Friday, August 20, 2010

August Advances

I've become a useless doting dad. All the hustle, travel, reading, performances and (gulp!) even the writing, everything has settled to a simmer in my life and the only thing popping is Little-Miss-Daughter who (I kid you not) is amazing! She's 20 months old and already she's having conversations with me in Ga and English and scolding me (no more, Daddy, no more!). I used to think my mother was making things up when she told me the really complicated things I am supposed to have said at the age of three, but I'm beginning to believe. The human mind is truly, truly amazing! What I can't get my head around is the fact that we lose pretty much all our memory of events up to the age of 3/4, but we don't forget the things we learn e.g. language, whether or not to be afraid of dogs etc. etc. It's mind-boggling. Anyway I'll bore you no longer with Daddyhood. The good thing, with hindsight, is, I did so many sleepless nights BEFORE my daughter was born that it seems I will be releasing new work until I finish the next project. In the meantime, here are some updates.

Tail of the Blue Bird was selected by Writers' Centre Norwich as one of their Summer Reads and right through the year it's been promoted in local bookshops and libraries, which has been amazing. The initiative is now coming to an end, but until the end of August, Tail of the Blue Bird is being discussed online as well as at a special Tail of the Blue Bird Book Club Session at Writers’ Centre Norwich, 14 Princes St, Norwich, Tuesday 24th August, 6pm. To join the online discussions, just go the the WCN Facebook Page. You can even check out their reading guide.

Sticking with discussions, Tail of the Blue Bird, stands a one-in-eleven chance of being chosen for discussion at the African Writers's Evening book discussion on Friday September 17 at the Poetry Cafe and YOU GET £4 toward the cost of the book too. To vote for Tail of the Blue Bird and find out more, visit: African Writers' Evening

Now, book news - or new books news :) I mentioned the release of a Dutch version of Tail of the Blue Bird and I can confirm that it is now out and selling well (you can see it on the publisher's website) and so is the German version (also on the publisher's website), which has had a couple of decent reviews this week [Links: Die Spiegel | Watching the Detectives ]. Well, I'm guessing that they're good because I couldn't make real sense of the automatic translation!

I have also now held in my hands a physical copy of my children's book The Parade (pictured on the left) and I can assure you that it feels good. Plus I am assured that I will receive in tomorrows post a few copies of my début full poetry collection The Makings of You. I am giving five copies away, so the best five pleas I receive detailing why you should get a copy in tweet-length (i.e. text or 140 characters) will get them. I'll reveal the winners at the end of the month :) Of course, this doesn't mean don't buy the book - I need you to buy it so I can earn some royalties, but you can flog the one you bought if you win!
Draft cover - Tail of the Blue Bird
And finally, drum roll... the long-awaited US release! It is still long-awaited, the release date has been pushed back to 20 January 2011, but you can now pre-order it on or AND I will be coming to the US in January/February for a whole month to promote it (with the other two books, of course!). My first reading/signing is likely to be in Rochester, NY but I'm still trying to fix dates so if you know of a local bookstore or college/university that would like to have me visit/sign/read/teach and it's on the East Coast, please contact me so we can work something out. Not many people have seen what the entire cover will look like, but... eyes-left - voila! You're the first, my fans, my everything!

what i'm reading/listening to

Omara Portuondo - la novia del filin

Arthur Gakwandi - The Novel and Contemporary Experience in Africa

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Quick and dirty grub for writing


King Prawn & Spinach Pasta

[Total preparation and cooking time 10-15 minutes]

This dish is one my writing phase quickies, but it’s also apt at this time [August 2010] because Tesco have had 50% off their raw king prawns for a while. Due to my use of sesame oil, you will find it’s not great with cheese, but you can use olive oil instead and Italian it up…

  • Pasta or Spaghetti (I tend to go with spaghetti myself)
  • Spinach (you can use as much as you want – remember it reduces drastically in volume when cooked)
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil King prawns
  • Garlic (minimum 2 cloves)
  • Salad/spring onions (if you cut these very small they go in after the prawns)
  • Fresh chopped or sun dried tomatoes Salt and pepper (according to taste)

  1. Cook and drain the spaghetti/pasta (preferably al dente) and leave in a bowl.
  2. While the spaghetti/pasta is cooking, wash the spinach, chop the garlic and onions and place to one side.
  3. Heat the sesame oil in a frying pan, sauté the garlic for a minute then throw in the spring onions (I tend to cut them prawn size and like them tender but you can always add them later). Add in the prawns and stir fry the contents of the frying pan for a minimum of three minutes (make sure the prawns have turned pink) adding the spinach in the last minute.
  4. Toss the stir-fried mixture with the spaghetti/pasta


On hot days I let the dish cool and eat it with fresh chopped tomatoes. On standard English days I eat it hot with sun dried tomatoes. I tend not to use salt (especially when I cook seafood), but I do use loads of fresh ground black pepper/corns.

what i'm reading/listening to

Mary J. Blige - The Breakthrough

Junot Díaz - Drown