LIT LINKS MÉLANGE IV

Hey everyone!

I hope the month of October is treating everyone well. Over the weeks and months, I’ve been consuming some great literature finds and gems online. Below is a compilation of some of the LIT links I highly recommend you indulge in:

 

  • This Land is My Land  is a Kickstarter project by three students from Macalester College (Saint Paul, Minnesota) who are publishing a children’s book to build empathy. I really love the unique illustrations (I especially love that the characters are dark-skinned with kinky/ tightly coiled hair!) and strong premise around a necessary character trait everyone must strive to embody – empathy.

I think adults could learn a lot from this children’s book as well. The ways of the world have become quite disheartening and we could all learn to have more empathy with one another. Check out their website and donate to the kickstarter if you can, so they can meet their goal of $7,500 by November 2nd! #WeAreWithAmina

Image via This Land is Our Land website


  • Book bloggers are real readers via The Irish Times. Tunrayo of the blog Tunrayo’s Thoughts tweeted this AMAZING article to me some months ago. I’ve shared this article before in the last LIT Links Mélange, but I just have to share it again. The article articulates and defends the role of book bloggers and the influence we hold. Golden!

  • Pa Gya! Literary Festival in Accra this weekend!! I always feel like I’m missing out whenever there are book festivals in other parts of the continent and in the US when I’m not there. I’m thrilled that Writer’s Project Ghana will be hosting this 3-day literary festival, starting this Friday! Check out the packed schedule and start planning which events you’ll attend, if you’re in Accra :).

Image via Writers Project Ghana website


  • Writing Between Countries and Across Borders via The Lit Hub via Issue 20 of PEN America: A Journal for Writers and Readers is a brilliant conversation between authors – Kwame Anthony Appiah, Marlon James, Jamaica Kincaid, Valeria Luiselli, and Colum McCann. They speak about their creative processes, identity, the concept of home, immigration, their writing careers and more! I wish Jamaica Kincaid spoke more in this conversation, but here are two quotes I LOVED from this conversation, by Jamaica Kincaid –

We are on a powerful continent, and this powerful continent produces so much disturbance that the citizens of the continent would like, when they sit down to read a book, for that book to offer some solace about the human condition. I insist on offering none. 

When I’m writing, I am only true to the thing I’m writing. I find the contemporary obsession with the consideration of others in writing really disturbing, and I almost can’t respect a readership that would expect me to please them.

If you haven’t read any of Jamaica Kincaid’s work yet, I hope these quotes and my book reviews of her work pique your interest! Enjoy this conversations and gain wisdom from these geniuses!

Image via The Lit Hub


I love that she tries to encourage African writers to do away with appealing to foreign/white readers by setting their stories abroad and watering down their texts to accommodate the white gaze. But this article seems to give ‘African literature’ a specific criteria; it also suggests that being ‘African’ or an ‘African writer’ is monolithic and frowns heavily on Afropolitanism. It’s always problematic and divisive when people impose their rigid standards of identity onto others. I have so many thoughts on this article! If you don’t have time to read any of the links in this post, I strongly recommend you indulge in this excellent, yet polarizing article, so we can discuss in the comments!  

Image via Okay Africa


  • Edwidge Danticat on Memory and Migration via The New Yorker. I like to believe Haitian writer – Edwidge Danticat, is known for her beautiful, melancholic writing which really speak to the heart. Enjoy this interview where Danticat talks about Alzheimer’s, family, and hanging on to the past even through heartbreak. (Her short story collection – Krik? Krak!, has been reviewed on this platform. I’m yet to find the words to review her beautifully painful novel – Breath, Eyes, Memory soon)

  • The Elma Lewis Center (of Emerson College in Boston, MA) has blessed us with the The Hidden Figures Syllabus! The syllabus was launched on September 15th, on what would have been Elma Lewis’ 96th birthday.

In honor of Lewis, and in gratitude for the powerful legacy she has left, this syllabus was carefully curated with lists of texts and other resources by and about Black women and femmes from around the African diaspora. This is a resource I will be referring to often, especially when I want to find my next read and raise my awareness on Black literature & culture.

Click image to download the Hidden Figures Syllabus below:

Image via Hidden Figures Syllabus website


  • bone by Yrsa Daley-Ward has been re-released by Penguin Books! I read and reviewed the poetry collection last year, from the self-published edition. This Penguin edition is just as good as the self-published edition but better, as it has new breathtaking poems full of Daley-Ward’s raw, healing writing. If you love poetry by Black women poets, I highly recommend this collection!

