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Africa: Stories in the 55
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Omotoso novel brings up uncomfortable truths, while Mujila's Tram 83 leaves the station

By Laura Angela Bagnetto

In this month’s Africa: Stories in the 55, we speak to two acclaimed novelists. South Africa’s Yewande Omotoso speaks about her aged characters and issues in the post-Apartheid era in The Woman Next Door, while the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Fuston Mwanza Mujila makes a point of putting the frenetic all-night sights and sounds of bar Tram 83 on the page in a mythical Congolese-like city.

‘Hate thy neighbour’ sets the pace for the story of two elderly women growing old next to each other set in modern South Africa. Yewande Omotoso’s latest novel, The Woman Next Door describes a “hateship” between Hortensia James, a no-nonsense retired interior designer, and Marion Agostino, her spiteful, just as successful architect the post-Apartheid era.

Author Yewande Omotoso speaks about her new book, The Woman Next Door

Life is represented with by the characters a brothel-bar in a Lubumbashi-like town in Fuston Mwanza Mujila’s novel Tram 83, where baby-chicks hang out and mine workers mingle after hours. The winner of the 2016 Etisalat Prize for Literature, Mujila’s prose reflects the cacophony of life in a mining town.
 

An interview with Fiston Mwanza Mujila, author of Tram 83

Zimbabwean novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga explores post-war trauma in "This Mournable Body"

The perils for Zimbabweans crossing the border into South Africa personified in Sue Nyathi's new novel, The Gold-Diggers

Honoring those who lived through Zimbabwe's Gukurahundi in Novuyo Rosa Tshuma's novel, House of Stone

Kenyan writer Kiprop Kimutai's short story speaks about the privilege of wealth in a queer environment

Does trauma define the person? Aminatta Forna's latest novel, Happiness, explores love and loss

Musician examines his integrity in Nigerian magical realism novel Taduno's Song

The struggle in Ethiopia continues - there's no stopping half way, says political poet Hama Tuma

Tense, compelling Zimbabwean tales in Behind Enemy Lines short stories

Naivo's Beyond the Rice Fields crafts an epic historical tale set in the highlands of Madagascar

Karim Miské dazzles readers with award-winning crime novel "Arab Jazz"

Characters haunted by memories, prejudice in Nigeria novel "Crocodile Girl"

A glimpse into the lives of Lagosians in Nigerian Ayo Sogunro's short story collection

Love and infertility issues in "Stay with Me", a new novel by Ayòbámi Adébáyò

Young Congolese man trying to deal with life and school in JJ Bola's new novel; Nommo Awards for African Speculative Fiction

South Africa's WWI tragedy immortalised in new novel; Rwandan genocide as seen by Djiboutian writer

Surviving the outbreak of the Somali civil war; academic finds modern-day parallels to 19th century Muslim leader

Dynamic Duo of Bahati e-books for 2017; Congo-Brazzaville author speaks on identity in The Heart of the Leopard Children

Life lessons shared in Ghanaian writer Ayesha Harruna Attah's novel, Saturday's Shadows

Two Nigerian authors hit bookstores with tales of Lagosian living and a poignant, humorous memoir

Writing for Black Sparkle millennials from a Nigerian perspective; and Botswana trans poetess brings individuality to the fore