Of course you know who Doreen Baingana is; I do not need to introduce her. You know that she is a US-based Ugandan writer who just won a big prize and has since been receiving the sort of media attention usually set aside for Spice Girls and Ken Lukyamuzi.
You probably saw her in the Monitor, in the Vision, at my home in Sunday Vision, probably in the Red Pepper, too, and looking resplendent and very well pomaded in African Woman.
“Baingana? That’s the chick who won the Best African book for something she wrote about fish, yeah?” you say, showing that perhaps I was too hasty and I do in fact need to introduce her.
I mean, really. Exposing ignorance like that.
Tropical Fish, Stories Out Of Entebbe, a collection of short stories, won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book Africa Region and was authored by the aforementioned.
You probably know from bitter experience, that this level of hoopla and hullabaloo is usually reserved for the undeserved (Angella Katatumba for instance) but I urge you not to shun the Baingana book on these grounds. Do not shun the Baingana book. It is extremely good.
I don’t mean good in the patronizing sense of “not bad for a Ugandan”, I mean really really really good. The woman writes phrases that make me run out of the house screaming, with smoke gushing out of my ears. This perplexes my neighbours. They wish I wouldn’t read in the nude.
Trust me on this. I am not that easy to impress when it comes to lit fic, I have read the good stuff I know what it looks like.
I was at the book launch last week. I sat at the back nattering with a friend through her reading because I enjoy a good natter and I also feel that literature should be read, not heard (the only exception is Off The Shelf) After her reading session ended, (concurrently with my nattering session) I stood in the line to get my copy autographed. As part of the small talk authors make when signing books, she said that I seemed like a quiet guy.
I digress. I mean to tell you that this book is so good that reading it will cure you of your longstanding alcohol addiction and make you conceive twins with your husband when he comes back to you.
Doreen Baingana is the woman of the year 2006