Today in #TheLagosReview

South African writer Jarred Thompson wins 2020 Afritondo Short Story Prize.

Afritondo announced the winner of the 2020 Afritondo Short Story Prize on March 27.

South African writer Jarred Thompson has been named this year’s winner for his story Good Help Is Hard to Find.

Thompson beat off stiff competition from the four other shortlisted authors: Philani Nyoni (Zimbabwe), Kojo Obeng-Andoh (Ghana), Davina Kuwuma (Uganda), and Hannah Onoguwe (Nigeria).

The prize, which is open to African and black minority writers, received 421 entries from across 19 countries. The theme of the competition was love and an anthology of the longlisted stories is expected by summer of 2020.

Thompson will take home the winning prize of $1,000 (R18,190).

He was chosen by a panel of three judges: South African writer and author of Milk Fever, Megan Ross, Nigerian editor Kelechi Njoku and Kenyan writer Gloria Mwaniga.

Commenting on the winning story, the panel said: “Good Help is Hard to Find is a wry, subversive take on suburbia and its secrecies, made all the more powerful by a tight narrative, strong voice and sensitive characterisation.

“What the judges loved about the story was its unhurried style and the manner in which the author made a story so lush an event feel lean. The author skilfully amplified the comfort of routine, trust and laughter, offering a delightfully queer treatment of everyday life, peppered with humour and warmth. The close observations of the little details of domestic life, and the relationships herein, were a joy to read.”

Afritondo is a UK-based media and publishing platform that aims to improve diversity in publishing by offering African and black writers an accessible platform for their stories. Co-editor Dr Allwell Uwazuruike said: “Our aim for the competition was to connect with African and black minority writers from across the globe to tell their own authentic stories.

“We chose love as a theme because we wanted something that was both ordinary and special. We wanted a theme that would resonate with most people and we wanted to gauge the various perspectives of love from across African and black communities. We are happy at the positive response and can’t wait to share the anthology with our readers.”

Article source: Afritondo

Walter Scott Historical Fiction Prize shortlist announced

The Walter Scott Prize is a prestigious annual award which is given to the best historical fiction written in the English language and is “published in the previous year in the UK, Ireland or the Commonwealth”. Considering sixty years of Walter Scotte’s popular work ‘Waverley’, the storyline of the books nominated for this prize “must have taken place at least 60 years ago”. A shortlist of six books for this year’s prize was revealed by the judges, chaired by Katie Grant, on March 31. “In times of crisis, historical fiction is both reassurance (nothing is completely new) – and escape, so it’s with almost medicinal pleasure that we unveil the eleventh Walter Scott Prize shortlist which offers, we hope, a measure of both… Six books from writers as varied as they are talented. Six books to absorb. Six books to fortify. Enjoy them all!,” they said in a statement.

So, here’s a look at some of the finest historical fictions to read this year, according to experts.

The Parisian by Isabella Hammad

Set in the First World War, Isabella Hammand’s debut book ‘The Parisian’ is about Europe, France and Levant’s foreign policies and how it affected people. The story follows a young Palestinian Midhat Kamal who sets on a journey of self-discovery as the war shatters families, friendships and kills lovers.

To Calais, In Ordinary Time by James Meek

Set in the 14th century, James Meek’s ‘To Calais, In Ordinary Time’ is praised by the judges as a book having “messages of great potency”. Set in the backdrop of the Black Death, the plague in Northern Europe, the story follows the lives of three people– a woman who runs away from an arranged marriage, a Scots proctor, and a young ploughman who is in search of freedom– and how they come together to Calais. The novel explores the themes of love, loss, gender, class and faith.

Shadowplay by Joseph O’Connor

Joseph O’Connor’s Victorian gothic book ‘Shadowplay’ is set in 1878 London. The story explores the life of Bram Stoker, who created the iconic Dracula. Bram moves from Dublin to London where he starts working as a manager at the Lyceum Theatre. As he tries to adjust in a new city and a new marriage, he finds inspiration for the eerie tale of Dracula. But Henry Irving, Chief at Lyceum Theatre, is determined that nothing should get in the way of Briam’s work at the theatre. Meanwhile, both men are drawn to Ellen Terry, a beautiful and bold actress of her time.

The Narrow Land by Christine Dwyer Hickey

Christine Dwyer Hickey’s novel ‘The Narrow Land’ focusses on 1950’s art and explores the marriage of artists Josephine and Edward Hopper. Ten-year-old Michael is spending time with Richie and his glamorous yet troubled mother. That’s when Michael meets neighbour Josephine and Edward, and forges an unlikely friendship with the latter.

The Redeemed by Tim Pears

Tim Pear’s ‘The Redeemed’ is the last book in the West Country trilogy. ”The Redeemed’ is a timeless, stirring and exquisitely wrought story of love, loss and destiny fulfilled, and a bittersweet elegy to a lost world,’ reads the book’s blurb.

