News about African writing and prizes

I just read from one of the lists which I follow that Penguin South Africa will be launching the Penguin African Writers Series.  Good news, as many of us here have missed the old Heinemann series being updated.

I can’t say that the Heinemann African Writers Series has been totally defunct, though, as I have certainly bought new copies of the books in some of the Accra bookshops.  Indeed I am actually re-reading Chinua Achebe’s Things fall apart, though in a way it is actually like reading it  afresh, since I think I read it for the first time over 35 years ago!

The other piece of good news that there are to be Penguin prizes for African writing, which will join the Caine prize.

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Science fiction

Not long ago I was browsing in the Silverbird bookshop, which is actually called Silverbird Lifestyle (or something like that) when I came across a real classic in the science fiction section:   William Gibson’s 1984 novel Neuromancer.  Looked at the blurb and realised that I had never actually read it – somehow there wasn’t very much SF in either Ghana Library Board or British Council in Kumasi during the 1980s.  Yet here was the book that was known to have brought to the fore a term such as cyberspace – where some of us spend a large percentage of our working time.   

I haven’t finished it yet, but it is curiously contemporary in the way good SF can be.  One can also see the influence it had on some SF/fantasy films which have come out in the last twenty-five years.  

I did check for some background info from Wikipedia (where else?) though I will look in a few other places as well.

I do have to admit that it is a little strange reading SF after so many years of very little of it.   I have to ask around to see if I can find some more to either buy or borrow.