LIT Links mélange

Hey everyone!

Here are links to some great resources, literature finds and gems I’ve been loving and just had to share. Enjoy!

Thanks to my 2016 Reading Goals, I’ve been slacking on my Carib reads this year – but that will be rectified very soon! The annual Bocas Lit Fest – Trinidad and Tobago’s Literary Festival took place about a week ago and some great Caribbean writers received prizes for their awesome works. The OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature is a major award for literary books by Caribbean writers. Books are classified in three categories: poetry, fiction, and literary non-fiction. Below are the book covers of the works that made the OCM Bocas Prize Shortlist:


The winner of the 2016 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature was announced last weekend to be Jamaican writer, Olive Senior for her collection, The Pain Tree! Olive Senior has been on my TBR for a while and this win just reminded me to bump her up my TBR list. As one of the pioneer Caribbean writers, in my opinion I don’t think Olive Senior gets enough shine for her contribution to Caribbean Literature. Below is a showcase of some of her work from 1987 to present day:

Add Olive Senior to your TBR, maybe?

  • Self-published short stories collection: Flight

Fellow book blogger – Stephanie, of Steph Hearts Books (check out her blog!) published a collection of short stories called Flight back in December (2015) on Tumblr. From her blog, she describes the collection – ‘Flight is a multimedia collection of short stories that uses photo, film, and written text to explore themes of escapism for black women. The collection features 4 short stories, films, and photosets’.

I finally just finished reading the collection and I’m really impressed! The first story entitled ‘Thelma’ (which actually ties in well with present day police brutality in the U.S and the constant fear black mothers face for their sons) will reel you in to reading the rest of the stories in this great collection. Stephanie is a talented writer and a lot of emotions are accurately expressed in these stories! Please do check out Flight and share the collection with your friends once you finish reading! Stephanie is also a contributor for Blavity and I enjoy the content she produces there as well.

  • How Not To Talk About African Fiction by Ainehi Edoro

Ainehi Edoro of Brittle Paper wrote an important essay that was published in The Guardian, entitled How Not To Talk About African Fiction. The title of the essay reminded on me of Binyavanga Wainaina‘s satirical essay (2005) – How To Write About Africa which I thoroughly enjoyed in an Anthropology class I took junior year in college (2010/2011) – shoutout to Prof. Sheridan! Anyways, with regards to Ainehi Edoro’s essay – I wholeheartedly agree with everything that’s said. African fiction deserves to be seen as literary work of art instead of solely being appreciated for its ‘anthropological value’. It’s unfair to market African fiction around the social/political issues they address because there’s so much more to these stories that go unseen from how they are described by publishers and even reviewers of African fiction. I think book bloggers and reviewers should try and rectify this issue by adequately portraying the layered complexities of African fiction. What do you all think?

  • Big Belly Ache

Big Belly Ache is captivating artwork I discovered on Instagram months ago by New York based illustrator and writer, Elaine Musiwa. She showcases her work at @bigbellyache where she boldly portrays images that represent varied black women experiences. I enjoyed a conversation Elaine Musiwa had with LAMBB (Look At My Black Beauty)here. Key quotes I got from this interview were:

“The name Big Belly Ache came out of this idea; tackling the topics that are hard to stomach or admit. When I was growing up it took a long time for me to embrace having bold features like a wide nose, large lips, puffy hair, thick thighs, a large ass; all the things that were part of my genetics. This statement art is representative of my progress in self-acceptance”

“Words often leave a need for translation but the beauty of images is that they can be understood worldwide” (Yesss!)

“I hope my images are inspiring young black girls to tell their stories and support each other. As black women, one of our biggest challenges has always been to encourage each other and find our voices in mainstream dialogue”

(quotes taken from Elaine Musiwa’s insightful interview with LAMBB (Look At My Black Beauty)

Below are my favorite illustrations from Big Belly Ache. Enjoy!

Images via

  • More Short Stories!

Have y’all been keeping up with AFREADA? There are some really talented writers from the continent and in the diaspora who have been sending in brilliant stories which I have been enjoying! Some stories I really, really love are: The Disappearance of Self by Zainab Omaki (Nigeria), A House in the Sky by Mirette Bahgat (Egypt) and My Father’s Shadow by Kariuki WaKimuyu (Kenya). There are also photo-stories as well as book reviews (by yours truly) on AFREADA‘s website. Head on over there and indulge in great short fiction 🙂

Let me know which of these LIT links intrigued you the most and please share some interesting links you’ve been loving as well! 

9 thoughts on “LIT Links mélange

  1. Thanks for sharing this! It has been a long time that I read from Caribbean author, most recent been ‘Small Island’ years ago. Must read at least one from this list. Olive Senior, from description sounds like a ‘must read’

    Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s been long but I remember I really enjoyed the book as it gives insights into diaspora from that part of the world settling in the west. Now I remember that it was SI that inspired me to read a book written in honour of Mary Seacole and her wonderful work to help soldiers during the war. Following that I read ‘Ugly’ written by a UK judge based on her childhood story of being raised by her Jamaica parents.

        Thanks to you too, you are doing a wonderful work collating amazing books.


  2. Enjoyed this post, Darkowaa! I’m putting Olive Senior on my TBR – I am not familiar with her work at all. Do you have a favorite written by her? I, too, am a fan of the writing and short films by Stephanie of StephHeartsBooks. I had read Ainehi Edoro’s “How Not To talk About African Fiction” – a really good piece that made me sigh with relief while reading it – almost as though I had been holding my breath waiting for those ideas to be expressed without knowing it. Thanks for turning us on to more good things!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Leslie! I haven’t read Senior either, she’s on my TBR but I hope to read her soon. Yess, how great was that article by Edoro? African Lit deserves so much more than being reduced to those issues. I’m glad you enjoyed this post. I will be posting other great links that catch my eye as the year progresses 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi folks! So nice to have found this blog and my kindred spirits! I am an avid reader. Just finished “Behind the Mountains”-Edwidge Danticat and I’m in the middle of “The Lightning Dreamer”-Margarita Engle. I love to her about new authors and make lists for my visits to the library. I am looking forward to getting some more of Nnedi Okorafor’s books on my next trip

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi there Linne! Thanks for stopping by. How was Danticat’s book? Did you enjoy it? I’d love to hear how ‘The Lightning Dreamer’ goes after you finish 🙂


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