Showing posts from 2012

The Endless Journey: From a liberation struggle to driving emerging technologies in Africa | Jabulani Simbini Dhliwayo

The Endless Journey is a story of one man’s journey from a revolutionary to a renowned ICT [Information and communications technology] professional. It is written with great honesty, incorporating pathos and humor intended to ease some of the heart-breaking and chilling accounts. It is an interesting perspective of a slice of African history that has seldom been recorded in such a personal way. The book elaborates the author’s life as a poor black man in racially segregated Rhodesia and his subsequent journey from Rhodesia to join Robert Mugabe’s liberation movement in Mozambique. While in Mozambique, he lived in the refugee camps which were constantly under attack by the Rhodesians resulting in the death of his sister and thousands of others. When it was decided that the author would have to swap weapons for books, he ended up in Sierra Leone where he graduated with a bachelor of science degree in physics and went back to Zimbabwe. Circumstances in Zimbabwe that saw the deterior

The Truth About the Fact | International Call for Submissions

The Truth About the Fact | An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction International Call for Submissions The Truth About the Fact are now accepting submissions of nonfiction essays and memoirs, nonfiction poetry, and visual artwork for their fourth issue. The deadline is December 31st, 2010. Submissions are to be made by email only: Guidelines for all submissions: All work must be nonfiction. Please do not send fictional prose or poetry. Essays, memoir, and commentary must be between 1,000-5,000 words. Poetry must be no longer than 4 pages. Art files cannot exceed 1MB. Please include each piece as separate attachments. Attachments must be in Microsoft Word (.doc), PDF, or JPEG for visual files. Please include a cover page for each piece containing: title of the piece, your name, address, phone number, and reliable email address. Your name should NOT appear anywhere else on the piece outside of the cover page. There is no limit to the num

Call For Applications for Residency: African Literary Writers

The Sylt Foundation calls all Writers of contemporary African literature to apply for the two month African Writer’s Residency, offered as part of the Sylt Foundation Residency Programme. One residency will be awarded annually to Africa writers who have published poetry, prose, plays and novels. The Foundation is located on the island of Sylt, off the coast of Hamburg, Germany. The Foundation’s residency programme has been running for several years offering opportunities to South African and international visual artists, writers and photographers. It is managed under the directorship of literary scholar and curator Indra Wussow. This African Writer’s Residency is aimed to offer a residency to writers of contemporary African literature, who are related to or engaging with contemporary themes and concerns of Africa and the African Diaspora. The award is open to published writers of poetry, prose, plays and novels. Following on the success of many years of engagement with contempor

News, Views and Poetry

In The Africa Report Tuesday, Prince Ofori-Atta and Dagnachew Teklu wrote about what they called the world's most expensive election campaign as US voters hit the polls.  " The 2012 election campaign will go down in history as the first to record billions of dollars in campaign funding by the respective candidates. By October 17, 2012, the two candidates had declared over $2 billion in campaign funding," said Ofori-Atta and Teklu.  Other sources like OpenSecrets placed the total much higher. The Center for Responsive Politics in Washington calculated about $6 billion was spent by the presidential candidates and contestants for seats in the Senate and House of Representatives.  A day after the historic vote, a lot of pundits like Detroit Free Press' Brian Dickerson have the same verdict. The election proved money alone can't buy you victory. Below a professor of English and linguistics at Virginia state University pens similar thoughts in poem below:

Vitabu Interviews Sierra Leone's Ahmed Koroma | Of Flour And Tears

  Vitabu is pleased to have Ahmed Koroma in our virtual room. Koroma just published a collection of poems that's garnered some great reviews. By day, he's a very left-brained analytical chemist. At night, his right brain comes alive. “Words matter,” says Freetown-born  Koroma, who attended two of the most famous schools in Sierra Leone’s capital city: St. Edwards Secondary and the Prince of Wales.  Later, he graduated from one of West Africa's most storied educational institutions, Fourah Bay College (FBC), with a bachelor of science (honors) in chemistry.   Koroma moved to America sometime in the 1990s for graduate studies and earned a master's in chemistry from California State University at Northridge. He still lives in California, from where he takes us on a virtual tour of his poetry set 5,000 miles away in his homeland, Sierra Leone. The nation was ravaged by war for almost a decade. Vitabu : Of Flour and Tears has garnered some great reviews fr

Interested in a new book?

