Kavita Bhanot is a writer, editor, translator, teacher, and activist based in Birmingham, UK. We were lucky enough to chat to her about her work and her perspective on translation – translation as a political act, a form of violence, and a tool to foster dialogue when used responsibly.
Nana Oforiatta Ayim’s prose in her debut novel The God Child feels like poetry: vivid, associative, beautiful – and sometimes a little confusing. The story navigates between Ghana, Germany and the UK, following its young protagonist Maya from childhood to her early twenties, and is a narrative rich in history, complicity and complicated relationships.
With a confrontational title, the message of the book is pretty straight-forward and ambitious. The text is a long essay which consists of a set of guidelines that offers white people a way to confront systemic racism that does not fall into historically cliched and ineffectual advice.
As the title of Natasha Brown’s debut novel suggests, it amounts to a coming-together, an assembling. A Black British woman attends a party for an upper-class white family. This celebration in rural England is the culmination of her inner dilemmas: has she made it or are her actions making her an accomplice to the racism she experiences? At this party, she makes up her mind.
In her latest book, Manifesto: On Never Giving Up, Bernardine Evaristo reflects on her career. And what can I say? She knows her craft, and she knows how to present herself and her work in an extremely likeable way.
Since Abdulrazak Gurnah was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2021, the Zanzibar-born author who lives in the UK has suddenly become known to mainstream audiences. Gurnah’s 2001 novel By the sea is about a dispute between two families that takes place against a backdrop of political change.
As I read the book, I had the feeling that its main target audience is young boys who struggle with the expectations of having to be tough guys. Bola mentions that he wrote “Mask Off” precisely because he himself would have wished for just this book in his youth.
This essay is the third in a four-part series on Afropolitanism and literature. Brian Chikwava has not written a theoretical treatise on Afropolitanism. But his novel Harare North has been much discussed in the context of Afropolitanism.