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Black Book Swap 6: The Raffle Books

At recent Black Book Swap events we have been given books to raffle. I am especially delighted by the ones that we have been given for BlackBookSwap 6, which takes place on Saturday 29 November, and so I have decided to profile them here. For a chance to win one of these books join us next weekend – we shall be starting at midday sharp. We loved being in Brixton, but feedback has always been that we needed more space. Black Book Swap 6 is taking place in Camden’s brand new library at Pancras Square (5 Pancras Squre N1C 4AG) This is an exciting opportunity for the BlackBookSwap team.

You can check out the BBS6 programme in my previous blogpost here: And book tickets here: Book a place


In this wonderful selection of stories across all genres, 39 authors under 40, from south of the Sahara have been picked from 200 manuscripts that were put forward. The original selection was undertaken by Binyavanga Wainiana – founder of the Kwani Trust, and the judges were Margaret Busby (UK/Ghana), Publisher, broadcaster and reviewer, editor of the anthology Daughters of Africa; Elechi Amadi (Nigeria) Author of plays, memoir and novels, including The Slave, Estrangement and The Woman of Calabar. and Osonye Tess Onwueme (Nigeria/USA) Playwright, poet and scholar.
Africa 39 was edited by the formidable Ellah Allfrey and it has an introduction by by Wole Soyinka. Phew! And I’ve not mentioned any of the authors yet. So here are some of them Chika Unigwe, Nii Ayikwei Parkes, former Black Book Swap contributors – Chibundu Onuzo and Nadifa Mohamed; Tope Folarin, Tayie Selasi; and of course Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie who has signed copies of her books for the past two BBS events. And there are many more author’s in Africa39 from all over the continent.

I had this copy of Africa 39 book signed at the recent London launch party at South Bank Centre – it has been signed by Binyavanga, Nadifa, Stanley Kenani and Clifton Gauchauga. So in addition to Africa 39 being a treasure trove of some of the finest contemporary writing you can savour today, this one is particularly special because it’s going to a lucky Black Book Swap supporter.

Review of Africa39 from the Glasgow Herald:
A selection from novels, in a thick, bright yellow volme that promises much and consistently delivers. What unifies all these authors, other than talent, is their sheer diversity. There’s a tremendous variety of outlooks, and a profusion of styles . Africa39 sports some fine writing and confronts preconceptions at every turn.

Thank you to the team from the HayFestival who gifted Black Book Swap 6 a copy of Africa39.

Six Stories and an Essay by Andrea Levy.

This books seems to have arrived with barely any fanfare. I came across it on my first visit to the new Foyles bookshop which is on the old St Martin’s art college site in Charing Cross Road. It’s been open a few months now, but I only got there at the end of October. The bookshop is fabulous and I am delighted that my first ever purchase there is an Andrea Levy book, as I have always admired her work. I am in awe of her drive to tell the stories and history of Jamaicans on both islands – here in the UK too – in a seamless way. Don’t you just adore that cover? It ‘s Andrea when she was a baby.

Here’s how Amazon has written about Six Stories and An Essay:

“None of my books is just about race,” Levy has said. “They’re about people and history.” Her novels have triumphantly given voice to the people and stories that might have slipped through the cracks in history. From Jamaican slave society in the nineteenth century, through post-war immigration into Britain, to the children of migrants growing up in ’60s London, her books are acclaimed for skilful storytelling and vivid characters. And her unique voice, unflinching but filled with humour, compassion and wisdom, has made her one of the most significant and exciting contemporary authors.

This collection opens with an essay about how writing has helped Andrea Levy to explore and understand her heritage. She explains the context of each piece within the chronology of her career and finishes with a new story, written to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War in 1914. As with her novels, these stories are at once moving and honest, deft and humane, filled with insight, anger at injustice and her trademark lightness of touch.

Thank you to Headline, Andrea’s publishers who gifted us a copy of Six Stories and An Essay.

Peace and Conflict by Irene Sabatini

Irene Sabatini was one of the early author interviews that I did on this blog – read the interview here: Irene Sabatini She was such a generous supporter of this blog. Irene won the then Orange Prize for her debut novel The Boy Next Door, the story of a mixed-race relationship between two Zimbabweans, as their nation begins to lose it’s certainities. Irene is now back with her second novel Peace and Conflict which was published earlier this month. Here’s the summary from Amazon:

This is the story of a hero. Ten-year-old Robert knows many things. He knows all about his hometown, Geneva, with its statues and cannons and underground tunnels and the Longest Bench in the World. He knows about the Red Cross and all the places his dad has been on his missions. He knows that his mum is writing a book about vampires and how long his older brother spends practicing his ‘swag’ poses in front of the mirror. He knows all about animals, too, because his Auntie Delphia is a vet in Zimbabwe.

But still he has questions. Is his neighbour, Monsieur Renoir, really evil? Why did he leave a Victoria Cross medal on Robert’s doorstep? And why has Auntie Delphia disappeared? In the ‘Peace and Conflict’ unit in school, Robert learned all about wars and heroes. But as the lives of his friends, foes and family unfold, he discovers what it really means to be a hero…

Thank you to Irene and Little Brown for gifting the signed copy of Peace and Conflict for Black Book Swap 6.

Foreign Gods Inc by Okey Ndibe

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Okey Ndibe a couple of time’s this year. Most recently at the memorial conference for Chinua Achebe at London University, where the focus was also on the 50th anniversary of the publication of Arrow of God. Okey gave a wonderful lively and heart felt talk about meeting Achebe – through his then girlfriend, who was related to Achebe, and how he went on to encourage both his journalism and writing career over the years. Okey’s talk was the only talk that actually made you feel that Achebe spirit was in the room and I loved that.

Foreign Gods Inc. was published last autumn – here are a few of the reviews: The Guardian: (no idea why the Guardian’s linked it as Chinua Achebe. Daily Mail New York Times

And Amazon’s description of the Foreign Gods Inc: ‘From a disciple of the late Chinua Achebe comes a masterful and universally acclaimed novel that is at once a taut, literary thriller and an indictment of greed’s power to subsume all things, including the sacred.’

Many thanks to Black Book Swap team member @culturescout who has given us a signed copy of Foreign Gods Inc to raffle at Black Book Swap 6.

SOURCE: Black Book News – Read entire story here.