Monday, September 24, 2012

Upcoming release

We're excited to announce the imminent release of the next Blaft title, Sin Is a Puppy That Follows You Home by Balaraba Ramat Yakubu.

The book is a translation from Hausa, a language spoken by over 40 million people in West Africa. Hausa is written in two scripts: one, the ajami script, is derived from Arabic, and is used mostly for poetry and religious writings; the other, boko, is derived from the Roman alphabet, with a few extra characters (e.g. ɓ, ɗ, ƙ).

In the late 1980s in the city of Kano, Nigeria, there was a publishing boom of Hausa-language books written in boko. These popular novels were often inspired by Hindi films, which have been hugely popular among Hausa speakers for decades. (Check out this Nigerian guy who's never been to India, but learned Hindi from the movies!)

Balaraba Ramat Yakubu, who published her first novel in 1987, has been at the forefront of this Hausa popular fiction scene virtually from the beginning. With nine novels to her credit, she's recently moved into film, working in Kannywood (the Kano-based Hausa film industry).

Balaraba Ramat Yakubu
photo by Sunmi Smart-Cole

Sin Is a Puppy That Follows You Home is a translation (by Kano University professor Dr. Aliyu Kamal) of Balaraba's second novel, which came out in 1990.

It's an Islamic soap opera complete with polygamous households, virtuous women, scheming harlots, and black magic.

We think you'll like it.

Sin Is a Puppy That Follows You Home represents a number of firsts. It's the first time, as far as we know, that an English translation of a full Hausa novel has ever been published (although a short excerpt did appear before, in an excellent reader put together by Stephanie Newell from the University of Sussex.) For a language with 40 million speakers--that's comparable with Kannada, and about four times as many as Dutch--this seems long overdue.

It's also, we believe, the first time a translation of an African-language work has ever been published first in India. We like the idea of South-South literary exchange, and we wish this sort of thing would happen more often.

The book is now available for pre-order on our site, and copies should be available in Indian stores in mid-October. An ebook version will also be available worldwide next month.

In other news

A number of new books have been released recently by other publishers which feature the work of Blaft authors/artists/collaborators. Here are some of them:

The Pao Anthology of Comics 1
featuring work by Orijit Sen, Amitabh Kumar, and Vidyun Sabhaney  [all of whom were also contributors to The Obliterary Journal], Vishwajyoti Ghosh [author of Times New Roman & Countrymen], and many more

Breaking the Bow: Speculative Fiction Inspired by the Ramayana
featuring a story by Kuzhali Manickavel among many others.

(Aside: for more modern riffs on the Ramayana, check out Thai painter Jirapat Tatsanasomboon's work.)

The Taming of Women by P. Sivakami
translated from Tamil by Pritham K. Chakarvarthy, who's translated a number of books for Blaft.

Buy & support! Get them from an independent bookstore if you can.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Bangalore Comic Con

Blaft will be at Bangalore Comic Con in stall A18 at Koramangala Stadium, Bangalore, Saturday & Sunday from 10 am to 9 pm.

Meet Shyam, prolific illustrator for Tamil weekly magazines and book covers, as well as the artist behind Kumari Loves a Monster (which now has a Tumblr.)

Shyam (L) with Rashmi Ruth Devadasan and unidentified therapod

 One of Shyam's illustrations from Kumari Loves a Monster

George Mathen a.k.a. Appupen, author of Moonward, will also be there.


We'll be selling Blaft books at discount rates... as well as copies of Vidyun Sabhaney and Shohei Emura's new Captain Bijli comic "Mice Will Be Mice" and some limited edition Tamil Pulp Fiction light boxes.

See you there!