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Dreams and Assorted Nightmares
Zango is a surreal town where men, some with erect manhoods, die when leaves fall from a life tree.
Zango is both setting and spectre for ‘Dreams and Assorted Nightmares’, a collection of interconnecting short stories which explore the spaces between life and death and beyond.
There’s a poignant story of a special needs boy with prescience; another about the family of a philandering artist trying to pick up the pieces after his violent death; one of a teen forced to make a heart-breaking choice after her mother disappears; and another about a woman who reveals a terrible secret to her childhood friend who is in a coma. The characters come richly-layered and memorable — like Naznine who had but slowly lost the most perfect smile in the world; new bride, Nana Aisha, left alone to face armed marauders who invade her home; and brigands, Audu Kore and Maimuna Dajjaj, who share a pure and precious love.
The stories mostly feel mystical and dark, but the palpable compassion with which they are written give them warmth and light. Like rivulets, the stories easily flow into each other, aided by Ibrahim’s signature hypnotic writing and majestic prose. This is a collection to savour especially for its many enigmas — the silent poetry and tragedies of everyday life, the darkness and tenderness of the human mind, and the crossroads between dreams and the supernatural.
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Abubakar Adam Ibrahim is a Nigerian creative writer and journalist. His debut short-story collection The Whispering Trees was longlisted for the inaugural Etisalat Prize for Literature in 2014, with the title story shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing.
Ibrahim has won the BBC African Performance Prize and the ANA Plateau/Amatu Braide Prize for Prose and in 2014, he was selected for the Africa39 list of writers aged under 40 with potential and talent to define future trends in African literature.
His first novel, Season of Crimson Blossoms, won the Nigerian Prize for Literature, Africa’s largest literary prize in 2016.
He is the Features Editor at the Daily Trust newspaper. Ibrahim’s reporting from North-East Nigeria has won particular critical acclaim. In May 2018 he was announced as the winner of the Michael Elliot Award for Excellence in African Storytelling, awarded by the International Center for Journalists, for his report “All That Was Familiar”, published in Granta magazine.