294pp., map, paperback, Reprint, London, (2008) 2009
Winner of the 2009 Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book (Africa Region) and the 2009 PEN/Beyond Margins Award.
Five short stories.
"Within the growing canon of African writers, what sets the stories of Uwem Akpan apart is that they come to us direct from the eye of the continent ... concerned uncompromisingly with the issues facing many people living in Africa now: debt, religiosity, poverty, the venality of rulers, the desire for a better life ... It has been said that if you want to know a place, read its literature. In these starkly modern fables, reminiscent of African greats such as Ngugi wa Thiong'o and Ahmadou Kouroma, Akpan reveals Africa's pain, pity, joy and grace, and comes closer to the truth about modern Africa that the entire outpourings the western mass media." Aminatta Forna, Guardian
"Uwem Akpan, a Nigerian Jesuit priest, has said he was inspired to write by the 'humor and endurance of the poor,' and his debut story collection ... about the gritty lives of African children - speaks to the fearsome, illuminating truth of that impulse." Lisa Shea, Elle
Uwem Akpan was born in Ikot Akpan Eda in southern Nigeria. He was ordained as a Jesuit priest in 2003 and received his MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan in 2006. In 2007 he taught at a Jesuit college in Harare, Zimbabwe. Currently he serves at Christ the King Church, Ilasamaja-Lagos, Nigeria.