13 Books Published by Cassava Republic Press on AALBC — Book Cover Collage

Click for more detail about The Whispering Trees by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim The Whispering Trees

by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim
Cassava Republic Press (Mar 16, 2021)
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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 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?

Click for more detail about In the Palace of Flowers by Victoria Princewill In the Palace of Flowers

by Victoria Princewill
Cassava Republic Press (Mar 02, 2021)
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Sex and friendship, ambition and political intrigue, secrets and betrayal will set the fate of the two slaves— Jamīla and Abimelech—in this ground-breaking debut novel.

In the Palace of Flowers recreates the opulent Persian royal court of the Qajars at the end of the nineteenth century. This is a precarious time of growing public dissent, foreign interference from the Russians and British, and the problem of an aging ruler and his unsuitable heir. It tells the story from the unique perspective of two Abyssinian slaves: Jamila, a concubine, and Abimelech, a eunuch.

Torn away from their families, they now serve at the whims of the royal family, only too aware of their own insignificance in the eyes of their masters. Abimelech and Jamila’s quest to take control over their lives and find meaning leads to them navigating the dangerous politics of the royal court and to the radicals that lie beyond its walls.

Richly textured and elegantly written, at its heart In the Palace of Flowers is a novel about the fear of being forgotten.

Important Themes

  • Inspired by the only existing first-person account of an Abyssinian slave in Iran
  • Focuses on the lesser known Trans-Saharan slave trade, in contrast to the more documented Trans-Atlantic slave trade
  • Publication coincides with a new exhibition – Epic Iran – at the V&A which opens on 13 February
  • Victoria Princewill shines a light on an area of African history of which many readers know very little in a way that feels fresh and grand, yet contemporary.
  • An atmospheric historical debut in the tradition of Jessie Burton, Laila Lalami, Kamila Shamsie and Yaa Gyasi.
  • Filled with lush descriptions of palace tribe, and the intrigues, alliances and betrayals that make up the bitter politics of the harem.

Click for more detail about A Man Who Is Not a Man by Thando Mgqolozana A Man Who Is Not a Man

by Thando Mgqolozana
Cassava Republic Press (Nov 20, 2020)
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“His straightforward no-frills prose tells an effective story of a botched circumcision and its consequences.” —Zakes Mda, Sunday Independent

A Man Who is Not a Man is an evocative story about a young Xhosa man’s trauma and lifelong shame after a rite-of-passage circumcision goes wrong. This botched circumcision is framed as a personal failure, stripping young Lumkile of his humanity, social support system, and labelling him “a failed man.” This powerful coming of age novel follows Lumkile’s journey into manhood, from petty theft and violence in Cape Town, to education and first love in the village, and finally to the harrowing isolation of a mountain hut. With language that moves from raunchy and comical, to tender and earnest, A Man Who is Not a Man challenges the code of silent suffering expected of men, and provides a subversive depiction of masculinity, in all its varied forms.

Important Themes

  • A Man Who is Not a Man provides a language to talk about issues of male sexuality and masculinity (and its physical, mental and emotional demands)
  • A timely and urgent read, this novel joins a growing body of contemporary works attempting to pull the covers open and redefine masculinity.
  • Set within South Africa’s Xhosa community, this is a local novel with big and universal themes: the confusion of boyhood, trauma, truancy, love, male tenderness and the making of men through violence.
  • A coming-of-age novel that will appeal to adult and YA readers alike, with its exploration of the confusion and metamorphosis that is adolescence, as well as the challenges that face at-risk youth.
  • Originally published in South Africa, A Man Who is Not a Man has gained widespread critical acclaim and has served as an inspiration for the Oscar-shortlisted film Inxeba (The Wound).

Book Review

Click for more detail about A Small Silence by Jumoke Verissimo A Small Silence

by Jumoke Verissimo
Cassava Republic Press (Feb 04, 2020)
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Prof is an ex-prisoner, activist and retired academic, who resolves to live a life of darkness after his release from prison. He holes up in his apartment, pushing away friends and family, and embraces his status as an urban legend in the neighborhood until a knock at the door shakes his existence. His visitor is Desire, an orphan and final year student, who has grown up idolizing Prof, following a fateful encounter in her hometown of Maroko, Nigeria as a child. Tentatively, the two begin to form a bond, as she returns every night at 9pm to see him. However, the darkness of the room becomes a steady torment, that threatens to drive Desire away for good. A Small Silence is a layered and beautiful exploration of trauma and its aftermath, and a testament to the enduring power of human connection.