Image via African Book Addict! Instagram/ Bookstagram


  • Diriye Osman has launched his new website! In case you’re wondering who Diriye Osman is, he’s the British-Somali author, visual artist, critic and essayist whose short story collection – Fairytales For Lost Children, was my favorite book last year! The collection follows characters who desire to live their lives free from hate, criticism, and scrutiny, while trying to understand the intersectionalities of their identities. Fairytales For Lost Children is probably the best LGBTQ-themed African fiction out there.

The new website looks wonderfully Afro-futuristic and is a compilation of all of Osman’s work – fiction, interviews, essays and reviews of other works. Enjoy!

Image via Diriye Osman’s website

Krik? Krak! by Edwidge Danticat

Date Read: July 8th 2015

Published: 1996

Publisher: Vintage Books

Pages: 224

Edwidge Danticat

The Blurb

At an astonishingly young age, Edwidge Danticat has become one of our most celebrated new writers. She is an artist who evokes the wonder, terror, and heartache of her native Haiti – and the enduring strength of Haiti’s women – with a vibrant imagery and narrative grace that bear witness to her people’s suffereing and courage.

When Haitians tell a story, they say “Krik?” and the eager listeners answer “Krak!” In Krik? Krak! Danticat establishes herself as the latest heir to that narrative tradition with nine stories that encompass both the cruelties and the high ideals of Haitian life. They tell of women who continue loving behind prison walls and in the face of unfathomable loss; of a people who resist the brutality of their rulers through the powers of imagination. The result is a collection that outrages, saddens, and transports the reader with its sheer beauty.

◊◊

Review –  ★★★★ (4 stars)

Reading Krik? Krak! was a pleasant experience! It was the perfect summer read, especially since most of the short stories in this collection take place in Haiti – the island with the indigo blue skies and the sandy beaches. It is very evident that Danticat wrote this collection from her heart and I felt her love for the island in every story. All nine stories have a calm nature to them and they read smoothly. These stories were truly engaging and I loved that they all seemed interconnected with one another and had some sort of realistic twist. Danticat’s effortless talent in storytelling is wonderfully showcased in this collection and my favorite stories were:

Between the Pool and the Gardenias – This was a crazy story! A housemaid finds and keeps an abandoned baby and decides to name the baby, Rose. After a couple of days, she realizes that the baby is emitting a strong stench…because it is dead and rotting! This story startled me and I loved it.

The Missing Peace – This is a story about a precocious, brave, fourteen year old named ‘Lamort’ by her grandmother (‘Lamort’ means ‘death’ – because after she was born, her mother died. Quite eerie). I love how Lamort finds her own voice by the end of this story, grâce à her forbidden friendship with an American journalist who visits the island.

Caroline’s Wedding – This was an interesting tale of a Haitian family residing in New York City. The adult daughters in this family – Gracina and Caroline, live with their widowed mother. Their mother is very bitter that her last child – Caroline (who was born without her left forearm) is marrying a Bahamian and not a Haitian. Meanwhile, as Gracina tries to placate her mother’s resentment, she learns more about her parents’ marriage and starts to have strange dreams about her deceased father.

Epilogue: Women Like Us – This piece was a solid conclusion to the collection of stories. I’m assuming this was a true account on the struggles Danticat experienced in convincing her family of her desire to become a writer instead of the stereotypical housewife or cook most women in her family pride themselves and aspire to.

I learned a great deal about Haiti from this collection and Danticat expertly highlights the hardships Haiti has faced and how these trials have affected its citizens. I’m actually still researching things from the book to learn more, for example: the coup d’etats Haiti faced in 1988 and 1991, Papa Doc Duvalier (Haiti’s ex-president – François Duvalier) and his role in Haiti’s development etc. Krik? Krak! was an enlightening read from the diaspora and I will definitely be reading more of Danticat’s work soon. Edwidge Danticat’s books have been on my to-read list for a while now and I must say, fellow book blogger – Shannon from Reading Has Purpose (check out her book blog!), made me even more eager to indulge in Danticat’s work, as she is a huge fan and speaks highly of her novels! I think the next book I read by Danticat will be her first novel (1994), Eyes, Breath, Memory.

★★★★ (4 stars) – Great book. Highly recommend!

Purchase Krik? Krak! from Amazon