A Sin of Omission by Marguerite Poland

Set in South Africa, Marguerite Poland’s ‘A Sin of Omission’ is Stephen Mzamane’s story. The book follows the life of Stephen Mzamane, a young South African, who is trained to work at Christian missionaries. His loyalty is tested and questioned when he has to choose between supporting his own people, for whom his brother died, or supporting the colonial cause. As he embarks on a journey to his mother’s home in the village to inform her about his elder brother’s death, he tries to resolve his conflicting loyalties.

South African film wins Best Animation at International Emmy Awards.

South African animation film Zog has won the International Emmy for Best Kids Animation.

The winners were announced on Tuesday 31 March on the Academy website after MipTV – an annual TV market held in Cannes – was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.


iemmyWIN for Kids: Animation goes to “Zog” produced by @MagicLightPics! #UnitedKingdom #iemmyKIDS

— International Emmy Awards (@iemmys) March 31, 2020
The 27-minute short film which centres on Zog, a clumsy dragon, was animated in Cape Town by Triggerfish and produced by Magic Light Pictures.

“This is some very welcome good news at a challenging time,” says Triggerfish CEO Stuart Forrest. “The crew poured heart and soul into bringing to life a character that we all came to love, and to get one of the top TV prizes in the world is wonderful recognition for an incredible team.”

The short film is based on Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s much-loved 2010 picture book, which sold over 1.5 million copies and won the Galaxy National Children’s Book of the Year Award in the UK.

Zog is the keenest but clumsiest pupil in his class at Dragon School, where he longs to win a gold star as he learns how to fly, roar and breathe fire. He keeps meeting a kind young girl who patches up his bumps and bruises, but can she help him with his trickiest school assignment yet: capturing a princess?


Coronavirus: Obasanjo, George Weah, Other African Leaders Feature In New Song On African Solidarity.

Top African leaders including former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, incumbent Liberian President George Weah, Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga have been featured in a new song titled ‘Alone but Altogether.’

The song, which starred Ugandan music star Bobi Wine and South African legend Robin Auld, encourages Africans to unite as the continent struggles to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

It also starred Amuta Stone, Schalk Joubert, Lumanyano Unity Mzi, and Greg Mills.

“Different times are here; searching for the answer; don’t be a victim; be a solution; we have to persevere; all alone altogether.

“In our homes, for each other; I know we’ll find a way; in Africa,” they sang.

Ex-African leaders in the video include Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Joyce Banda, Pierre Buyoga, Kgalema Motlanthe, and FW de Klerk.

Others include Ernest Bai Koroma, Hailemariam Desalegn, Moeketesi Majoro, Salous Chilima among others.

The song was produced by SABI Strategy Group.

Jonathan Ball Publishers acquires Icon Books.

Jonathan Ball Publishers has bought indie Icon Books, in a move that will see representatives from both companies form the management team.

Jonathan Ball Publishers has bought indie Icon Books, in a move that will see representatives from both companies form the management team.

JBP, a subsidiary of South African media conglomerate Media 24, purchased the company for an undisclosed sum, with plans to phase in an expansion process in the future, and retain all staff.

JBP will assume management on 1st April, with c.e.o. Eugene Ashton becoming chairman of Icon Books. Icon managing director Philip Cotterell will be the c.e.o. under the new ownership arrangements.

Ashton said: “JBP has for many years wanted to expand our publishing and grow into markets beyond southern Africa. Icon Books is a company that we have long admired – they publish superb books with a tremendous independent character and are an ideal fit.

“The business is well managed and has a proud track record. I look forward to working with the team and publishing many more books in the future.”

Founded in 1976, JBP specialises in South African history, politics and current affairs, and also publishes and distributes fiction.

Cotterell commented: “Having worked with JBP as Icon’s South African agent for a number of years, we know each other well and we are delighted that Icon/JBP has the firm foundation to substantially build on the achievements of recent years.”

Icon Books was founded in 1991 by Peter Pugh, who died last year, aged 76. The non-fiction publisher is a member of the Independent Alliance, and features titles across popular science, history, psychology and current affairs.

Last year’s bestseller, 100 Years of Leeds United 1919-2019 by Daniel Chapman sold 12,091 copies.

The company sold a total of 146,000 books for just under £1.3m in 2019, representing a 10% drop in volume and a 2.6% decline in value year on year.

Ava DuVernay’s Array Launches Stay-At-Home #ArrayMatinee Film Series.

As a option to preserve audiences enlightened and entertained throughout social distancing and quarantine, Ava DuVernay’s Array will launch #ArrayMatinee on April 1. The brand new weekly digital movie collection will embrace impartial movies from Array Releasing’s roster of worldwide options.