Interested in a new book? read the subject line in an e-mail I got one slow Olympic day in August.  Opening it up it read: I've been browsing through your blog, and it looks like Timbuctoo might be of interest to you. It takes place in Africa, and was written by British author Tahir Shah who lives in Morocco. I thought I'd check to see if you might be interested. I've included some info below so you can decide whether it's something you'd like to read. Please let me know if you'd be interested in receiving a digital copy. I replied almost immediatley: With the Olympics winding down...Timbuctoo sounds like just the right book to dive into.  But after three weeks of reading my first Tahir Shah book, I still don't know what to make of it. One thing I was sure about as I clicked to the last page today was the ending is just what hard luck blues protagonist, Robert Adams, needed in a world with the odds stacked against him--put a foot wrong and you h

Getting Our Book Groove Back

As I pick up a dogeared book out of a basket, I wonder when my copy of  Ramadhan Ali's 1976  "Africa at the Olympics" will arrive. It's Monday in Baltimore and the London opening ceremony takes place in a few days. If Ali's title is anything to go by, it'd be an interesting peek into the history of the games from an African perspective but there's no doubt Africa is at the Olympics . So I thought that was a good way to break the dry spell on Vitabubooks. Baltimore's had some heat lately but the dog days of summer were only partly  responsible for the drought. Vb's had "book famine"-- a sensational condition brought on by more than a hundred and one reasons. So to help get our groove back, we're going to ease in with stories that made the Caine Prize list. As you probably know, Nigeria's  Rotimi Babatunde won the 13th annual Caine Prize for African Writing ,   described as Africa’s leading literary award, for his short story enti

Vitabubooks Interview | Mukoma Wa Ngugi

Novelist, poet, literary scholar and essayist Mukoma Wa Ngugi is the author of Nairobi Heat (Penguin, SA 2009, Melville House Publishing, 2011), an anthology of poetry titled Hurling Words at Consciousness (AWP, 2006) and is a political columnist for the BBC Focus on Africa magazine.  He was shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2009.  In 2010, he was shortlisted for the Penguin Prize for African Writing for his novel manuscript, The First and Second Books of Transition . Editions of Nairobi Heat are forthcoming in Kenya (East African Publishers) and Nigeria (Cassava Republic Press). Finding Sahara , the sequel to Nairobi Heat is forthcoming. Mukoma will be joining Cornell University in the fall of 2012 as an Assistant Professor of English specializing in 20th-century Anglophone African literature. Below is an e-mail interview with Mukoma. Vitabubooks : What drew you to Nairobi Heat ? Where did you get the information or ideas? Mukoma Wa Ngugi : It was a r

Conversations with African Poets and Writers

The Library of Congress, African and Middle Eastern Division and Poetry and Literature Center in partnership with The Africa Society of the National Summit on Africa invite you to a reading and book signing with Award-winning Nigerian Novelist Helon Habila. The author will read excerpts from his novel “Oil On Water” and discuss his new anthology “The Granta Book of the African Short Story” Tuesday, May 1, 2012 12 Noon - 1:00 PM The African and Middle Eastern Division Reading Room LJ -220 Thomas Jefferson Building 101 First St. S.E. Washington DC. 20540 For additional information contact: Angel Batiste (202) 707 – 1980 or abat @loc.g

Exciting Literary Event Coming Up Soon

The judges of this year's Caine Prize for African Writing will meet in early May to decide on the winner of 122 shortlisted stories. This year's qualifying stories have been submitted from 14 African countries. The winning story will be announced at a dinner at the Bodleian Library in Oxford on Monday, July 2, 2012. The panel will be chaired by author and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature Bernardine Evaristo. Joining her are award-winning cultural journalist Maya Jaggi, Zimbabwean poet, songwriter and writer Chirikure Chirikure, Associate Professor at Georgetown University Samantha Pinto, and the award-winning CNN television correspondent Nima Elbagir. Last year the Caine Prize, described as Africa's leading literary award, was won by Zimbabwean writer NoViolet Bulawayo. Chair of judges Hisham Matar said at the time "The language of 'Hitting Budapest' crackles. This is a story with moral power and weight; it has the artistry to refrain from moral

