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Includes the 2021 and 2022 shortlisted AKO Caine Prize stories as well as stories from the Caine Prize workshop
A woman who carries her fate and that of her community in her hair is beguiled by the deceptive designs of Europeans out to colonise her most prized possession. A man finds happiness in the reincarnation of a lost love. A young woman risks her life for freedom through the cultural practice of a human loan scheme.
Tales of sacrifice, love, freedom, self-discovery and loss fill the pages of this larger-than-life tapestry of stories from across Africa and its diaspora. Forged in a diversity of tempers and forms, these stories range from the epistolary to the experimental, from mysteries, noirs and political thrillers to speculative fiction and futurism, and much more. In prose that moves from visual and lyrical to gritty and visceral, these writers explore fate, memory, the fragility of love and the duplicitous nature of human interactions.
The magical tales in The Whispering Trees capture the essence of life, death and coincidence in Northern Nigeria. Myth and reality intertwine in stories featuring cat-eyed English witches, political agitators, newly-wedded widows, and the tormented whirlwind, Kyakkyawa. The two medicine men of Mazade battle against their egos, an epidemic and an enigmatic witch. And who is Okhiwo, whose arrival is heralded by a pair of little white butterflies?
Our new short story series will showcase gripping stories by celebrated and emerging authors, which will hook you from the first word. Cassava Shorts showcase the power of the short story to give readers a concentrated shot of high-quality writing, whilst exploring in microcosm timely and important themes.
CRP Publishing Director Bibi Bakare-Yusuf says,
“With this new series, we want to celebrate the short story’s potential to reactivate a love of good old-fashioned story telling in pithy form. At a time when so much is competing for our attention, short stories are a quick way to get immense in a world and still feeling satiated. Some of my most explosive and evocative reads have been the short story form. So, I am very excited to introduce this series by some of the best-known and emerging writers from across the African world.”
Better Never Than Late charts the unconventional lives and love affairs of a group of Nigerian migrants, making their way in Belgium. The collection is centred around Prosperous and her husband Agu, and the various visitors who gather at their apartment each week. These interconnected stories explore their struggles and triumphs, from unhappy marriages (of convenience or otherwise), to the pain of homesickness, and the tragic paradox in longing to leave Nigeria so that you may one day return to it.
Nights of the Creaking Bed is full of colourful characters involved in affecting dramas: a girl who is rejected in love because she has three brothers to look after; a middle aged housewife who finds love again but has an impossible decision to make; a young man who can’t get the image of his naked, beautiful mother out of his mind; a child so poor he has to hawk onions on Christmas day – and many others. Some, initially full of hope, find their lives blighted by the cruelty of others, or by being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or by just not knowing the “right” people.
Corruption, religious intolerance, gratuitous violence, the irresponsible attitudes of some men to their offspring and the importance of joy are some of the big themes that underlie this memorable collection.