What does it mean be young in Uganda today? What are the issues, conflicts, trials, adventures and stories which affect real people in their real lives? Odokonyero: Short Fiction by Emerging Ugandan Writers explores these issues. Published by Black Letter Media as part of the Writivism at 5 celebrations, the anthology brings together the freshest new voices writing out of Uganda today.
About the book:
After five years of promoting African ideas through arts and culture, the Centre for African Cultural Excellence takes a moment to reflect on its history as well as the literary history of Uganda. The co-editors, Madhu Krishnan and Bwesigye Bwa Mwesigire write, “The anthology also comes out of a desire: to showcase the kinds of stories young people across Uganda are interested in telling and offer opportunities for imagining other lives and other minds.” This anthology brings together the voices of young emerging Ugandan writers between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five to explore and interrogate the theme of violence. Through workshops and mentorship, what emerged were stories which explore the legacies of armed conflict, stories which focus on intergenerational and family conflict, stories which look at conflicts between the genders, and stories which look at conflict within the self.
Praise for Odokonyero:
Odokonyero introduces us to a new generation of Uganda writers, who tell their stories in the accents of old and new realities – of conflict and human violence, misogyny, gender inequality, patriarchy as well as matriarchy; inter-generational divides, family bliss and dysfunction and love and loss. Set in an urban and cosmopolitan Kampala as well as in the rural interior, this anthology represents life in Uganda in its complexity, richness and contradictions. The country painted on this canvas is one in which tradition and modernity vie with each other in the lives of the well-realised characters. As first-time efforts there is much promise in these pages; it is Ugandan literature moving gradually towards a renaissance. – Amatoritsero Ede, Poet and, Assistant Professor of English, Woosong University, South Korea, Publisher & Managing Editor, Maple Tree Literary Supplement, www.mtls.ca
Who is Ojwiny? What happens when keeping up appearances is all that matters? How do women fight for what is theirs? How does one know they belong? What influence do the circumstances of one’s birth have on their life? How do you deal with an unreasonable landlord? What happens behind closed doors? What is freedom? Odokonyero is a captivating collection of stories, drawing one into urban and rural life in various parts of Uganda, exploring a wide range of themes. Flavoured with local languages, idioms and Uglish, and taking you to various parts of the country, the writers invite the reader down unexpected paths. – Philippa Namutebi Kabali-Kagwa, author Flame and Song: a memoir
Odokonyero packs in stories written with graceful styles, with strong voices that are uniquely Ugandan, painting vivid pictures of life in the country today; from tales of people recovering from war in the North to tales of romance and forbidden love in Kampala, Odokonyero is an enjoyable read. – Dilman Dila, author, A Killing in the Sun
Odokonyero is a collection of stories in which life gives no quarters. Things start from there, no infantile expectation that things were fine or will be, which is too close to the age. Yet, if that seems bleak, something else happens. The characters turn the book into a lively feast: there is the impossibly realised heroic epic of Akello, the beating spirit of Latim, Lagoro, Ojwinya, Patience, the wicked trio of Kiiza, Liz and Kizito (great to have met them all); born to uneasy stations, learning that the world does not know how to care, its love worth only so much, these characters saw that they must tough it out to survive and to tell life: “Men like us don’t marry ladies like Sheba. Damn you…! Go marry your books!” – A. K. Kaiza, writer and critic