5 African Writers You Should Read Now


By Johanna Dickson, Digital Publicist


There was a time in my life when the only books I read were by African writers. I was an African Studies major in college, and in addition to my coursework on campus I spent a semester living in Cape Town, South Africa and traveling throughout the country and its neighbor Mozambique. When I returned for my senior year I took a course on African literature that introduced me to many phenomenal writers.

Here are five to check out if you are new to African literature:


Chinua Achebe. The Nigerian-born Achebe is perhaps the most famous African writer. His debut novel, Things Fall Apart, was published in 1958 and is the mostly widely read novel in African literature. The book was the first in a trilogy that also includes No Longer at Ease and Arrow of God. A titled Igbo chieftain, many of Achebe novels focus on the traditions of Igbo society. He died in 2013.


Buchi Emecheta. Also Nigerian, Emecheta’s celebrated works include In the Ditch, Second-Class Citizen, The Slave Girl, and The Joys of Motherhood. Common themes in her works include child slavery, motherhood, female independence, and freedom through education. Her first works were based on her experience as an immigrant in London. She received an Order of the British Empire in 2005.


Wole Soyinka. Soyinka was the first African to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. He is celebrated for his work as a playwright, poet, novelist, and essayist. Some of his best-known works include the plays The Trial of Brother Jero, A Dance of the Forests, Death and the King’s Horseman, and the novels The Interpreters and Season of Anomy. Soyinka has been active in Nigeria’s political history both during their war of independence from the British and their Civil War. He has taught at Yale, Harvard, Cornell, and Oxford.


Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o. The only non-Nigerian on the list, Thiong’o was born in Kenya. He has received international acclaim as a novelist, essayist, playwright, social commentator and activist. His experience under British colonialism and the Mau Mau struggle for independence has framed much of his works. Thiong’o came to fame in the 1960s with the novels Weep Not, Child, The River Between and A Grain of Wheat. His most recent works include the autobiographical Dreams in a Time of War: a Childhood Memoir, In the House of the Interpreter: A Memoir, and The Wizard of the Crow. He is currently the Distinguished Professor of the Departments of Comparative Literature and English at the University of California, Irvine.


Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The youngest writer on the list, Adichie rose to fame with her debut novel Purple Hibiscus in 2003. She is considered one of the most important voices in contemporary African literature and is credited for bringing a new generation of readers to African literature. Adichie’s 2006 novel Half of a Yellow Sun is currently being made into a movie. Her most recent release was the novel Americanah, which was on the New York Times List of the Best Books of 2013. Adichie divides her time between the United States and Nigeria.



For more African writers, feel free to visit this list by Citypress.

Related: 5 Mexican-American Authors to Read for Cinco de Mayo


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Getting Support For Your Book


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By Brian Feinblum, Senior Vice President and Marketing Officer


To promote your book you need time, money, ideas, a good book, a market and support. Who will help you become a book marketing machine?

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Summer Reading Requirements: Why It Shouldn’t Be Just for Kids


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By Cori Cagide, Associate Publicist

As kids most of us were assigned the dreaded required summer reading list sometime towards the end of the school year. I remember choosing which of the three uninteresting books I wanted to read, and preparing to procrastinate as long as possible before having to read and do the assigned project that went along with it. Actually, that’s a lie – I was a goody-two-shoes and always finished my summer reading project within a week after the school year ended, and didn’t think about it again until the first day of school. However, I know at least 90 percent of my friends held off until the very last minute to get it done.

Shouldn’t that say something about the required material? Particularly with the younger generations. If we want them to read, we have to give them some incentive. I’m not sure how much things have changed since I was in grammar school, but I remember having very few options to choose from, and having to get extra creative in the project portion of the assignment in order to peak my interest.

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Do You Need to Read the Book Before You See the Movie?


By Johanna Dickson, Digital Publicist


In early June my mother notified me via email that she needed to see The Fault in Our Stars when it came out. She works in a middle school library and often reads many of the popular books they lend to students. It took her no time at all to finish the book, and as much as she sobbed her way through it she loved it. She could not wait to see the movie. As I am her frequent movie date, she was alerting me that she wanted us to see the movie together. There was just one issue: I hadn’t yet read the book myself.

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Tequila Mockingbird: MEDIA CONNECT Hosts Finn Parners Happy Hour


By Anna Patrick, Digital Publicist


Yesterday our division put on our first Finn Parnters happy hour, a literary-themed bash with bookish bites and literary liquor, fittingly named Tequila Mockingbird!

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New Additions to my Bookcase: A Book Lover Steps Outside her Comfort Zone

By Alexandra Israel, Publicist


Book lover’s confession: I have a ton of books that I haven’t yet read on my bookshelf, and I tend to be pretty consistent in terms of what I read. All summer I have been reading the works of 19th century English authors such as Thomas Hardy, Theodore Dreiser, and Henry James. There are so many good books out there that I decided for the month of July I won’t be confined to my bookcase or the 19th century! Here are some new additions to my book case, ones that I can’t wait to read:

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Four Ways a Speaking Event Helps Authors


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By David Hahn, Managing Director

I’ve often been asked over my career, “What is the best way to sell books?” And the “Chauncey Gardiner” in me loves to respond by saying, “The best way to sell books is to sell books.”

By that I mean yes, of course, having a rave review run in the New York Times is naturally the best way to sell a lot of books. But when you consider reality as an author and what you have control over, the best way to sell books is to get out and “handsell” through speaking engagements.

Here are the benefits and some tactics:

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Revamping Reading Rainbow for the Digital Age


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By Nicole Martineau, Associate Publicist


If you grew up in the ‘80s or ‘90s, you’ve probably heard the exciting news that Reading Rainbow could be making a triumphant comeback, all thanks to LeVar Burton’s Kickstarter campaign. The mission of the campaign is to raise the $5,000,000 needed to bring Reading Rainbow back for “every child, everywhere” through the Web.

“You take advantage of where kids are. Back in the ‘80s that was in front of the television set,” Burton told The Verge in a recent interview. “Today, you have to have access to the web.”

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Is “Going Tabless” Possible For Publicists?


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By Dee Donavanik, Publicity Director

“To be fully present on the internet at any given moment is a very rare thing,” claims James Hamblin, an editor at The Atlantic in a recent video. He explains that by trying to do many things at once, we aren’t getting much done at all. At any given moment, we are likely to have a window open for email, another with an interesting article we want to read later, a calendar of upcoming events, perhaps a few for social media… the list goes on and on.

Most of us are guilty of this, present company included. In fact, I will admit at this very moment I currently have open: 2 browser windows, 10 individual tabs, and a variety of documents and folders. I will also admit that already, in the process of writing this post, I have switched over and responded to several emails.

In an effort to try and be efficient multi-taskers, are we actually just distracting ourselves from the task at hand?

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10 Things To Say in a Guest Blog Post


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By Brian Feinblum, Senior Vice President and Marketing Officer

To get media coverage in today’s world of book publishing one of the things the more successful authors do is write guest posts for many blogs who are open to accepting content. So just what should you say in these posts that will serve your goals?

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