Each subsequent Wednesday after April 1, Array will showcase 5 movies from their slate. Viewers and cinephiles will have the ability to “watch and tweet” to have interaction and join with one another — whereas utilizing the #ArrayMatinee hashtag in fact.

Beneath you’ll be able to learn extra in regards to the movies that will likely be featured within the #ArrayMatinee movie collection.

AYANDA (South Africa) – April 1, 1PM PST (Vimeo)

After tragedy strikes, a younger girl begins a journey of self-discovery as she struggles to save lots of her father’s automobile restore store alongside together with her reminiscence of him. Ayanda is a coming-of-age story from author/director Sara Blecher that takes us right into a vibrant Johannesburg neighborhood alive with love and humor, threat and reward, tragedy and triumph. This movie held its world premiere screening on the 2015 Los Angeles Movie Pageant successful the Particular Jury Prize within the World Fiction Competitors.

OUT OF MY HAND (Liberia) – April 15, 1PM PST (Vimeo)

Directed by Takeshi Fukunaga, Out of My Hand takes viewers inside the common-or-garden lifetime of Liberian rubber plantation employee Cisco. Extreme working circumstances, failed unionization and company corruption finally drive him away from his household and his nation to the overseas streets of New York Metropolis the place his previous forces him to confront his sense of isolation and belonging. This movie debuted within the Panorama Part of the 2015 Berlin Worldwide Movie Pageant.

THE HOUSE ON COCO ROAD (Grenada) – April 22, 1PM PST (Netflix)

The Home on Coco Street is an intimate documentary exploration of heritage and historical past towards the backdrop of a brewing Afro-centric revolution because the U.S. authorities prepares to invade the island nation of Grenada. First-hand accounts from activists Angela Davis, Fania Davis and Fannie Haughton weave collectively director Damani Baker’s household portrait of utopian desires, resistance and civil unrest with a movie rating composed by music luminary Meshell Ndegeocello. The movie held its world premiere on the 2016 Los Angeles Movie Pageant.

VAYA (South Africa) – Might 6, 1PM PST (Netflix)

In filmmaker Akin Omotoso’s Vaya, the title is a phrase spoken in South African townships which means “to go.” Vaya takes viewers alongside on a journey of three younger South Africans who journey away from their rural houses on a prepare sure for Johannesburg. Stirring and suspenseful, the intertwining tales of those naive strangers as they wrestle to outlive culminates in an explosive second not quickly forgotten. Based mostly on actual accounts, Vaya made its World Premiere on the 2016 Toronto Worldwide Movie Pageant and garnered Mr. Omotoso the Africa Film Academy Award for Greatest Director.

THE BURIAL OF KOJO (Ghana) – Might 13, 1PM PST (Netflix)

Via a magical realist lens, The Burial of Kojo follows the story of Esi, as she recounts her childhood and the tumultuous relationship between her father, Kojo and her uncle, Kwabena. Directed by TED fellow, music composer and musician Samuel “Blitz” Bazawule, the movie chronicles the story of two brothers via the gifted eyes of a younger lady who transports the viewers to the attractive lands of Ghana and different worlds that exist between life and dying.

Born from a newspaper article and a Kickstarter marketing campaign, Bazawule skillfully captures the fantastic thing about a household, even when the circumstances aren’t stunning. The Burial of Kojo is an important human story of braveness and survival. The Burial of Kojo is a 2019 Pan African Movie Pageant (PAFF) Official Choice and 2018 Urbanworld Movie Pageant Greatest Narrative Function Winner.

Damian Barr: ‘Give voice to those with unwritten stories’

The author of Maggie and Me on researching his first novel set in South Africa, being edited by Diana Athill, and the book he can’t bear to finish reading

Damian Barr is a writer and broadcaster, and the founder of London’s Literary Salon, which features writers reading from their latest works at the Savoy hotel. His books include Maggie and Me, a darkly witty memoir of growing up gay in Margaret Thatcher’s Britain. His debut novel, You Will Be Safe Here, is set both in contemporary South Africa and at the time of the Boer war, and is published this week in paperback by Bloomsbury.

What made you want to write about South Africa?
My way into it was a news story about a 15-year-old called Raymond Buys, who in 2011 was sent by his mother to a camp near Johannesburg, which promised to make men out of boys. The camp was run by former soldiers who starved, beat, electrocuted and tortured Raymond to death. When I saw his photo in the newspaper, he looked just like a boy I had gone to primary school with, who came from South Africa to Scotland, but returned a year later and I lost touch with him. So, when I saw the photo, I felt I knew Raymond. I felt an emotional connection with this lost boy. I wanted to know who he was, who sends a child to a place like this, who runs a place like this? I had so many questions. I thought originally I might do a piece of journalism.

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