The Single Story

New Books by Liberian women writers

When I decided to write my first book Janjay, I wanted to, of course, tell a story, but also to contribute to Liberian literature. Decades of civil war put a pause on literary work in Liberia. Most of the books that have come out post-conflict center around Liberia's  geopolitical affairs, history, and or memoirs as it relates to the political state of Liberia. Don't get me wrong; these stories tell real life experiences and certainly need to be told. What happened to Liberia over the course of four decades should never be forgotten or untold. However, I think it's also important to remember the role of creative writing for post-conflict development. Liberia has been plagued by conflict and most recently the Ebola crisis. Creative writing plays an essential role in the life of culture. It's time to change the Liberian narrative.

One of my favorite writers, Chimamanda Adichie said it best,

I would like to end with this thought: That when we reject the single story when we realize that there is never a single story about any place, we regain a kind of paradise.
— Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story
 

  Over the years; I have discovered a number of young Liberian women writers-- two of which have book releases this year.

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Sang Kromah

Bio: Sang Kromah is a Liberian-American author and digital storyteller who provides a digital space for women and girls to create their own narrative with Project GirlSpire. After receiving her Master's degree in Communication Arts from New York Institute of Technology, she's landed her skills to ambitious projects like Nick Kristof's "Half the Sky Documentary" and much more, but her passion project is the female-led library project she's starting in Liberia, Project READ.

New Release: Djinn

Release Date: 20 March 2018

About: Some believe that at birth, we’re each born with a guardian attached to us, watching from afar, but never seen. Truth is, there are certain people, special people, born of this world and of the other, who need that extra protection. They go their entire lives, unaware of the other world, and unaware of the existence of their own personal watcher, watching from afar. But what happens when fate takes a turn for the worse, and The One who needs the aid of a watcher most can’t be found to be protected?

Bijou Fitzroy is strange. With the unwanted gift of being an empath, she has spent her entire life as a sheltered recluse, homeschooled by her secretive and overprotective grandmother, who never allows them to stay in one place long enough for Bijou to settle and make friends. When Bijou and her grandmother move to Sykesville and she starts to attend the local high school, Bijou’s world begins to crumble. Town locals begin to disappear and the creatures from her nightmares begin to take shape in her reality. She finds herself at the center of a war she never knew was being fought all around her.

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Wayetu Moore

Bio: Wayetu Moore's debut novel, She Would Be King, will be released by Graywolf Press in September, 2018. Her memoir is also forthcoming with Graywolf.

Moore is the founder of One Moore Book. One Moore Book is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that encourages reading among children of countries with low literacy rates and underrepresented cultures by publishing culturally relevant books that speak to their truths, and by creating bookstores and reading corners that serve their communities. Her first bookstore opened in Monrovia, Liberia in 2015.

Her writing can be found in Guernica Magazine, The Rumpus, The Atlantic Magazine and other publications.  She has been featured in The Economist Magazine, NPR, NBC, BET and ABC, among others, for her work in advocacy for diversity in children’s literature.

She’s a graduate of Howard University and the University of Southern California, and is currently a Margaret Mead Fellow at Columbia University Teachers College, where she’s researching the impact of culturally relevant curriculum and learning aids in elementary classrooms of underrepresented groups. Moore is an Africana Studies lecturer at City University of New York’s John Jay College and lives in Brooklyn, NY. 

New Release: She Would Be King

Release Date: 11 September 2018

About: She Would Be King, reimagines the dramatic story of Liberia’s early years through three unforgettable characters who share an uncommon bond. Gbessa, exiled from the West African village of Lai, is starved, bitten by a viper, and left for dead, but still she survives. June Dey, raised on a plantation in Virginia, hides his unusual strength until a confrontation with the overseer forces him to flee. Norman Aragon, the child of a white British colonizer and a Maroon slave from Jamaica, can fade from sight when the earth calls him. When the three meet in the settlement of Monrovia, their gifts help them salvage the tense relationship between the African American settlers and the indigenous tribes, as a new nation forms around them.

Moore’s intermingling of history and magical realism finds voice not just in these three characters but also in the fleeting spirit of the wind, who embodies an ancient wisdom. “If she was not a woman,” the wind says of Gbessa, “she would be king.” In this vibrant story of the African diaspora, Moore, a talented storyteller and a daring writer, illuminates with radiant and exacting prose the tumultuous roots of a country inextricably bound to the United States. She Would Be King is a novel of profound depth set against a vast canvas and a transcendent debut from a major new author.

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