“There is no doubt that the internet, together with digital publishing, has changed – and is still changing – the world of published literature. In the case of Africa and the African Diaspora, I certainly believe it has been for the better.”
So says Ivor W. Hartmann, African writer and visual artist and the co-editor of African Roar, a newly-released short fiction anthology featuring works by African writers.
Hartmann is also the publisher of StoryTime, a vibrant and captivating weekly literary ezine dedicated to publishing short stories by writers from all over the African Diaspora. African Roar comprises of the best stories published in StoryTime between 2007 and 2009. StoryTime readers were invited to vote for their favourite stories and then each of the selected pieces went though further rigorous editing by Hartmann and coeditor Emmanuel Siguake.
“When I first started StoryTime in 2007, it was because I saw there was a need to provide more independent global online platforms for new and established African writers. StoryTime is a platform where all fiction genres are accepted and the only requirement is a good story well told,’ said Hartmann. “African Roar is to be the first in an annual anthology series that will continue to select the very best of what has been published in the StoryTime ezine throughout the preceding year.”
The writers featured in African Roar are rated among the top emerging literary talents from Africa. They include Ayesha Harruna Attah, Ayodele Morocco-Clarke, Beaven Tapureta, Chuma Nwokolo Jr., Christopher Mlalazi, Emmanuel Sigauke, Ivor W. Hartmann, Kola Tubosun, Masimba Musodza, Nana A. Damoah, and Novuyo Rosa Tshuma.
The stories deal with a wide range of issues ranging from domestic violence, love and betrayal, poverty and the trauma of AIDS to politics and corporate greed and exploitation. They include Big Pieces, Little Pieces by Novuyo Rosa Tshuma in which the narrator remembers the death of her mother at the hands of her abusive father and the horrors of a patriarchal social system.
Beaven Tapureta’s Cost of Courage provides a vivid portrayal of the horrifying landscape of the Harare ghettoes, “where dreams die before they sprout,” while Ayodele Morocco-Clarke’s The Nestbury Tree, shows the dangers of superstition and misdirected faith.
Ivor Hartmann is no novice. Born in Harare, Zimbabwe he is a contributing editor for Sentinel Nigeria and has published fiction and non-fiction works with various magazines, including StoryTime, African Writing, Wordsetc, Something Wicked, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, Paulo Coelho’s Blog, and African Writer.com. More recently his speculative fiction story, Earth Rise was nominated for The Ursa Major Award in 2009, and Mr. Goop, a young-adult speculative fiction story, was awarded the Baobab Prize in March.
Hartmann is not only upbeat about the launch of African Roar, he’s optimistic about the future prospects for African literature thanks to the internet which he says has opened doors of opportunity to writers from the African Diaspora.
“Never before have so many African writers been visibly active and prolific. There is a revolution going on in the world of African literature, an African Roar that is beginning to echo around the world,” says Hartmann.
“When I first started StoryTime in 2007, it was because I saw there was a need to provide an independent global online platform for new and established African writers, a platform where all fiction genres were accepted and the only requirement was a good story well told. From the very beginning I had a dream of utilising StoryTime to build up a body of work from all over Africa and the African Diaspora, from which eventually a book anthology might be drawn. At last that dream has been realised, and could not have been possible without the enthusiasm and support of all the StoryTime authors,” he added.
African Roar coeditor, Emmanuel Siguake is equally excited about the release of the new anthology and like Hartmann, believes the stories bear testimony to the importance of the World Wide Web as a creative outlet and resource for contemporary African writers.
“Of great significance is the range of issues these writers portray and the wide spectrum of authors from different African countries. This is matched by the growing world demand for African writing, in part enabled by the internet as an information vehicle and a marketing tool … The imaginations that produced this work are fertile, and if in the short time StoryTime has existed it could produce this much work and attract the number of writers displayed on its website and in this volume, I can just imagine what will have happened in two, three, or four years. This new outlet for African writers comes with the promise of providing unique fiction to the reader, unique not only because it is by African writers, but also because these are writers whose talents may not have been discovered this early. I am satisfied with the state of writing in Africa and I can confidently say that now — this decade, this century — is the time for the world to discover the full potential of the continent’s literary might.”
African Roar was co-published in the UK by The Lion Press Ltd and StoryTime, and is available worldwide at Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Barnes & Noble, and the Lion Press. An e-book edition is also available through the Kindle platform (worldwide) for the iPad, Kindle, iPhone, iPod Touch, BlackBerry and PC.