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Re: Do Contemporary African Writers Actually Sell Books? by Natasha2(f): 2:14pm On Jan 04, 2012
safarigirl:

My problem is that the books they write are too mature.

The deal is, I'm 17, I'm ΩØƚ about to pick up Chimamanda's Purple Hibiscus ǡŋ₫ go through it, cos I'm bound to find it hopelessly boring, I would rather read Ǟ Sidney Sheldon novel since I can't find Ǟ good enough romance writer in Nigeria. Everyone's too busy tryna win Ǟ big award. Sheldon didn't win Ǟ noble prize but he's one ☺₣ the most famous authors in history.

That's my humble opinion, please don't crush me.
I'll crush you cos I'm your mate angry angry angry Purple Hibiscus is definitely not boring, it moved me to tears, my lil sis of 8 years would rather pick up a secondary school novel than read children classics. If you talked about Wole Soyinka well that guy writes from the fourth realm but Chimamanda nope. You really got a big a$$ problem if you find Chimamanda's purple hibiscus boring come on, you haven't even read the book, jeez undecided

@Ajenlekoko you know what just because you don't find these writers books moving doesn't mean they are not on point, it doesn't matter you think, just because you find their work boring doesn't make it boring. ''Just because you feel the earth is square shaped doesn't changed it from being spherical'' cheesy African writers are getting to the top of their game and thier books sell like hot cakes, anyways a prophet is not honoured in his home.
Re: Do Contemporary African Writers Actually Sell Books? by Ndipe(m): 2:46am On Jan 05, 2012
What of this novel, So Long a Letter by Mariama Ba? I would like to know how many copies it has sold.
Re: Do Contemporary African Writers Actually Sell Books? by mbulela: 3:30pm On Jan 05, 2012
There are some very good contemporary African writers. It depends on your taste.
As good as Ben Okri is, i find his books tortuous. Same with 100 years of solitude. for all the hype, i have struggled to go past page 100 and i have attempted it twice.
South African writers are doing very well compared to their Nigerian counterparts. there are several reasons but i find the quality of contemporary Nigerian writers lacking. For all the accolades he has worn, i have read two books of Helon Habilla and have been hugely disappointed. I read one of Seffi Atta and vowed never to repeat such a venture again. Same with Segun Afolabi. Chimamanda is good but not as good as the hype in my view.
I have several books by South African and Kenyan writers and i have been hugely impressed by the quality of the works and remain a huge fan of theirs.
Re: Do Contemporary African Writers Actually Sell Books? by PhysicsQED(m): 11:19pm On Jan 05, 2012
@ SEFAGO. Thanks for the recommendation on Dream of the Red Chamber. I'll definitely get that unabridged and read it along with The Plum in the Golden Vase sometime later. Maybe I'll get Water Margin as well.

I had earlier skimmed through parts of full translations of Journey to the West and Romance of the Three Kingdoms at my university's library and I decided that there were more interesting books I could be reading instead in my extra time, so I didn't consider those. I remember when I was 12 or 13, buying the The Odyssey and the Iliad, and expecting to read an interesting adventure. They were completely uninteresting to me. I had to sell the books away years later because they still didn't appeal to me after I had matured somewhat. In high school I had to read parts of The Aeneid for an AP English class. It was just as boring.  I also tried reading part of the Shahnameh online before bothering to check it out at a library or buy it. Same boring result.  I guess I don't have the literary "refinement" to appreciate those famous ancient epics.

About the lack of depth in contemporary Nigerian writing, I wouldn't know, since I can't really keep up with all the literature I would like to sample, but I got the impression that this wasn't an issue since Nigerian writers were winning awards. I guess they're winning awards for storytelling, but not depth of thought or innovation.

By the way, have you read anything by Festus Iyayi? I read many good things about his work online, but haven't actually read any of it.
Re: Do Contemporary African Writers Actually Sell Books? by PhysicsQED(m): 11:35pm On Jan 05, 2012
mbulela:

i find his books tortuous. Same with 100 years of solitude. for all the hype, i have struggled to go past page 100 and i have attempted it twice. 