Click for more detail about In Dependence by Sarah Ladipo Manyika In Dependence

by Sarah Ladipo Manyika
Cassava Republic Press (Oct 01, 2019)
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  • Over 3 million copies sold
  • Spanning four decades, the novel covers the upheavals of the era, from independence in Nigeria, to the Civil Rights movement in the US and the cultural and sexual revolutions all over the world.
  • Sarah has been shortlisted for the Goldsmith’s Prize and the California Book Awards for her novel Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun

It is the early 1960s when a young Tayo Ajayi sails to England from Nigeria to take up a scholarship at Oxford University. In the city of dreaming spires, he finds himself among a generation high on visions of a new and better world. The whole world seems ablaze with change: independence at home, the first tremors of cultural and sexual revolutions. It is then that Tayo meets Vanessa Richardson, the beautiful daughter of an ex-colonial officer. In Dependence is Tayo and Vanessa’s story of a brave but bittersweet love affair. It is the story of two people struggling to find themselves and each other, a story of passion and idealism, courage and betrayal, and the universal desire to fall, madly, deeply, in love.

In Dependence Book Cover 2011First published in Nigeria in 2009 where In Dependence has sold over 3 million copies, it is now assigned reading in territories including the US and Zimbabwe. Ladipo Manyika wrote this in the absence of finding a satisfactory love story in the canon of African classics: “When I cannot find stories that I’d like to read, I try writing them for myself.”

Ten years later, this is a book for right now, relevant not simply as it relates to mixed race couples and race relations in general; it also speaks to the broader global preoccupations and concerns around migration. In today’s world with increasing mistrust of “the other” — be it across national borders or within nations where racial, social and ethnic tensions continue to divide, In Dependence remains timely and uplifting.

Advance Praise for In Dependence

“Sarah Ladipo Manyika tells a riveting story that challenges centuries of stereotypes of what an African story can be—one that weaves love, history and race across decades and continents. It also reminds us of how Africa has always been embedded in the world and the world in Africa. The novel is a graceful and astonishing achievement.” –Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

In Dependence, the title being a play on Independence, is a riveting love story across the challenges of race, geography and scars of colonial history. It has all the national, continental and international politics that impact the post-colony. And, along the way, it introduces the reader to African and Diasporic African writing, music and art.” –Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o

Click for more detail about She Called Me Woman: Nigeria’s Queer Women Speak by Azeenarh Mohammed, Chitra Nagarajan, and Rafeeat Aliyu She Called Me Woman: Nigeria’s Queer Women Speak

by Azeenarh Mohammed, Chitra Nagarajan, and Rafeeat Aliyu
Cassava Republic Press (Sep 12, 2018)
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“We put together this collection of twenty-five narratives to correct the invisibility, the confusion, the caricaturising and the writing out of queer women from history.”

This stirring and intimate collection brings together 25 captivating narratives to paint a vivid portrait of what it means to be a queer Nigerian woman. Covering an array of experiences - the joy and excitement of first love, the agony of lost love and betrayal, the sometimes-fraught relationship between sexuality and spirituality, addiction and suicide, childhood games and laughter - She Called Me Woman sheds light on how Nigerian queer women, despite their differences, attempt to build a life together in a climate of fear.

Through first-hand accounts, She Called Me Woman challenges us to rethink what it means to be a Nigerian ‘woman’, negotiating relationships, money, sexuality and freedom, identifying outside the gender binary, and the difficulties of achieving hopes and dreams under the constraints of societal expectations and legal terrorism.

These beautifully told stories of resistance and resilience reveal the realities of a community that refuses to be invisible any longer.

Click for more detail about Easy Motion Tourist by Leye Adenle Easy Motion Tourist

by Leye Adenle
Cassava Republic Press (Jun 13, 2017)
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"Fast and furious, told from a kaleidoscope of different points of view, it’s a rollercoaster ride through a world of extremes, where everything is up for grabs." The Guardian"Gritty, gripping, and hard to put down, Easy Motion Tourist delves into the dark side of Lagos, with a narrative structure that feels fresh and an incredibly immersive atmosphere. A welcome twist on the contemporary thriller." The Crime ReviewEasy Motion Tourist is a compelling crime novel set in contemporary Lagos, featuring Guy Collins, a British hack who stumbles into the murky underworld of the city. A woman’s mutilated body is discarded outside a club near one of the main hotels in Victoria Island. The police pick up Collins, a bystander, as a potential suspect. After experiencing the unpleasant realities of a Nigerian police cell, he is rescued by Amaka, a guardian angel of Lagos working girls. As Collins discovers more of the darker aspects of what makes Lagos tickincluding the clandestine trade in organshe also slowly falls for Amaka.Easy Motion Tourist pulsates with the rhythms of Lagos and entertains from beginning to end.Leye Adenle has written a number of short stories and flash fiction pieces. He has appeared on stage in London in plays including Ola Rotimi’s Our Husband Has Gone Mad Again. Leye comes from a family of writers, the most famous of whom was his grandfather, Oba Adeleye Adenle I, a former king of Oshogbo in South West Nigeria.

