We Launched The Single Story Foundation Journal Issue 1

Contact: Tiah Beautement
Email: journal@singlestory.org

The Single Story Foundation Journal is launched

The editors of TSSF Journal are excited to announce the launch of its inaugural issue. Our journal is an online journal. You can read individual published pieces on our newly designed website: http://journal.singlestory.org.  And, you can also read and download the entire journal too at http://journal.singlestory.org/issues/.

“The TSSF Journal is one of the new publications offering opportunities to accommodate the exploding literary culture that is sweeping the African landscape and diaspora,” Tiah Beautement, managing editor of TSSF Journal said. “We hope you enjoy the results of our team’s endeavor. ”

Our contributors include writers from Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Botswana, Somali and Britain, and Cameroon.  They are Lauri Kubuitsile, Athol Williams, Efe Ogufere, Timi Odueso, Ahmad Holderness, O.J. Nwankwo, Taiye Ojo, Torinmo Salau, Fahima Hersi, Rešoketšwe Manenzhe, Helen Nde, Ané Breytenbach, Muwanwu Sikhitha, Ifeanyichukwu Eze, C.J. Nelson, and Carey Baraka.

We have gotten a lot of rave reviews about the aesthetic of our journal and we recommend you read the journal in its ready for print form.

About this issue: Wale Owoade, founder and publisher of EXPOUND Magazine said, “The design is stunning. TSSF Journal guys have done a great job and the cover is mind blowing.”

Tiah Beautement, Genna Gardini, and Tolu Daniel edited this issue. The TSSF Journal will be open for submissions for its second issue on January 2, 2018. For further information, please contact Tiah Beautement at journal@singlestory.org.


New African literature is disrupting what Western presses prize

By Jeanne-Marie Jackson, Johns Hopkins University

African literature is the object of immense international interest across both academic and popular registers. Far from the field’s earlier, post-colonial association with marginality, a handful of star “Afropolitan” names are at the forefront of global trade publishing.

Books like Chimamanda Adichie’s “Americanah” and “Half of a Yellow Sun”, Teju Cole’s “Open City”, Taiye Selasi’s “Ghana Must Go” and Yaa Gyasi’s “Homegoing” have confounded neat divisions between Western and African literary traditions. The Cameroonian novelist Imbolo Mbue captured a million-dollar contract for her first book, “Behold the Dreamers”. That’s even before it joined the Oprah’s Book Club pantheon this year.

Such commercial prominence, though, has attracted considerable and unsurprising push back from Western and Africa-based critics alike. Far from advancing narratives with deep roots in local African realities, such critics fear, many of Africa’s most “successful” writers hawk a superficial, overly diasporic, or even Western-focused vision of the continent.

Noviolet Bulawayo was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize in 2013 for her book Olivia Harris/Reuters

The most visible of these critiques has been directed at the Zimbabwean writer NoViolet Bulawayo’s “We Need New Names” (2013). The Nigerian novelist Helon Habila worried in a review in the London Guardian that it was “poverty-porn”. The popular Nigerian critic Ikhide Ikheloa (“Pa Ikhide”) frequently makes a similar point. Fellow Nigerian writer Adaobi Nwaubani critiqued the West’s hold on Africa’s book industry in a much-circulated New York Times piece called “African Books for Western Eyes”. Read More

Our Board Members and Publications

Murewa Olubela

TSSF Announces BoD and AB Members and Launches Two Publications

TAMPA (Oct. 17, 2016) – The Single Story Foundation (TSSF) today announces the appointment of five members to its Board of Directors and five members to its Publications Advisory Board, as well as the launch of its two publications.

The selected 5-member Board of Directors includes Taiye Selasi, Chris Abani, Chika Unigwe, Okey Ndibe and TSSF Founder Murewa Olubela. The Publication Advisory Board members consist of Tolu Oloruntoba, Chris Ogunlowo, Ayo Sogunro, Mia Farraday and Kacy Cunningham.

“We are very pleased to welcome our board of directors and advisory board,” said Murewa Olubela, Founder of TSSF. “Their experience and leadership will definitely serve the Foundation well.”

Taiye Selasi describes herself as a local of Accra, Berlin, New York and Rome. Her 2013 debut novel, Ghana Must Go, bought and published by Penguin Press, received much critical acclaim.

Chris Abani is a prolific novelist, poet, essayist, screenwriter and playwright. He is the recipient of the PEN USA Freedom-to-Write Award, the PEN Hemingway Book Prize, a Guggenheim Award, among others.

Chika Unigwe is the author of four novels, as well as numerous short stories and essays. She won the 2003 BBC Short Story Competition and the 2012 NLG Prize for Literature. She currently was shortlisted for the 2016 NLG Prize for Literature and is a judge for the 2016 Man Booker International Prize.

Okey Ndibe is the author of Foreign Gods, Inc., Arrows of Rain, and his current memoir: Never Look an American in the Eye: Flying Turtles, Colonial Ghosts, and the Making of a Nigerian-American. He was the founding editor of Chinua Achebe’s international magazine, African Commentary.

The Board of Directors will work to ensure the Foundation achieves its vision and mission. The Board will advocate, establish, and implement appropriate policies and procedures. It also will participate actively in resource development, and exercise stewardship and appropriate oversight over the Foundation.

