“I grew up obsessed with this alternate version of myself”: A conversation with Safia Elhillo

Safia Elhillo is an award-winning Sudanese-American contemporary poet and Stanford University Fellow. Author of The January Children (2017), Home is Not a Country (2021), Girls That Never Die (forthcoming), and co-editor of anthology Halal If You Hear Me (2019), her work has been recognised internationally for its originality of form and capacity for tenderness. In this interview, Safia speaks to us about the inspiration behind Home is Not a Country, her roots, and writing a world that reflects the one she grew up in.

The Perfect Nine is the first-ever title originally written in an African language longlisted for the Booker

Having been longlisted for the 2021 International Booker Prize, The Perfect Nine is the first-ever title originally written in an African language to have made the cut. Wa Thiong’o is also the first to be nominated as both author and translator of the same book. A modern take on the origin story of Kenya’s Gĩkũyũ people, The Perfect Nine is one of those rare books about history that has, itself, made history.

Bernardine Evaristo cuts her teeth on a fun verse novel

The Emperor's Babe is an irreverent and salacious romp that merges together tradition and contemporaneity in a startlingly unique way. Published almost 20 years before Girl, Woman, Other and four years before the similarly daring Blonde Roots, The Emperor’s Babe offers a distinctively different Evaristo. When not slyly winking at the reader who is equal parts befuddled and delighted, this Evaristo reveals the years of genre waywardness it took to mould her distinctive brand of literary experimentation for popular success.