Don't waste your time with Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

It's just worthless hype.

I read Chronicle of a Death Foretold and it was all work with no reward. Even the supposedly interesting ambiguities of the story were just boring and uninteresting to me. I also tried to read Love in the Time of Cholera and I couldn't get through it.

Read Roberto Bolaño instead. Granted, the two authors have very different styles, but The Savage Detectives is far better than anything Marquez could have written and I can personally vouch that it is one of the most interesting fictional works I have read. Bolaño makes a lot of obscure references in that book (some of which I still haven't been able to figure out) but you don't even have to know one tenth of the people he namedrops to appreciate the book because he's just so gifted and the story is just so engaging and uniquely written.

But really, don't waste any time on Marquez. He may have won the Nobel, but there are many better writers that people should spend their time on.
Re: Do Contemporary African Writers Actually Sell Books? by Ndipe(m): 12:23am On Jan 06, 2012
From the conversations on this thread, I propose that SFEGAGO and Physics should write a book. These two seem like well read individuals. How about that?
Re: Do Contemporary African Writers Actually Sell Books? by mbulela: 8:42am On Jan 06, 2012
PhysicsQED:

Don't waste your time with Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

It's just worthless hype.

I read Chronicle of a Death Foretold and it was all work with no reward. Even the supposedly interesting ambiguities of the story were just boring and uninteresting to me. I also tried to read Love in the Time of Cholera and I couldn't get through it.

Read Roberto Bolaño instead. Granted, the two authors have very different styles, but The Savage Detectives is far better than anything Marquez could have written and I can personally vouch that it is one of the most interesting fictional works I have read. Bolaño makes a lot of obscure references in that book (some of which I still haven't been able to figure out) but you don't even have to know one tenth of the people he namedrops to appreciate the book because he's just so gifted and the story is just so engaging and uniquely written.

But really, don't waste any time on Marquez. He may have won the Nobel, but there are many better writers that people should spend their time on.
Thanks for your recommendation.
I am going to seek THE SAVAGE DETECTIVES this new year.

Talking of African literature, Whale Caller by Zakes Mda seems the kind of thing you would enjoy. Although, Ways of Dying by same author is more of my kind of thing.
Re: Do Contemporary African Writers Actually Sell Books? by AjanleKoko: 9:13am On Jan 06, 2012
mbulela:

There are some very good contemporary African writers. It depends on your taste.
As good as Ben Okri is, i find his books tortuous. Same with 100 years of solitude. for all the hype, i have struggled to go past page 100 and i have attempted it twice.
South African writers are doing very well compared to their Nigerian counterparts. there are several reasons but i find the quality of contemporary Nigerian writers lacking. For all the accolades he has worn, i have read two books of Helon Habilla and have been hugely disappointed. I read one of Seffi Atta and vowed never to repeat such a venture again. Same with Segun Afolabi. Chimamanda is good but not as good as the hype in my view.
I have several books by South African and Kenyan writers and i have been hugely impressed by the quality of the works and remain a huge fan of theirs. 

Aha.
Which ones would you recommend?
You already mentioned all the top-selling ones. Maybe if we add Toni Kan grin to the list of contemporary authors.

As per South African literature . . . let's not even go there, lest our budding authors here cut off somebody's head grin. South African literature, just like their music, is richer and more vast by leaps and bounds, than anything Nigeria has produced.
Re: Do Contemporary African Writers Actually Sell Books? by PhysicsQED(m): 2:23pm On Jan 06, 2012
Ndipe:

From the conversations on this thread, I propose that SFEGAGO and Physics should write a book. These two seem like well read individuals. How about that?

