There’s a review of EC Osondu’s collections of short stories – ‘Voice of America’ in the Guardian. It’s a story about Africans. Africans in America and Africans at home. EC Osondu won the Caine Prize 2009 for his story ‘Waiting’. The story goes like this:
My name is Orlando Zaki. Orlando is taken from Orlando, Florida, which is what is written on the t-shirt given to me by the Red Cross. Zaki is the name of the town where I was found and from which I was brought to this refugee camp. My friends in the camp are known by the inscriptions written on their t-shirts. Acapulco wears a t-shirt with the inscription, Acapulco. Sexy’s t-shirt has the inscription Tell Me I’m Sexy. Paris’s t-shirt says See Paris And Die. When she is coming toward me, I close my eyes because I don’t want to die..
The fascinating thing about this story is that it was first published online in Guernicamag.com. Osondu's other story 'A Letter from Home' was judged one of 'The Top Ten Stories on the Internet' in 2006. In 2007 his story 'Jimmy Carter's Eyes' was also short-listed for the Caine Prize. And this too, was first published online. These stories and others make up the new anthology – 'Voice of America'.
I am currently researching the role of the internet on emerging African writers. Most of my respondents – who are writers – talk about starting their writing careers online, before being picked up by traditional book publishers. And one of the questions I asked was: ‘Do you write differently for the web?’ The answer was no. I think Osondu is a perfect example of an emerging African writer whose writing is apt – whether you are reading it online or in print.