Africa Fiction


H/T Black Looks
I’d like to present Diriye Osman’s ‘The Kitchen Sessions: Earthling’.

I was so pleased to come across this reading of a story that features…wait for it…African Muslim lesbians. AFRICAN! MUSLIM! LESBIANS! I did not realise how long I’ve been waiting for fiction with African lesbians born into Muslim families until I came across this.

Originally published in Kwani? Magazine, ‘Earthling’ was described by The Daily Telegraph as “A moving exploration of family, sexuality and mental breakdown.” It follows the life of Zeytun, a schizophrenic Somali lesbian, whose fraught relationship with her estranged sister, Hamdi, comes to a head when Zeytun decides to gatecrash Hamdi’s wedding…
Recorded in one take, this is by no means a definitive recording of this story. It is a demo and in that sense, It is raw. emotional and messy.

I love that Zeytun is in a relationship with Mari, who is Somali-Japanese. Why? Because yeah, Blasian relationships aren’t only Black woman, Asian man…and either way Mari identifies as Somali which means that this is a relationship between two Somalis which is great again because of reasons. I’ve read my share of lesbian fiction and I’ve come across (and bypassed) lots of lesbian fiction that are interracial (i.e Black woman/white woman). I think those with the most ethnically diverse characters I’ve read, have been Steampowered: Steampunk Lesbian Stories and Steampowered II. So to listen to a story about a Somali lesbian in a relationship with another Somali was just awesome.

However, that is not the only thing that is awesome about Earthling. I found the details of Zeytun’s disability haunting and not-cringe-worthy, I also enjoyed her following through her relationship with her sister. I’ve found that I have a weakness for works of fiction that follow familial relations.

I snooped around, searching for more works by Diriye Osman and I was not disappointed! While I haven’t had the time to listen to all the recordings below, they all sound interesting.

‘Ndambi’ was published in the November 2011 issue of ‘Bedford Square,’ an anthology from the Creative Writing MA program at Royal Holloway, University of London. The story focuses on a young Somali lesbian, who’s determined to find freedom and a sense of fulfillment against difficult odds.

Cat Power has been re-imagined as a particularly hard-edged Somali drag queen that takes drastic measures when the self-righteous head nurse of the mental hospital where he works at enlists a young, violent patient to harass him…

“Shoga!’ was originally published in November 2011 by ‘Attitude’ Magazine. The story is about a Somali teenager living in Kenya with his overprotective grandmother, Ayeeyo. When Ayeeyo hires a charismatic houseboy called Boniface, the two men embark on a dangerous affair that threatens to upend their lives…’



  1. lol this guy was in my class at school! He was definitely destined to be an artist or fashion designer. Small world

  2. I just wanted to thank you so much for posting these stories, especially Earthling. Have you heard of the South African Botswana-based author Bessie Head? I’m doing part of a PhD on her, and these stories remind me of her. She’s got a novel, Question of Power, which deals really powerfully with schizophrenia from the inside (and she uses schizophrenia to attack all forms of prejudice and authority)…there’s a really strong queer flavour to that text, and she’s definitely taking gender apart, but the queerness stays in the subtext. It made me really, really, really happy to listen to Earthling. (Also, I just found your blog today, and it is my new favourite.)

    1. You’re welcome Elinor, I’ve heard of Bessie Head and I recall purchasing one of her works last year however I’m yet to read it 🙁 I’ll have to check out Question of Power.

      Thank you very much for liking my blog!

Comments are closed.