I don't know about SEFAGO, but apart from the fact that I have a lot of other interests, I'm really not currently interested in any serious writing project. I don't even feel like I've experienced that much of life yet, anyways.

mbulela:

Thanks for your recommendation.
I am going to seek THE SAVAGE DETECTIVES this new year.

No problem.

I have some other Bolaño  books I plan to read (Distant Star and Last Evenings on Earth). His final publication (2666) before he died is said to be as great or possibly better than The Savage Detectives but I haven't read it yet and I plan to save that one for last, after l I've read his other novels and short stories.


Talking of African literature, Whale Caller by Zakes Mda seems the kind of thing you would enjoy. Although, Ways of Dying by same author is more of my kind of thing.

Thanks for the recommendation. I'll look for his books next time I'm at a library or bookstore.
Re: Do Contemporary African Writers Actually Sell Books? by mbulela: 9:21pm On Jan 06, 2012
AjanleKoko:

South African literature, just like their music, is richer and more vast by leaps and bounds, than anything Nigeria has produced.
Don't even go near there.
I shudder to imagine what my life will be like without South African music. My immersion into South African music and by extension culture is one of the most fulfilling adventures of my brief life. richly rewarding.

on an unrelated note, the way you dey bone my greetings no good o,Oga.
even new year greetings, you no gree acknowledge.
na so my sin bad reach?
Re: Do Contemporary African Writers Actually Sell Books? by AjanleKoko: 9:23pm On Jan 06, 2012
mbulela:

Don't even go near there.
I shudder to imagine what my life will be like without South African music. My immersion into South African music and by extension culture is one of the most fulfilling adventures of my brief life. richly rewarding.

on an unrelated note, the way you dey bone my greetings no good o,Oga.
even new year greetings, you no gree acknowledge.
na so my sin bad reach?

No vex bro. I've not been in town. Should be back next week to join you guys on the street wink
Re: Do Contemporary African Writers Actually Sell Books? by SEFAGO(m): 9:46pm On Jan 06, 2012
Ironically,

Americans and Europeans consider Nigerians probably the greatest contributors to African literature, at least all my conversations with them suggest that this is the case. I have even met people from Hong kong who have read Chinua achebe and Chiamanda adichie.

Ndipe:

From the conversations on this thread, I propose that SFEGAGO and Physics should write a book. These two seem like well read individuals. How about that?

I doubt I have read widely and I stopped like 5years ago because of work. I also limit myself to certain type of literature West African/East Asian/Russian/Englsh and a little bit of French. And writing a book is harder than reading one- the latter ia quite passive venture that requires little thought while the former is quite difficult. Its really not easy to even write a ten paged book that is coherent so I dont really judge authors per se. I am especially impressed at Nigerians who can write well of any kind since the Nigerian educational system does not encourage any sort of literary development

However for someone as egoistic as I am thanks for the comment.
Re: Do Contemporary African Writers Actually Sell Books? by AjanleKoko: 10:01pm On Jan 06, 2012
SEFAGO:

Ironically,

Americans and Europeans consider Nigerians probably the greatest contributors to African literature, at least all my conversations with them suggest that this is the case. I have even met people from Hong kong who have read Chinua achebe and Chiamanda adichie.

I'm not sure black South African authors are that well-known outside SA.
Re: Do Contemporary African Writers Actually Sell Books? by SEFAGO(m): 10:54pm On Jan 06, 2012
AjanleKoko:

I'm not sure black South African authors are that well-known outside SA.

Maybe there is a reason why? Not so good literature grin

Anyways, whether literary critics are wrong or not- Nigeria seems to be the home of at least West African literature and possibly African literature maybe we dont appreciate our writers well enough because what they right about if familiar to us.

I was reading Beast of no nation by Uzodinma Iweala. Book read like crap because he was just using his life experience growing up in Nigerian and reflecting it on the main character (Agu I think it is). It would make sense since most authors use their life experience to construct stories. But boring to me because I grew up and went to school in Nigeria and knew the whole drill. But would probably sound exotic and interesting to a westerner.

