GLLI Translated YA Book Prize Shortlist: La Bastarda by Trifonia Melibea Obono (Equatorial Guinea)

The first novel by an Equatorial Guinean woman to be translated into English, La Bastarda is the story of the orphaned teen Okomo, who lives under the watchful eye of her grandmother and dreams of finding her father. Forbidden from seeking him out, she enlists the help of other village outcasts: her gay uncle and a gang of “mysterious” girls reveling in their so-called indecency. Drawn into their illicit trysts, Okomo finds herself falling in love with their leader and rebelling against the rigid norms of Fang culture.

Trifonia Melibea Obono is a journalist and political scientist who researches women and gender in Africa. She is a professor in the Humanities and Social Sciences department of the National University of Equatorial Guinea. Currently, she is pursuing her doctorate in gender studies and human rights from the University of Salamanca, Spain. Her short story “La Negra” was included in the anthology Voces feministas de Guinea Ecuatorial (Barcelona: May 2015) and her first novel, Herencia de bindendee, was published by Editions del Auge (Madrid: 2016).

Lawrence Schimel is an award-winning author and anthologist, and has been internationally recognized for his queer anthologies, gay and lesbian erotica, and children’s books. His writing has been translated into over twenty languages. He served as cochair of the Publishing Triangle, an organization of lesbians and gay men in the American publishing industry, for two years, and also served as the Regional Advisor of the Spain Chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators for five years.


“Obono’s voice is assured and vital, and her tale of queer rebellion in Fang society is an exceptional take on the coming-of-age novel.” —Publishers Weekly

“A powerful exploration of culture and tradition.” —Asymptote

“Though I live a world away from Equatorial Guinea, I saw so much of myself in Okomo: a tomboy itching to be free and to escape society’s rigged game. I cheered her on with every page, and wished—for myself and all girls—for the bravery to create our own world.” —Maggie Thrash, author of Honor Girl

La Bastarda
Trifonia Melibea Obono
Translated from the Spanish by Lawrence Schimel
2018, Feminist Press
ISBN: 9781936932238

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