"Money won’t save us. Things won’t save us. We’ve failed our moral responsibility to be stewards of this planet. I hope this epiphany arrives, and I hope it leads to change." Rumaan Alam
Posts tagged "Africa"
Two sea ballads

Two sea ballads

David Constantine’s eleventh poetry collection, Belongings, is concerned both with our possessions and with what possesses us. The poems ask: Where do you belong? And have in mind also the hostile: You don’t belong here. Go back where you belong. Behind these explorations another kind of belonging is challenged: our relationship with the planet to which...
Petina Gappah: Follow the body

Petina Gappah: Follow the body

When British explorer David Livingstone died in 1873 in a small village in present-day Zambia, he was accompanied by an entourage of around seventy African guides, porters and helpers, who came to the remarkable decision to carry his remains over 1,500 miles to the coast at Bagamoyo to be transported home for burial. In Out...
Nile madness

Nile madness

Petina Gappah reads a chapter from the first part of Out of Darkness, Shining Light, narrated by David Livingstone’s cook Halima. In the wake of the famous meeting with American journalist and explorer Henry Morton Stanley, Livingstone and his companions prepare to press on with the hunt for the source of the Nile – despite...
Spirits and stimulations

Spirits and stimulations

Rosanna Amaka’s The Book of Echoes is a searing debut novel about hope, redemption and the scars of history, narrated by the spirit of an enslaved African who journeys to 1980s Brixton and a sun-baked village in Nigeria, drawing together and transforming the lives of two youngsters who are struggling to hold onto their dreams....
Louisa Treger: Unconventional lives

Louisa Treger: Unconventional lives

Set in Italy, England and Rhodesia, Louisa Treger’s The Dragon Lady is a work of historical fiction based on the life story of a truly remarkable, yet little known woman named Virginia Courtauld. It is a sumptuous tale of murder and intrigue, which spans several decades following the First World War, but is largely focused...
Wayétu Moore: Liberia then and now

Wayétu Moore: Liberia then and now

Wayétu Moore’s She Would Be King is a vibrant historical novel about the tumultuous founding of Liberia, shot through with fantastical elements rooted in African fable. The heroine referenced in the title is wild, red-haired Gbessa [pronounced ‘Bessah’], who is cast from her Vai village because she was cursed at birth and deemed to be...
White dreams

White dreams

In 1685, Louis XIV would sign the Edict of Fontainebleau, revoking an earlier royal decree that had accorded to any French Protestants who had survived the St Bartholomew’s Day massacre the freedom to practise their faith without persecution. The apparent reason given by the Sun King and his court was that the Huguenots were strong-headed,...
A fetching destination

A fetching destination

It’s not every day I find myself eyeing up pornographic imagery with a Chinese man and a veiled-up African Muslim woman. The three of us were gathered around a counter and inspecting some aphrodisiac pills, the packaging of which displayed a photo of a man (with what I pray was a prosthetic penis) in session...
The crossing

The crossing

The girls on the top deck brush the hair from their faces. The hazy blue mountain ranges, rising on both sides of the Strait. The places you will never go, the life there. Ilham’s eyes wander over the mountains of the Rif, the country they are leaving behind. Why did they stay so long in...
The Talleyrand of East Africa

The Talleyrand of East Africa

“’Ullo, I am ze Breetish Consul.” My startled reaction revealed my prejudice. I didn’t cover it well. “You can’t be. You’re French!” “Eet is a long stohry. Shall we ’ave a drink?” We sat down. One by one the other members of the company came to join us, dressed in their evening casual best, and...