I got a bit of a shock yesterday – a lovely shock – after finding out that my collection had been named by British writer Maggie Gee as one of her favourite books of 2011. Maggie’s chosen books appeared in The Guardian (Nigeria) alongside selections from other writers, editors and publishing professionals from around the world. The article, written by Nigerian writer A. Igoni Barrett, can be seen here. But, as the text is a bit small to see on the photo, here’s what it says:
Maggie Gee, author of My Animal Life: I re-read Bernardine Evaristo’s fascinating fictionalised family history, the new, expanded Lara (Bloodaxe, New ed., 2009), tracing the roots of this mixed race British writer back through the centuries to Nigeria, Brazil, Germany, Ireland—comedy and tragedy, all in light-footed, dancing verse. In Selma Dabbagh’s new Out of It (Bloomsbury, 2011), the lives of young Palestinians in Gaza are brought vividly to life—gripping, angry, funny, political. Somewhere Else, or Even Here (Salt, 2011) by A.J. Ashworth is a stunningly original first collection of short stories.
So, as you can imagine, it was a shock indeed. I look forward to getting hold of copies of books by the other writers Maggie mentions, as well as those mentioned by some of the other contributors. A surprise for sure but a great end to the year.