They look good, I haven’t heard of most of them, which shows how under represented African writers are in Australia. On of our radio stations is hosting an African book club this year but almost all the books on the reading list are older novels viewed as ‘classics’ in the west, hardly any of the new or less well-known authors.


  3. Wow! Lots of great ideas here. Tram 83 is on my radar, it has had a lot of attention here in North America with Deep Vellum’s release and promotion of the book and author. Helon Habila is another author I really want to read. Enjoy! I anticipate a few reviews… no pressure… 🙂


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