Infact I think this is one of the main reasons why I dont read most nigerian books, they are not exotic enough adn hit too close to home to be too interesting.
Re: Do Contemporary African Writers Actually Sell Books? by Ndipe(m): 11:19pm On Jan 06, 2012
SEFAGO:

Maybe there is a reason why? Not so good literature  grin

Anyways, whether literary critics are wrong or not- Nigeria seems to be the home of at least West African literature and possibly African literature maybe we dont appreciate our writers well enough because what they right about if familiar to us.

I was reading Beast of no nation by Uzodinma Iweala. Book read like crap because he was just using his life experience growing up in Nigerian and reflecting it on the main character (Agu I think it is). It would make sense since most authors use their life experience to construct stories. But boring to me because I grew up and went to school in Nigeria and knew the whole drill. But would probably sound exotic and interesting to a westerner.

Infact I think this is one of the main reasons why I dont read most nigerian books, they are not exotic enough adn hit too close to home to be too interesting.




Uzodinma Iweala grew up in the USA.
Re: Do Contemporary African Writers Actually Sell Books? by SEFAGO(m): 11:37pm On Jan 06, 2012
Ndipe:



Uzodinma Iweala grew up in the USA.

Yeah my bad, I was confused myself when I read the book since I always thought he grew up in the US but his book sounded like someone who grew up in Nigeria if you read it you will prolly understand. I think he must have spent sometime in Nigeria or has a friend who lived in Nigeria for extensive periods of time or must know a lot about growing up in Nigeria. His book was very reflective of that
Re: Do Contemporary African Writers Actually Sell Books? by MyneWhite1(f): 2:19am On Jan 07, 2012
SEFAGO:

Yeah my bad, I was confused myself when I read the book since I always thought he grew up in the US but his book sounded like someone who grew up in Nigeria if you read it you will prolly understand. I think he must have spent sometime in Nigeria or has a friend who lived in Nigeria for extensive periods of time or must know a lot about growing up in Nigeria. His book was very reflective of that

Are you sure you've read the book? Iweala not only grew up in the USA, I doubt he was ever a child soldier. We hardly have those in Nigeria, don't you think?

@OP Some of the award winners sell good numbers. However, literary fiction rarely sell well when there's no award or big name recommendation attached, not even American and European titles. Bestsellers are usually genre novels which have mass appeal and are targeted at the mass market audience. My romance novel, A Heart to Mend was an Amazon UK Kindle bestseller for a couple of months last summer and continues to sell.

I agree with the poster who said Nigerians may not really appreciate books by other Nigerians since most readers seek for the unknown, or at least something different, in their book choices. But someone who can put away that bias should, in addition to other names already mentioned, look for Lola Shoneyin (Literary), Nnedi Okoroafor(Speculative), Chika Unigwe (Literary), and Chimeka Garriks (Thriller). I believe all their books are on Amazon and have also been published in Nigeria.

Finally, there is one salient point I won't forget to make. When we talk about contemporary writers these days, almost all are around 40 years. The other batch of well known Nigerian writers, Achebe, Soyinka, Elechi Amadi, Ike, and Co, are above 70 years. Where are the writers in between? I believe people between 40 and 70 years should write books and I'll expect there'll be more and better "insight on human nature" from them since they'll have more experience to draw from.
Re: Do Contemporary African Writers Actually Sell Books? by Jenifa1: 2:34am On Jan 07, 2012
I think one main problem is with publishers or publishing houses. are there any good ones in Nigeria? they control the business side of it afterall
because I'm sure we have d literary talents. who probably have the skill to write,  but lack the skill (or even interest) to sell and do business.

take for example the very sad story of how "Confederacy of Dunces" (USA) got published. or how Samuel Johnson's  "History of the Yorubas" got published.
and many other manuscripts that were originally turned away by publishers etc. sometimes only becoming known to the public long after the authors have died.

in essence, writing and selling are two different things.
writers don't sell books. publishers do.
Re: Do Contemporary African Writers Actually Sell Books? by SEFAGO(m): 3:33am On Jan 07, 2012
Are you sure you've read the book? Iweala not only grew up in the USA, I doubt he was ever a child soldier. We hardly have those in Nigeria, don't you think?

