#GlobalPRIDELitMonth: Queer Africa: #ownvoices books from LGBTQ2IA+ African Writers

Check out these 11 books of poetry, comics, short stories, novels and non-fiction anthologies. All by African writers. All #ownvoices.

Meanwhile… Graphic short stories about everyday queer life in Southern and East Africa. By the Qintu Collab. English. Short Story Collection.

So this work that we all do as artists and culture makers – we are creating a window. We create mirrors. We write ourselves an existence that transcends our proposed limitations. Where we have love and grace. And we show who we are. And that there is another way to see us. – Selly Thiam, ‘Foreword’,  Meanwhile…

“Meanwhile… brings together contemporary stories, affirming and disquieting stories, urban and rural stories. At its heart, the collection celebrates the diversity and fluidity of queer and African identities, offering a sometimes radical re-imagining of life on the continent. The overarching theme, however, is a sense of waiting, of struggling with, and being hopeful in the present. They frame the small moments of queer life, after the break, the revelation, the epiphany – the ‘what now’ after we have left home, the church, or the bad relationship. These stories move past the idea that ‘it gets better’ and instead focus on the queerness of the imperfect present, even as we strive toward a more just future.” –MaThoko’s Books

Collective Amnesia by Koleka Putuma. English. Poetry.

“This highly-anticipated debut collection from one of the country’s most acclaimed young voices marks a massive shift in South African poetry. Koleka Putuma’s exploration of blackness, womxnhood and history in Collective Amnesia is fearless and unwavering. Her incendiary poems demand justice, insist on visibility and offer healing. In them, Putuma explodes the idea of authority in various spaces – academia, religion, politics, relationships – to ask what has been learnt and what must be unlearnt. Through grief and memory, pain and joy, sex and self-care, Collective Amnesia is a powerful appraisal, reminder and revelation of all that has been forgotten and ignored, both in South African society, and within ourselves.” –Uhlanga Press

La Bastarda: A Novel. By Trifonia Melibea Obono. Translated from Spanish by Lawrence Schimel. Fiction.

“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.” –Feminist Press

She Called Me Woman. Edited by Azeenarh Mohammed, Chitra Nagarajan and Aisha Salau. English. Non-Fiction Collection.

“We decided to put together this collection of thirty narratives to correct the invisibility, the confusion, the caricaturising and the writing out of history.” This stirring and intimate collection brings together 30 unique 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.” –Cassava Press Books

One Day I Will Write About This Place: A Memoir by Binyavanga Wainaina. English. Biography. 

“In this vivid and compelling debut memoir, Wainaina takes us through his school days, his mother’s religious period, his failed attempt to study in South Africa as a computer programmer, a moving family reunion in Uganda, and his travels around Kenya. The landscape in front of him always claims his main attention, but he also evokes the shifting political scene that unsettles his views on family, tribe, and nationhood.” –Graywolf Press

Another Morocco: Selected Stories by Abdullah Taïa. Translated from French by Rachel Small. Short Stories. Semiotext(e).

As the first openly gay writer to be published in Morocco, this short story collection compiles story written before he publicly came out. Through these stories, the reader wanders into working-class Moroccan life, family tensions and obligations, all set amongst the cities and neighbourhoods of Taïa’s upbringing.

They Called Me Queer compiled by Kim Windvogel and Kelly-Even Koopman. English. Non-Fiction.

“They Called Me Queer is a collection written by Africans who self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual. 

South Africa has become known for its tolerance towards us, the LGBTQIA+ community. However, we live in a devastatingly segregated and unequal society, where sexual identities still heavily impacts every part of our daily lives. This collection of stories is a testimony to who we are. It is an assertion of our struggles, but also our triumphs, our joys.” –Kwela Publishing

Pet by Akwaeke Emezi. English. Young Adult.

“Pet is here to hunt a monster. Are you brave enough to look? There are no monsters anymore, or so the children in the city of Lucille are taught. Jam and her best friend, Redemption, have grown up with this lesson all their life. But when Jam meets Pet, a creature made of horns and colors and claws, who emerges from one of her mother’s paintings and a drop of Jam’s blood, she must reconsider what she’s been told. Pet has come to hunt a monster, and the shadow of something grim lurks in Redemption’s house. Jam must fight not only to protect her best friend, but also to uncover the truth, and the answer to the question—How do you save the world from monsters if no one will admit they exist? In their riveting and timely young adult debut, acclaimed novelist Akwaeke Emezi asks difficult questions about what choices you can make when the society around you is in denial.” –Make Me a World

You Have to Be Gay to Know God by Siya Khumalo. English. Memoir.

“Siya Khumalo grew up in a Durban township where one sermon could whip up a lynch mob against those considered different. Drawing on personal experience — his childhood, life in the army, attending church, and competing in pageants — Khumalo explores being LGBTQI+ in South Africa today. In You Have to Be Gay to Know God, he takes us on a daring journey, exposing the interrelatedness of religion, politics and sex as the expectations of African cultures mingle with greed and colonial religion.” –Kwela Books

Sacrament of Bodies by Romeo Oriogun. English. Poetry.

“In this groundbreaking collection of poems, Sacrament of Bodies, Romeo Oriogun fearlessly interrogates how a queer man in Nigeria can heal in a society where everything is designed to prevent such restoration. With honesty, precision, tenderness of detail, and a light touch, Oriogun explores grief and how the body finds survival through migration.” –University of Nebraska Press

Queer Africa: New and Collected Fiction. Edited by Karen Martin and Makhosazana Xaba. English. Fiction.

“This collection draws together twenty-two stories selected from two ground breaking anthologies published by MaThoko Books, an imprint of Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action (GALA) in South Africa. The first volume, Queer Africa: New and Collected Fiction won the 26th Lambda Literary Award. In 2017 Queer Africa 2: New Fiction added fresh material to the LGBTIQA+ literary landscape. Stories from Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, South Africa, Botswana, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe celebrate the diversity and fluidity of queer and African identifications and expressions.” –MaThoko Books

Guest Editor of #GlobalPRIDELitMonth and Writer: Anita Fata (she, her, hers) is currently pursuing a Master in Libraries and Information Studies at the University of British Columbia’s iSchool. A daughter of European immigrants, she is a first generation Canadian settler, living and working on the ancestral, traditional and unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations in what is now called Vancouver, BC, Canada. Fascinated by the pitfalls of cataloguing, she also spends too much time thinking about translated literature and LGBT2QIA+ authors while volunteering at Out on the Shelves LibraryFind her on Twitter @anita_if

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