[Note from Frolic: We are so excited to have author Sarah Ladipo Manyika guest posting on the site today! Take it away Sarah!]
When I began work on my novel, In Dependence, I wanted to write a love story with the backdrop of history, as Kazuo Ishiguro had done so masterfully in his novel, The Remains of the Day. I wanted it to be inhabited by characters as real and beautiful as his and set, at least in part, in Nigeria, where I grew up. At the time, I couldn’t find such stories, so I decided to try writing one of my own. In the years since, there has been a flowering of love stories from the African continent and her diaspora. Here are some of my favorites.
Daphne’s Lot by Chris Abani
This is a novella in verse that speaks to love in a time of war—finding love, losing love, longing for love. It’s Daphne’s story, the mother’s story, as seen through the eyes of her poet son.
Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta
Here is a girl-meets-girl love story set during the Nigerian Civil War. In this coming-of age story, Okparanta writes bravely and lyrically with a keen eye for character.
Season of Crimson Blossoms by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim
Set in Northern Nigeria, this is the story of an affair between a 55-year-old widower and her 25-year-old lover. At times steamy, at times fraught, this love affair breaks many taboos, not least of which is the age difference between its two main characters.
Mother of George directed by Andrew Dosunmu
This visually stunning film staring Danai Guirara follows a newly married Nigerian couple attempting to make a life in New York. The couple hopes to have children (and the extended family expects it) but when conception doesn’t happen, desperation sets in, and things begin to spiral out of control.
New Daughters of Africa edited by Margaret Busby
There’s a wide range of stories in this spectacular collection from 200 women writers of African descent and many of them are love stories. From romantic love to familial love to love of nation and love of self—there are many great stories to chose from.
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About the Author:
Sarah Ladipo Manyika was raised in Nigeria and has lived in Kenya, France, and England. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and taught literature at San Francisco State University. Sarah is a Patron of the Etisalat Prize for Literature. She lives in San Francisco and currently serves on the boards of Hedgebrook and the Museum of the African Diaspora. Find her here: https://www.sarahladipomanyika.com/
In Dependence by Sarah Ladipo Manyika
In the early sixties, Tayo Ajayi sails to England from Nigeria to take up a scholarship at Oxford University. There he discovers a whole generation high on visions of a new and better world. He meets Vanessa Richardson, the beautiful daughter of a former colonial officer. Their story, which spans four decades, is a bittersweet tale of a brave but doomed affair and the universal desire to fall truly, madly and deeply in love.
A lyrical and moving story of unfulfilled love fraught with the weight of history, race and geography and intertwined with questions of belonging, aging, faith and family secrets. In Dependence explores the complexities of contemporary Africa, its Diaspora and its interdependence with the rest of the world.