Books of May – There’s One For Everyone

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May is set to be a month literally filled with goodness. From short story collections to poetry, young adult fiction to sci-fi, African authors are not playing this month. Also, is it just me or are there more women of African descent getting published this year?

Whatever the case, these are the books I’m looking forward to this month:

Manchester Happened by Jennifer Nansubuga Makunmbi

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Release Date: May 2nd, 2019

Set in Manchester and Kampala, the stories of Manchester Happened form a moving and powerful work about the experience of immigration, and about how we treat each other as human beings. The collection makes an important contribution to one of the most pressing societal and political issues of the day.

Following on from the huge success of her novel Kintu, Manchester Happened – featuring ‘Let’s Tell This Story Properly’, winner of the 2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize – is an essential collection from an extraordinarily talented writer.

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Release Date: May 2nd, 2019

Girl, Woman, Other follows the lives and struggles of twelve very different characters. Mostly women, black and British, they tell the stories of their families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years.

Joyfully polyphonic and vibrantly contemporary, this is a gloriously new kind of history, a novel of our times: celebratory, ever-dynamic and utterly irresistible.

Exiles of Eden by Ladan Osman

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Release Date: May 7th, 2019

Exiles of Eden looks at the origin story of Adam, Eve, and their exile from the Garden of Eden, exploring displacement and alienation from its mythological origins to the present.

In this formally experimental collection steeped in Somali narrative tradition, Osman gives voice to the experiences and traumas of displaced people over multiple generations. The characters in these poems encounter exile’s strangeness while processing the profoundly isolating experience of knowing that once you are sent out of Eden, you can’t go back.

Kings, Queens & In-Betweens by Tanya Boteju

Release Date: May 7th, 2019

Perpetually awkward Nima Kumara-Clark is bored with her insular community of Bridgeton, in love with her straight girlfriend, and trying to move past her mother’s unexpected departure. After a bewildering encounter at a local festival, Nima finds herself suddenly immersed in the drag scene on the other side of town.

Macho drag kings, magical queens, new love interests, and surprising allies propel Nima both painfully and hilariously closer to a self she never knew she could be—one that can confidently express and accept love. But she’ll have to learn to accept lost love to get there.

From debut author Tanya Boteju comes a poignant, laugh-out-loud tale of acceptance, self-expression, and the colourful worlds that await when we’re brave enough to look.

With The Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo

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Release Date: May 7th, 2019

Ever since she got pregnant freshman year, Emoni Santiago’s life has been about making the tough decisions—doing what has to be done for her daughter and her Abuela. The one place she can let all that go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness.

Even though she dreams of working as a chef after she graduates, Emoni knows that it’s not worth her time to pursue the impossible. Yet despite the rules she thinks she has to play by, once Emoni starts cooking, her only choice is to let her talent break free.

13 Months of Sunrise by Rania Mamoun

Release Date: May 9th, 2019

A young woman sits by her father’s deathbed, lamenting her failure to keep a promise to him…

A struggling writer walks every inch of the city in search of inspiration, only to find it is much closer than she imagined…

A girl collapses from hunger at the side of the road and is rescued by the most unlikely of saviours…

In this powerful, debut collection of stories, Rania Mamoun expertly blends the real and imagined to create a rich, complex and moving portrait of contemporary Sudan. From painful encounters with loved ones to unexpected new friendships, Mamoun illuminates the breadth of human experience and explores, with humour and compassion, the alienation, isolation and estrangement that is urban life.

Triangulum by Masande Ntshanga

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Release Date: May 14th, 2019

An astronomer receives a mysterious manuscript, titled Triangulum, containing a memoir and a set of digital recordings from an unnamed woman who claims the world will end in ten years. The manuscript is passed around the office as a curiosity, but when eco-terrorist activities described begin happening and with startling precision, the amusement becomes deadly serious.

Haunted by visions of a mysterious machine, the narrator of Triangulum is a seemingly adrift 17-year-old girl whose sick father never recovered from the shock of his wife’s disappearance. When three girls go missing from their town, on her mother’s birthday, the narrator is convinced it has something to do with “the machine” and her mother. Along with her friends and a puzzling book on UFOs that contains eerie clues and similarities to both her mother and the missing girls, the narrator sets out to unravel the mystery.

With extraordinary aplomb and breathtaking prose, Ntshanga has crafted an inventive and marvellous artistic accomplishment that melds a coming-of-age saga, mystery, and science-fiction.

Do you know any other books being published this month? Feel free to share in the comments below.

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