From what I gathered-The child's previous life before he became a child soldier was quite reflective of life in Nigeria. I read the book, though I speed read it but I think its safe to infer that he has some familiarity with what it was like to attend a elementary/primary school in Nigeria that you can only capture if you have the experience. Maybe he got the information from somewhere else, like his uncles or family members telling him stories about their youth back home. Point being, his tale is a very familiar one. Although, its a bit unique in portraying the travails of a child soldier, the core of the story is the humanity of the child himself which comes out through his pre-war experience which is an essential catalogue of going to primary school in Nigeria.

Still book was decent, very gory though and tilting towards the repulsive at times.
Re: Do Contemporary African Writers Actually Sell Books? by mbulela: 10:02am On Jan 07, 2012
SEFAGO:

Ironically,

Americans and Europeans consider Nigerians probably the greatest contributors to African literature, at least all my conversations with them suggest that this is the case. I have even met people from Hong kong who have read Chinua achebe and Chiamanda adichie.


Ask them about Nigerian writers who have published in the last 10 years apart from Ms. Adichie.
I mentioned the popular ones in my post above and they are simply put, not worth a second read.

AjanleKoko:

I'm not sure black South African authors are that well-known outside SA.
A few are. the likes of Zakes Mda who is a prof at Connecticut and Fred Khumalo who has done a couple of fellowships in North America besides his job as a newspaper editor in Jo'burg.
Re: Do Contemporary African Writers Actually Sell Books? by mbulela: 10:17am On Jan 07, 2012
Myne White:



I agree with the poster who said Nigerians may not really appreciate books by other Nigerians since most readers seek for the unknown, or at least something different, in their book choices. But someone who can put away that bias should, in addition to other names already mentioned, look for Lola Shoneyin (Literary), Nnedi Okoroafor(Speculative), Chika Unigwe (Literary), and Chimeka Garriks (Thriller). I believe all their books are on Amazon and have also been published in Nigeria.


you have a partial point there.
However, i still think that you can tell a known story in a way that will rekindle memories and bring a smile even to readers who are familiar with the landscape. that is what these Nigerian writers fail to do well.
I wish writers like Mai Nasara and Eugenia Abu would write fiction beyond children stories. they have the imagination and writing skill to attract a reader like me.
I have given up on the likes of Toni Kan, Habilla and Sefi Atta.
let me google the writes you mentioned above.
Re: Do Contemporary African Writers Actually Sell Books? by mbulela: 10:30am On Jan 07, 2012
@Myne White, thanks to you i am going to look for a copy of that Tomorrow Died Yesterday by Chimeka Garricks.
I hope i can find a copy at Koko Kalango's Rainbow bookshop. that is the only decent bookshop in the whole of PH.
Re: Do Contemporary African Writers Actually Sell Books? by MyneWhite1(f): 10:02pm On Jan 09, 2012
mbulela:

@Myne White, thanks to you i am going to look for a copy of that Tomorrow Died Yesterday by Chimeka Garricks.
I hope i can find a copy at Koko Kalango's Rainbow bookshop. that is the only decent bookshop in the whole of PH.

