When we teed off Fortunate Traveller, our travel journal, from the University of Benin, Ugbowo Campus five years ago, we wanted to add value and bring focus to African travel writing. We particularly wanted to curate new voices and help identify promising travel writers to a wider readership and publishers. With you, our readers, we have come a long way together on this mission. Although we still have a long way to go together in expanding the travel writing corpus, we appreciate your attention and devotion to our journal. Travel writing is solely what we are here for and African travel writing, especially, is our focus. We hope that both our work and that of others writing in this field will expand its importance. It is not a cliché that travel writing does not easily yield to a definition, and so we won’t attempt a definition either. Rather, we hope the work we curate will define the genre for you.
So, it is our pleasure to announce the release of our new titles: Government Pikin: An Anthology of NYSC Travels Vol I, edited by Sanusi Anselm and Sami Tunji; Displacement and Rediscovery by Uzo Dibia; and In the Jaws of Soton Central by Ranka Primorac. These books, an anthology and two digital chapbooks, signal a new approach in our publishing. Until now, we had been strictly web-based. These new ventures into print push us into new directions within the scope of our mission statement: to identify new voices and create value out of travel narratives.
For Government Pikin, we had the pleasure of working with Sanusi Anselm and Sami Tunji, both former corps members of the NYSC scheme. The unfettered and uninfluenced writings contained in this volume – the first volume of, we hope, many to come – are significant in today’s context. Since the Biafra War of 1967-70, the nation of Nigeria has been a very fragile union. The stories in this volume trace the benefits, misgivings and banalities of the NYSC scheme that was created after the Biafra War to foster national unity among the various ethnic groups of the federation.
Displacement and Rediscovery, a travel essay by Uzo Dibia, is about the author’s trip to Dublin for a medical conference in which he stole the opportunity to explore the city of Dublin, caught up with a long time friend and childhood memories. Uzo Dibia’s voice is assured, his writing fluent, as memory gains prominence in navigating airports and cities, together with the unjust baggage that is attached, in today’s world, to being a black traveller moving through spaces. Ranka Primorac’s In the Jaws of Soton Central is a book of photography and other musings that trace her journeys back and forth to the University of Southampton, to which she commutes for work. The musings are academic, as the narrative style of the author, and they create images across continents of everyday sights, as well as of intellectuals and writers such as Amos Tutuola, Dubravka Ugrešić, Taban Lo Liyong.
We would like to thank everybody who assisted us on these book projects, particularly the authors and contributors for their patience – Uzo and Ranka, you guys are the best – and also the copyeditor, Joy Chime.
The two chapbooks are available for free download on the Fortunate Traveller website in three formats: pdf, epub and Kindle. The anthology is for sale on Amazon and Okada Books. You may consider your purchase as a generous contribution to continue the work we do at Fortunate Traveller.
We invite you: come, travel in these stories. We hope you enjoy them.
Read and download the books here:
In the Jaws of Soton Central: pdf