FagunwaThis is a book that I have been trying to find for a number of years. Happily, those clever people at City Lights Books have taken the bull by the horns and are re-publishing this seminal work of African literature – D.O. Fagunwa’s Forest of a Thousand Daemons. Here is an extract from the publisher’s description of the novel:

“A classic work of African literature, Forest of a Thousand Daemons is the first novel to be written in the Yoruba language. First published in Nigeria in 1939, it is one of that country’s most revered and widely read works, and its influence on Nigerian literature is profound, most notably in the works of Amos Tutuola. A triumph of the mythic imagination, the narrative unfolds in a landscape where, true to Yoruba cosmology, human, natural, and supernatural beings are compellingly and wonderfully alive at once: a world of warriors, sages and kings; magical trees and snake people; spirits, Ghommids, and bog-trolls. Here are the adventures of Akara-ogun, son of a brave warrior and wicked witch, as he journeys into the forest, encountering and dealing with all-too-real unforeseen forces, engaging in dynamic spiritual and moral relationships with personifications of his fate, projections of the terrors that haunt man…”

As the publisher goes on to note, it is Nobel Prize-winning author Wole Soyinka who translates this text for us – something he managed while imprisoned during the Nigerian Civil War in the 1960s. In this revised edition, he also provides us with an essay on the special challenges of translating Fagunwa’s novel into English.

The final extraordinary element that makes this an absolutely essential purchase for all those interested in African literature is that the text is illustrated by acclaimed Nigerian print-maker Bruce Onobrakpeya. Well done City Light Books!

You can pre-order your copy now by clicking on the image on the left. The release date is 26 September, 2013.