I hope you enjoy it, smiley
Re: Do Contemporary African Writers Actually Sell Books? by SEFAGO(m): 10:16pm On Jan 09, 2012
Hey,

AJanlekoko

http://africasacountry.com/2011/12/22/what-you-should-be-reading/

This si an interesting blog if you are looking ofr something to read that is not limited to Nigeria/Nigerians and spans the west African continent.
Re: Do Contemporary African Writers Actually Sell Books? by afroxyz: 8:25am On Jan 17, 2012
Please does it mean that non-fiction does not sell in Nigeria or Africa? All the books mentioned are all fiction, thriller etc, itz scary for non-fiction writers like us
Re: Do Contemporary African Writers Actually Sell Books? by AjanleKoko: 8:46am On Jan 17, 2012
SEFAGO:

Hey,

AJanlekoko

http://africasacountry.com/2011/12/22/what-you-should-be-reading/

This si an interesting blog if you are looking ofr something to read that is not limited to Nigeria/Nigerians and spans the west African continent.



Most of the books there i have never heard about, or their authors. Teju Cole, I have read his Open City. The guy seems to have gimped some kind of third-person, abstracted narrative style from somewhere. He's not too bad.

I didn't know Ngozi Iweala's son was a writer. Apparently he's 'critically acclaimed'. I read a synopsis of his Beasts Of No Nation, and knew immediately that I didn't wanna read the book. Yet another civil war novel embarassed

afroxyz:

Please does it mean that non-fiction does not sell in Nigeria or Africa? All the books mentioned are all fiction, thriller etc, itz scary for non-fiction writers like us

What kind of nonfiction do you write? How To Get Rich, or something along those lines?
Re: Do Contemporary African Writers Actually Sell Books? by mbulela: 10:53am On Jan 18, 2012
AjanleKoko:

Most of the books there i have never heard about, or their authors. Teju Cole, I have read his Open City. The guy seems to have gimped some kind of third-person, abstracted narrative style from somewhere. He's not too bad.

I didn't know Ngozi Iweala's son was a writer. Apparently he's 'critically acclaimed'. I read a synopsis of his Beasts Of No Nation, and knew immediately that I didn't wanna read the book. Yet another civil war novel embarassed

What kind of nonfiction do you write? How To Get Rich, or something along those lines?


A kind soul(God bless her) is actually getting the Binyavanga Wainaina book and the Porcupine books for me next month. So i am thrilled to find they were in that list.
I would not touch Helon Habila again with a long pole and i flipped the Teju Cole guy's book once and was not too impressed.


Anyone knows where i can find Tomorrow Died Yesterday by Chimeka Garricks in Lagos?
Re: Do Contemporary African Writers Actually Sell Books? by afroxyz: 2:38pm On Jan 18, 2012
@ ajanlenkoko: nah. I write on sociology, political economics et al. But with an emphasis on Africa. I like to describe myself as a pan-African writer. You can click on my signature like to view my write ups in my blog.
Re: Do Contemporary African Writers Actually Sell Books? by einsteine(m): 1:23pm On Jan 22, 2012
In this era, books compete with movies, games and social media. Gone are the days that a writer could spend ten pages exploring literary techniques and being obsessed with his own voice. For a novel to appeal to people now, it has to tell a STORY. Most Nigerian writers fail in this respect. They want to write about civil wars and poverty and bad government. They should write essays, instead. A novelist writes a story and entertains.
Re: Do Contemporary African Writers Actually Sell Books? by Ndipe(m): 12:29am On Jan 23, 2012
einstein_e:

In this era, books compete with movies, games and social media. Gone are the days that a writer could spend ten pages exploring literary techniques and being obsessed with his own voice. For a novel to appeal to people now, it has to tell a STORY. Most Nigerian writers fail in this respect. They want to write about civil wars and poverty and bad government. They should write essays, instead. A novelist writes a story and entertains.

True, I got that from a writer too. Novel is storytelling not an essay.
Re: Do Contemporary African Writers Actually Sell Books? by tspbook: 12:20pm On Jan 24, 2012
Hello All,

Please check out the small print by abimbola dare
smiley
http://www.nairaland.com/nigeria/topic-853067.0.html

Re: Do Contemporary African Writers Actually Sell Books? by mbulela: 3:38pm On Jan 25, 2012
Myne White:

I hope you enjoy it, smiley
got it today.

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