Click for more detail about Princess Arabella Mixes Colors by Mylo Freeman Princess Arabella Mixes Colors

by Mylo Freeman
Cassava Republic Press (Jun 13, 2017)
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Princess Arabella thinks her room is boring. So she decides she’s going to do something about thatall by herself. She mixes up some paint and in no time at all her room looks fabulous!Mylo Freeman grew up in The Hague and lives in Amsterdam. She has been a full-time writer-illustrator since 1993 and has published over fifty picture books. Her debut book Potty! was awarded the Kiek Book Prize and has been translated into many languages.

Click for more detail about Princess Arabella’s Birthday by Mylo Freeman Princess Arabella’s Birthday

by Mylo Freeman
Cassava Republic Press (Jun 13, 2017)
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"These lovely new picture books are vibrant with color and character, and Arabella’s adventures offer something fresh and entertaining to anyone looking for princess stories with a difference." The Alligator’s Mouth children’s bookstore, RichmondIt’s Princess Arabella’s birthday. She wants a very special present. Ruby-encrusted roller skates, a golden bicycle, a cuddly mouse, a tea set, or a doll’s carriage? No, Princess Arabella wants something different for her birthday: an elephant. But will she get what she wants? A delightful story about birthdays and princesses.

Click for more detail about Season of Crimson Blossoms by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim Season of Crimson Blossoms

by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim
Cassava Republic Press (May 02, 2017)
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"A rich and vibrant novel with shades of brutality, romance and the pressures of a close knit community. " Leila Aboulela, author of The Kindness of Enemies"A powerful and compelling debut. The taboo subject of an older woman’s sexuality, portrayed with courage, skill and delicacy, is explored in the context of the criminal underworld and the corrupt politics that exploits it. This is a novel to be savoured. " Zoe Wicomb, author of OctoberSeason of Crimson Blossoms tells the captivating story of an illicit affair between a twenty-five-year-old street gang leader, Hassan Reza, and a devout fifty-five-year-old widow and grandmother, Binta Zubairu, who yearns for intimacy after the sexual repression of her marriage and the pain of losing her first son. This story of love and longingset in a conservative Muslim community in Nigeriareveals deep emotions that defy age, class, and religion.This novel gives a unique perspective on life and relationships in Northern Nigeria, a region vastly under-represented in the body of world literature.Abubakar Adam Ibrahim’s short story collection The Whispering Trees was long-listed for the Etisalat Prize for Literature in 2014, with the title story shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing. Abubakar is a Gabriel Garcia Marquez Fellow (2013) and a Civitella Ranieri Fellow (2015). In 2014, Abubakar was named in the Hay Festival Africa39 list of the most promising writers under the age of forty. Season of Crimson Blossoms has been shortlisted for the $100,000 2016 NLNG Prize for Literature.

Click for more detail about Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun by Sarah Ladipo Manyika Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun

by Sarah Ladipo Manyika
Cassava Republic Press (Apr 01, 2016)
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“If aging be a lamp, then Morayo, the protagonist in Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun is a mesmerizing glow, astute, sensual, funny, and moving.“
NoViolet Bulawayo

Morayo Da Silva, a cosmopolitan Nigerian woman, lives in hip San Francisco. On the cusp of seventy-five, she is in good health and makes the most of it, enjoying road trips in her vintage Porsche, chatting to strangers, and recollecting characters from her favourite novels. Then she has a fall and her independence crumbles. Without the support of family, she relies on friends and chance encounters.

As Morayo recounts her story, moving seamlessly between past and present, we meet Dawud, a charming Palestinian shopkeeper, Sage, a feisty, homeless Grateful Dead devotee, and Antonio, the poet whom Morayo desired more than her ambassador husband. A subtle story about ageing, friendship and loss, this is also a nuanced study of the erotic yearnings of an older woman.

Click for more detail about Nights of the Creaking Bed by Toni Kan Nights of the Creaking Bed

by Toni Kan
Cassava Republic Press (Jan 01, 2008)
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Click for more detail about Outriders Africa: Essays on Exploration and Return by Layla Mohamed and Bibi Bakare-Yusuf Outriders Africa: Essays on Exploration and Return

by Layla Mohamed and Bibi Bakare-Yusuf
Cassava Republic Press (Jan 01, 1970)
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Publication Delayed Indefinitely.

It is Spring 2020, and 10 writers of African heritage, travelling in pairs, set out on journeys across Africa. It is a strange time to be travelling, and the shifting state of the world is reflected in temperature checks at borders, hand sanitiser outside churches, and truncated journeys.

Against this backdrop, their travels take them from the tourist beaches of Madagascar and Comoros to the Rastafarian town of Shashamane in Ethiopia, and from questions of renaming amongst the flora and fauna of Cape Town to learning to walk in circles and embrace sensuality in The Gambia.

Through essays, travel diaries, letters and poetry, Outriders Africa is an evocative and enthralling exploration of forgotten family histories, reckoning with grief (both personal and historical), and what it truly means to return.