In addition, the Foundation appoints five members consisting of fiction writers, non-fiction writers, and poets to its Publication Advisory Board. The Advisory Board will single-blind peer review journal and magazine submissions. Members will sometimes write editorials for the publications.

The Advisory Board will complement the TSSF Board of Directors. Members will be asked to tackle specific issues raised by the TSSF editorial team and to generate ideas and opportunities. Members were selected through an open selection process.

TSSF also announces the launch of both its visual literary magazine and online literary journal. The magazine will feature diverse contents such as fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, visual art, and photography. The journal will only feature fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry contents. Submission calls will open on Nov. 1 and May 1 each year.

“The two publications are one of the initiatives we’re undertaking at TSSF to provide storytelling opportunities for Africans at home and abroad,” said Olubela. “I’m excited to see how to see how it goes. I’m also looking forward to fleshing out, solidifying and announcing other news we will have in the future.

For more information about the magazine, visit www.magazine.singlestory.org. And for more information about the magazine, visit www.journal.singlestory.org.


About The Single Story Foundation
The Single Story Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing storytelling opportunities for Africans at home and in diaspora. Its goal is to challenge and bring about change in the telling of African stories and foster a commitment to young Africans by promoting their technological, creative, educational, imaginative achievements and developments. For more information on The Single Story Foundation, visit www.singlestory.org.

young African writers

Africa’s Young Literary Stars

African literature in recent times has been breaking new grounds in international markets, like the United States, where historically it has been overlooked. Writers like Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda Adichie, etc. have led the race in getting African literature into global bookstores and libraries.

Inspired by those who came before, a new wave of young, gifted African writers are breaking bounds, fearlessly telling their stories, some in multiple ways. With publishing deals, accomplished debuts, multiple awards and rave reviews under their belts, these writers are penning stories that juxtapose classic themes with unique views and voices.

We, at The Single Story Foundation, realize that there are many more successful African writers and poets out there than the 10 listed in this post. We doubt we adequately can name all amazing African writers in one blog post. Below are 10 contemporary African writers 30 years and under, except Imbolo Mbue we couldn’t help but add, who keep making marks in the literary world at large. Read More

The Single Story Foundation 10 African Storytellers you need to know about now

11 African Storytellers you should know

An integral aspect of changing stereotypes, storytelling is an inherent way of life for Africans. Everybody has a tale to tell and everybody tells it in different ways. As Gcina Mhlophe points out:

Stories are our friends, our counsellors and our teachers. They are a means of nurturing a moral culture in the hearts and minds of people. They stir the imagination, they bring together people and they break down barriers. It is a tradition we must never lose in the rush to the cities.

In no particular order, below are 11 Africans telling their stories and others in multiple formats. They all are doing amazing things, making great strides at home and abroad. Read More

Nollywood single story

Nollywood single story problem

A while ago, novelist Chimamanda Adichie gave a keynote speech at TED Talks titled “The Danger of a Single Story.” What’s Africa’s single story? The tainted lens through which the news media portrays Africa to the world; mostly starving kids too weak to drive away the flies that swarm them, famine, hunger, water projects etc. Then there’s the Hollywood narrative. African men are mercenaries, warlords and blood thirsty. This is mostly what the West is exposed to about Africa and Africans.

Now, many of those portrayals aren’t completely untrue. But, they are a single narrative out of many – most of them still untold. Just like the guests on Jerry Springer’s show don’t represent the U.S. narrative, these stories don’t represent all of us across Africa either. Read More

7 African literature books to read if you love Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Author: Zaynab Quadri

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie clocked 38 yesterday and oh well you have read all her books.You blazed through Purple Hibiscus, you ran out and bought Half of a Yellow Sun, The Thing Around Your Neck, and Americanah. And you finished them in two sleepless nights.

Now your sleepless nights are spent yearning for another Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie book and you wish that Americanah movie could just come out faster.

Well, don’t fret or fear. These African literature books will keep you up at night, in a good way, and hold you over until your next Adichie fix. Read More

African Literary Magazines

African Literary Magazines

We present to you, African Literary Magazines, the directory you’ve been searching for. A needed haven for writers, artistes and creative people of African descent, African Literary Magazines provides you information about literary organizations that cater to your works.

We know how hard it is to start magazine shopping after completing your work and being encumbered by the process. Our goal at The Single Story Foundation is to provide you with the resources to tell your story efficiently. Hopefully, this directory will help in that regard. Read More

Otobong Nkanga wins 8th Yanghyun Art Prize

Otobong Nkanga, a Nigerian, has become the first African to win the Korean Yanghyun Foundation Artist Award. The award was presented in Seoul, Korea. She will receive 100 million won ($86,300) and an opportunity to hold a solo exhibition at any chosen museum around the world, as part of her prize for winning the award.

She was selected for her outstanding creativity in media and motivational photography, drawing, painting, sculpture, installation and video. Read More

Nadia Sasso Explores Too African to be American, Too American to be African

“Am I?” follows women of West African descent in order to document their unique stories on identity development and the tensions experienced between their West African and American cultural experiences. It is written, produced, and directed Nadia Sasso, a Lehigh University grad student. It includes  “Awkward Black Girl” creator, Issa Rae.

“Am I” currently streams for $10 at amithefilm.com for $10.