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Penguin SA

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Four New Titles for the Penguin African Writers Series

Penguin Books SA is proud to announce the addition of four wonderful new novels to the Penguin African Writers series: A Shattering of Silence by Farida Karodia, The Street by Biyi Bandele, The Blind Fisherman by Mia Couto and The Dark Child by Camara Laye.

Penguin is committed to ensuring that the voices of the African continent can by heard by a wider global audience.

A Shattering of SilenceFarida Karodia’s book A Shattering of Silence follows the character of Faith as her childhood is shattered when she witnesses a massacre in her rural Mozambique. She escapes, but loses everything – her parents, her home, her identity and her voice. A Shattering of Silence charts Faith’s quest to find a place for herself in war-torn Mozambique, where she is caught between the white colonials and the local resistance. Karodia’s fast-moving novel undermines traditional views of the role of women and the nature of resistance. It is a spirited response to the brutalising effects of war.
 
 
About the Author

Farida Karodia – novelist, short story writer, playwright and film-maker – was born and raised in a small town in South Africa. In 1968 – after stints teaching in South Africa and Zambia – the South Africa government withdrew her passport and she left the country of her birth for Canada, where she produced her first, acclaimed novel, Daughters of the Twilight. Two collections of short stories, Coming Home and Other Stories and Against an African Sky, and three novels – A Shattering of Silence, Other Secrets and Boundaries – followed. Returning to South Africa in 1994, Farida now divides her time between Johannesburg and Vancouver.

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The StreetThe Independent calls Biyi Bandele’s The Street, “Full of colour and charm . . . brimming with wit and optimism . . . wonderfully perceptive.” In this mesmerising novel Biyi Bandele recreates the unique atmosphere of a multiracial community in contemporary Britain. The Street is populated with a series of amazing characters – Midé the bookseller, who moonlights as a stand-up comedian; the Heckler, who, outside the tube station, wittily taunts public preachers; his cousin, Dada, who writes for a magazine for ‘kooks, nuts, schizoids and Meshuggenahs’; and Haifa Kampana, who stalks women he loves. Using these characters, Bandele creates the backdrop against which he positions the painter, Nehushta, and explores her restored relationship with her father, Ossie Jones, who has awakened from a fifteen-year coma. Bandele’s blend of humour, sentimentality and the fantastic is an invigorating literary exploration of diasporic reality in contemporary Britain.

About the Author

Biyi Bandele was born in 1967 in Nigeria. He left his parents’ house at age fourteen to earn his living doing odd jobs, while also going to school and writing his first novel. From 1987–90 he studied Drama at the University of Ile-Ife, where his play Rain won him a scholarship to stay in London. His first novel, The Man Who Came in from the Back of Beyond, was published in 1991. He published his second novel, The Sympathetic Undertaker and Other Dreams, the same year. His plays have been staged at the Royal Court Theatre and have been performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company.

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The Blind FishermanThe Blind Fisherman is a compilation of Mia Couto’s early short stories – as first presented to the English-speaking world in his two collections Voices Made Night (1990) and Every Man is a Race (1994). It was in these collections that Mia Couto first announced himself as a writer of international importance, constructing stories that blended the unique history of Mozambique with a magic realism that was both inspired by and transcended the legacy of Portuguese colonialism and the subsequent civil war.
 
 
 
About the Author

Mia Couto was born António Emílio Leite Couto in 1955 in Mozambique. At the young age of fourteen some of his poetry was published in a local newspaper, Notícias da Beira. Considered one of Mozambique’s most important writers, he was the first African writer to win the prestigious Latin Union literary prize. His writing is influenced by magical realism, a style characteristic of Latin American literature, and he is known for creating proverbs, also known as “improverbs”. Currently, he works for the Limpopo Transfrontier Park as a biologist, while he continues to pursue his writing projects.

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The Dark ChildThe Dark Child is a distinct and graceful memoir of Camara Laye’s youth in the village of Kouroussa, French Guinea, a place steeped in mystery. Laye marvels over his mother’s supernatural powers, his father’s distinction as the village goldsmith, and his own passage into manhood, which is marked by animistic beliefs and bloody rituals of primeval origin. Eventually, he must choose between this unique place and the academic success that lures him to distant cities. More than the autobiography of one boy, this is the universal story of sacred traditions struggling against the encroachment of a modern world. A passionate and deeply affecting record, The Dark Child is a classic of African literature.

About the Author

Camara Laye was born in French Guinea in 1928. As well as being a novelsit, he was a prolific essayist. In 1953, while at college, he published his first novel L’Enfant noir, loosely based on his own childhood, followed by Le Regard du roi. These two novels stand amongst the earliest major works in African Francophone literature. Laye died in 1980 of a kidney infection in Senegal.

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