Purple Mangoes by Louisa Ibhaze: An anthology with plenty to say about the modern African Woman

Purple Mangoes

Purple Mangoes is a collection of 10 stories that explore womanhood in West Africa. The voices vary from story to story, each one sharp, distinct and revealing of another facet of the female experience in African society.

The first time I read the collection I ached with the bleakness of it all. I lamented the short-sightedness of the women who crowded around a newborn in Baby Girl and discussed her like a commodity at the market.

 “You know a good daughter will fetch a good bride price for her father, especially if she is hard working and beautiful.”

I fumed on behalf of the adolescent in The Child Widow who is married off to an elderly man then accused of murdering him when he dies.

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6 black books coming to your screen

Taking a novel from page to screen is like putting a giant microphone in front of an author. The audience reach mushrooms like a chemical explosion.

That’s why I get so excited when I hear a book by a black author has been picked up for a TV or film adaptation. I anticipate the author’s fanbase growing, their stories travelling further, the writer receiving greater recognition and (hopefully) more money for their work. It’s just a steady stream of upsides.

Here are 6 books about to make the leap from page to screen.


1. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
The American cable network, TNT is working on adapting the first book from N.K. Jemisin’s superb sci-fi series, The Broken Earth.

Book 1 is called The Fifth Season and ushers us into a world plagued by catastrophic earthquakes, where mutants who can manipulate the earth are oppressed by humans.

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Black authors soar with high fantasy

Two pieces of bookish news have me very excited this week.

First up, Tomi Adeyemi. She’s a 23-year-old, Harvard graduate who’s just signed a seven-figure book deal.

Over the Easter weekend I got a google alert link to Metro news with the headline, Writer lands seven figure deal for ‘Black Lives Matter-inspired’ fantasy novel.

The book is called Children of Blood and Bone, it doesn’t have a release date yet but the film adaptation is already in development with Fox 2000. If that’s not baller I’m not sure what is.

The story is set in West Africa and centres on a young girl with magical abilities, living in a world that persecutes those with her skin tone and her gifts. Following the murder of her mother, the girl finds a magic scroll with the power to preserve and secure magic on earth for another century. But first she must outmanoeuvre the Crown Prince who wants to wipe out magic forever.

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Discover the world – one book festival at a time

Chilling at the Jaipur festival

Book festivals are the best. You get to leave the four walls of your home and hang out with other book-loving people doing book-loving things.

The only thing better than a book festival, is a book festival in another country. I discovered this when I travelled to India with my book club for the Jaipur Literary Festival.

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Wanted: Waterstones Black Writing Curator

Waterstones Piccadilly is ever and always my favourite book shop. It’s housed in a stunning art deco building in Central London and contains eight floors filled with miles of beautiful books.

I love the branch not only for the eight floors of awesomeness, but also for its Black Writing section.

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11 things you (maybe) didn’t know about Nicola Yoon

Sonya Sones

Photo by Sonya Sones

1. Her family emigrated from Jamaica to America when she was 11-years-old. Yoon used her experience of being caught between two cultures to flesh out the lives of the characters in her second novel, The Sun is Not a Star. Natasha and Daniel are both children of immigrants. Natasha’s family is facing deportation back to Jamaica when she meets Korean-American, Daniel. Continue reading