Nana Nkweti’s Walking on Cowrie Shells is the featured book for the series “Virtually Yours,” which runs on Saturday, July 9, 2022. She will be hosted by Goethe-Institut and moderated by Zukiswa Wanner.
Virtually Yours is a regional project of Goethe-Institut Sub Saharan Africa, a series of online discussions with contemporary authors from Africa. “Virtually Yours” aims to create an online platform for avid readers, writers, academics, publishers, agents, and anyone else interested in literature by writers from Africa. The series of online discussions held once a month has featured Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, Oswalde Lewat, Niq Mhlongo, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, Tendai Huchu, Natasha Omokhodion-Kalulu Banda, Ondjaki, Ishmael Beah, Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu, Rémy Ngamije, Nadifa Mohamed, and Ana Paula Tavares.
The featured writer for July is Nana Nkweti, a Caine Prize finalist and alumna of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her work has garnered fellowships from MacDowell, Kimbilio, Ucross, and the Wurlitzer Foundation, among others. She is a professor of English at the University of Alabama.
Her book Walking on Cowrie Shells has the following blurb;
In her powerful, genre-bending debut story collection, Nana Nkweti’s virtuosity is on full display as she mixes deft realism with clever inversions of genre. In the Caine Prize finalist story “It Takes a Village, Some Say,” Nkweti skewers racial prejudice and the practice of international adoption, delivering a sly tale about a teenage girl who leverages her adoptive parents to fast-track her fortunes. In “The Devil Is a Liar,” a pregnant pastor’s wife struggles with the collision of western Christianity and her mother’s traditional Cameroonian belief system as she worries about her unborn child.
In other stories, Nkweti vaults past realism, upending genre expectations in a satirical romp about a jaded PR professional trying to spin a zombie outbreak in West Africa, and in a mermaid tale about a Mami Wata who forgoes her power by remaining faithful to a fisherman she loves. In between these two ends of the spectrum there’s everything from an aspiring graphic novelist at a comic con to a murder investigation driven by statistics to a story organized by the changing hairstyles of the main character.
Pulling from mystery, horror, realism, myth, and graphic novels, Nkweti showcases the complexity and vibrance of characters whose lives span Cameroonian and American cultures. A dazzling, inventive debut, Walking on Cowrie Shells announces the arrival of a superlative new voice.
The event will run at the following times;
04:00 PM Universal Time (UTC) Abidjan, Accra, Dakar
05:00 PM West African Time (WAT) Lagos, Luanda, Yaoundé
06:00 PM Central African Time (CAT) Windhoek, Johannesburg
07:00 PM East African Time (EAT) Nairobi, Addis Abeba
Those who wish to take part in this discussion should click here.