The Mantle publishes nonfiction and literary fiction by emerging writers from around the world, with a focus on authors from Africa.
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Auguste Rodin (Austria; Europe) by Rainer Maria Rilke. (March 2020) Sculptor Auguste Rodin was fortunate to have as his secretary Rainer Maria Rilke, one of the most sensitive poets of our time. These two pieces discussing Rodin’s work and development as an artist are as revealing of Rilke as they are of his subject. Written in 1902 and 1907, these essays mark the entry of the poet into the world of letters. Rilke’s description of Rodin sheds light on the profound psychic connection between the two great artists, both masters of giving visible life to the invisible.
Critical Editions are forgotten or overlooked texts from yesterday that resonate today. Each work of fiction or nonfiction is accompanied by a fresh introduction that puts the narrative in context for contemporary times. What's more, the small books fit neatly into your back pocket. Click here to see the titles in this series.
Dear Upright African (pan-African) by Donald Molosi. "Upright African, we need a revolution in education to take our history back into our hands, and to perform it through our eyes for humanity and ourselves. Without question, our African histories are under siege by those who would rather we believed that Africa has no history and that colonialism is over."
Sweden (New Zealand) by Matthew Turner. As war rages in Vietnam, a group of American deserters holed up in Japan plot their escape with help from local peace activists. Their destination: Sweden. This eye-opening debut novel sheds light on a part of American history you never knew.
When We Let People Die: The Failure of the Responsibility to Protect (U.S.A.) by Corrie Hulse. A collection of essays that examines the shortcomings in the implementation of the doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect, and what might be done to remedy international complacence in the face of mass atrocities.
Forbidden Fruit (Kenya) by Stanley Gazemba. A delicious tale of greed, lust, and betrayal, Stanley Gazemba’s Forbidden Fruit is more than a dramatic tale of rural life in western Kenya. The moral slips and desperate cover-ups—sometimes sad, sometimes farcical—are the stories of time and place beyond the village of Maragoli. Gazemba's novel, previously published in Kenya as The Stone Hills of Maragoli (Kwani? 2010), won the prestigious Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature.
The Sound of Things to Come (Nigeria) by Emmanuel Iduma. This breakthrough novel illuminates the complex interconnectedness of several lives in modern day Nigeria. Loosely centered on the activities of a church, it becomes apparent there are several centers of the universe. Told from various points of view, the unconventional form breaks free from the strictures of linear narratives we've come to expect from the contemporary novel. For the rising generation of Nigerian writers, Iduma's work truly is the sound of things to come.
We Are All Blue (Botswana): Two plays – Motswana: Africa, Dream Again and Blue, Black and White – by award-winning actor and playwright Donald Molosi, including a foreword by Quett Masire, former president of Botswana.
Blue, Black and White (2011), the longest running one-man show in Botswana’s history, was the first-ever Botswana play staged off-Broadway in New York City, where Molosi won a best actor award. BBW is about the country’s first democratically-elected president, Sir Seretse Khama, and his interracial, transformative marriage. Winner of several awards, the play has been performed around the world.
Motswana: Africa, Dream Again is the story of Botswana and its people as they transition from a British colony to an independent state. The play premiered off-Broadway in 2012 where it won an award at the United Solo Festival, the world’s largest solo theatre festival. Written, directed, and performed by Molosi, the play has been performed across the U.S. and is on tour in Botswana and South Africa.
Gambit: Newer African Writing is a unique collection of nine interviews and original short stories by emerging writers from across Africa. The stories in this anthology reflect the nuances that arise from living in a post-postcolonial Africa, where stereotypes are crumbling and writers are willing to tackle themes that are more social than political. Unlike other anthologies of African writing, Gambit's contributors are mostly based in their home countries, putting them closer to the themes they lyrically confront. The interviews provide insight into the writers' inspirations, fears, hopes, and craft. The short stories reveal a range of experiences that are alive with grace, resilience, and humor. Gambit is one way to rediscover today's writing from the African continent. Learn more.
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