Fresh and electrifying—stories, poems, and essays by African and diaspora writers, edited by author Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond.
Relations punctures the human illusion of separation. New and established storytellers reshape the narratives that divide and subjugate, revealing the truth of our shared humanity despite differences in language, identity, class, gender, and beyond. This vital anthology is Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond’s striking vision of a meeting place of perspectives, centered in the African and diaspora experience.
In a post-Black Panther world, it is an urgent and welcome embrace of the diversity of Blackness. A refreshing collection of genre-spanning literature, it offers a vibrant meditation on being—inviting connection across real and imagined borders, and celebration of the most profound relations.
Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond is the author of the children's picture book Blue: A History of the Color as Deep as the Sea and as Wide as the Sky, illustrated by Caldecott Honor Artist Daniel Minter; and the young adult novel Powder Necklace. Her short fiction for adult readers is included in the anthologies Accra Noir, Africa39, New Daughters of Africa, FIRSL, Everyday People, and Woman's Work. Her writing has also appeared in Now2, African Writing, Los Angeles Review of Books, and Sunday Salon. She lives in New York City.
Brew-Hammond delivers an impressive anthology of short stories, essays, and poetry by writers from across Africa. In the Sudanese writer Reem Gaafar’s “Finding Descartes,” a school teacher becomes an activist after meeting a smart, young boy who ought to be in school, but isn’t. Rwandese-born Namibian Rémy Ngamije follows the protagonist of “Fulbright” to Columbia University from Namibia, where his excitement about the land of Frank Sinatra, the Notorious B.I.G., and getting to “find out what a New York minute is” is tempered by anxiety over white supremacist violence. Other standouts include the sparse and powerful poem “Denouemont” by Nigerian poet Dami Ajayi, which draws haunting inspiration from a discarded face mask: “Your fate reminds me of breath/ & George Floyd lying on asphalt,/ an American knee weighing/ against his neck.” There’s no shortage of strong imagery, such as in Nigerian American Enuma Okoro’s story “The Heart of the Father,” which imagines a pastor whose clothes are “like Moses’s face... when he comes down from the mountain.” As with most anthologies, some entries are better than others—next to the gems are those that run too long or lean on unearned twists. On the whole, though, there’s much to savor. -- Publisher's Weekly
Brew-Hammond is herself an excellent author—as her own contribution, a short story, proves—and she has a great eye for quality writing; every selection in the anthology is at least solid, and most are remarkable. This is an anthology that sings, a wonderful look at the relationships and connections that sustain us, give us life, make us who we are. This smart, generous collection is a true gift. -- Kirkus Reviews
[H] Harpervia / January 17, 2023
1.3" H x 9.1" L x 6.3" W (1.32 lbs) 464 pages