African short stories: Caine Prize shortlist

Earlier this week, the shortlist for the Caine Prize for African Writing was announced. The contenders:

If you’re still looking for something to read for the 2008 Africa Reading Challenge, this might be a good place to start.

things i wish i’d known when i lived in kampala, #189053

There’s a used bookstore next to the Surgery on Acacia Avenue:

The Bookend is a quaint used book shed located in the compound of The Surgery on John Babiiha Avenue (former Acacia Avenue). Built like a tiny log cabin on stilts, The Bookend is an unassuming store filled with a great collection of books and the scent of used paper, words and love.

…The Bookend has a small, but growing archive of used books that are available at only 6,000 shillings each.

This is something I would have appreciated when I dropped 80,000/= at Aristoc on a novel that took me 12 hours to read.

brush up on your kony knowledge

Chris Blattman recently posted an excellent reading list on northern Uganda. I particularly recommend Alice Lakwena and the Holy Spirits (Kampalans: you can get this at Aristoc) and the reports published online by Survey of War Affected Youth.

Trial Justice gave me a much better understanding of the International Criminal Court’s role in the conflict, and I’ve been glued to the Uganda Conflict Action Network blog since it began in the summer of 2005.

bookworms galore

Tumwijuke’s in the challenge, inspiring me with her description of “committing steamy, sordid book adultery.”

Indulge your literary voyeurism with my list of books read in 2008. Don’t worry; I’m not being wanton — just jumping on the bandwagon already merrily occupied by Hannah and Dave.

I only just started keeping track, so a couple of gems are missing, namely Special Topics in Calamity Physics and Mortals.

2008 Africa Reading Challenge, revised

Pernille’s joined the 2008 Africa Reading Challenge, and her list has me reconsidering mine:

1. The Weekenders, Travels in the Heart of Africa (Southern Sudan)
What would happen if you took some of Britain’s best writing talent, put them on a plane and flew them to one of the most extraordinary and inaccessible places on the planet? What would happen if you took Irvine Welsh from the streets of Edinburgh and showed him a remote, dangerous village in Africa? What would happen if you flew Alex Garland into one of the world’s most hazardous war zones? And how would Tony Hawks react if you dragged him away from his tennis and asked him to write a song with a Sudanese tribesman? With Victoria Glendinning, Andrew O’Hagan, Giles Foden and WF Deedes, these writers have experienced for themselves one of the most beautiful and yet troubled lands in the world – The Sudan.

2. Che in Africa (Congo)
In April 1965, Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara left Cuba and mysteriously disappeared, eventually resurfacing in revolutionary Bolivia, where he lived until his assassination in October 1967. Now we know that he spent most of 1965 and 1966 in Central Africa, helping anti-Mobuto revolutionaries in the Republic of Congo. This new volume is a collection of writings from and about those years: fragments of letters he wrote, bits of an unpublished manuscript called Pasajes de la guerra revolucionar!a: Congo (which Che wrote shortly after leaving the Congo), and transcripts of interviews with Che’s compatriots.

Can I do more than six books? How about eight, since yesterday I started re-reading Martin Meredith’s The Fate of Africa? I read the first four chapters of this book before my first trip to Uganda two years ago, but at the time I was trying to write a thesis and plan my post-collegiate life, and it didn’t really grab me. I cracked it open again last night and read chapter five, which talks about Jomo Kenyatta and the Kikuyu role in Kenya’s independence.

Talk about eerily relevant.