Conversation with South African Poet Laureate Keorapetse Kgositsile, April 3

The Library of Congress, in collaboration with the Africa Society of the National Summit on Africa, will host a conversation with South African Poet Laureate Keorapetse Kgositsile. The event, part of a series titled “Conversations with African Poets and Writers,” will start at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 3, in the Montpelier Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, DC. The program is co-sponsored by the Poetry and Literature Center and the African and Middle Eastern Division of the Library of Congress. The event is free and open to the public.  No tickets are needed.  Book sales and signing will follow. Kgositsile will discuss the state of contemporary African culture, including poetry and literature, with LaVerne Page, an area specialist in the African and Middle Eastern Division. Kgositsile has held the South African laureateship since 2007.  His 10 volumes of poetry include “This Way I Salute You,” “My Name is Afrika,” “Hea

Sierra Leone Writers Series Expands Range, New Appointment

Sierra Leone Writers Series Publisher, Osman Sankoh, Ph.D., announced today that Fatmata Sankoh has accepted the position to serve as Business Manager for Sierra Leonean Writers Series (SLWS). She can be reached at[at] Fatmata is now working on all SLWS books to be available on She is also working on a new look for the SLWS website According to Dr. Sankoh, SLWS has achieved a major presence in Sierra Leone with one of its books. "Sierra Leone Since Independence - History of a Post-Colonial State" by Joe A. D. Alie, SLWS 2007, has been designated a recommended text for students reading government and politics at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. Fatmata is now working on making 1000 copies of the book available in Sierra Leone and on The Sierra Leonean Writers Series was set up by Dr. Osman Sankoh (Mallam O.) after he published his book "Hybrid Eyes - Reflections of an African i

In the News | Dickens and Black London

AFP reports that Britain is marking Charles Dickens' bicentenary . In Portsmouth, the city he was born on February 7, 1812, a street party will be held to mark the day. Other events will take place around the country. According to AFP, Dickens' novels were informed by his own early experiences, from the happy boyhood he spent in Kent in southeast England, before his father was thrown into the debtors' prison--on the south bank of the River Thames in Southwark, now part of London-- to the childhood of poverty into which he was thrust. On The Griot, Karl Bostic writes that the London of Charles Dickens was the center of what was the biggest empire in the world, and a city of 2 million people. There was a diverse population of all backgrounds: a large Irish population, a significant Jewish population, and a very visible population of African origin. In Bostic's report on Dickens' Black Londoner Inspiration he asks whether Charles Dickens drew his characters f

Vitabubooks News | 'Remembering Okot p Bitek' Anthology: Call for Submissions

The year's not quite a month old but it's never too early to plan ahead. 20th, July, 2012 marks thirty years since Okot p Bitek left us. In celebration of Okot's life and achievements, David Tumusiime and Brian Bwesigye are compiling an anthology to be published in July on the said theme of “Remembering Okot p Bitek” Tumusiime and Bwesigye are inviting outstanding essays, reviews, scholarly articles, poems, short fiction and interviews directly and indirectly centering on Okot p Bitek's works and life.They are also looking at the impact of Okot p Bitek at a personal level, socially, in literature, academically, historically, politically, culturally and how he was influenced in those ways. Word count: 500 - 3000 words (less for poetry where necessary) Format: An attached Word doc/docx, times new roman, 12 point, double spaced. Submissions: By email only to: Deadline: April, 1st, 2012 Tentatively, the anthology will be published by Kus

More 2012 Challenge Reads

Beth Fish Reads is hosting the fifth What's in a Name challenge. On her blog, she writes that the challenge was originally started by a young blogger named Annie, who hosted it for two years. But when Annie decided to give up on being the host, Beth Fish Reads took over the challenge. Here's How It Works: Between January 1 and December 31, 2012, read one book in each of the following categories: A book with a topographical feature (land formation) in the title: Black Hills, Purgatory Ridge, Emily of Deep Valley A book with something you'd see in the sky in the title: Moon Called, Seeing Stars, Cloud Atlas A book with a creepy crawly in the title: Little Bee, Spider Bones, The Witches of Worm A book with a type of house in the title: The Glass Castle, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Ape House A book with something you'd carry in your pocket, purse, or backpack in the title: Sarah's Key, The Scarlet Letter, Devlin Diary A book with a something