Exeter meets at a junction with Africa

A debut novel which moves between Exeter and West Africa forms the basis of a story written by University of Exeter PhD student, Ginny Baily. 

Copies of ‘Africa Junction’ sold out at a recent launch event at a London bookshop and, on Tuesday 10th May, the University of Exeter will host an evening of readings and music to celebrate the publication.

Ginny is a long-time Exeter resident who happens also to edit the Africa Research Bulletin: her novel brings together two places she loves.  The book tells the story of Adele, a young woman living in Exeter, and her quest for redemption in modern Africa. The novel developed from a single image of a troubled young woman looking in the mirror and seeing there, instead of her own reflection, that of someone else - an African woman.

Ginny explained, “I had that image in my mind for a long time before I started to see how to develop it but it’s at the heart of the story because it opens a door between an African world and a British one. My editorial work on the Africa Research Bulletin provided me with a lot of dry background facts and my own experiences of travelling in Africa had a huge impact on me and gave me the sensory detail that could bring it to life.”

She added, “The novel synthesises these two aspects of my experience of Africa. It closes the gap between some of the big African stories we know from a distance - of AIDS, war, famine, migration and the human reality of them.”

Leading novelist Philip Hensher, who is a professor in English at the University of Exeter, has endorsed the book. He said, “This will be one of the most striking debuts of 2011.”

The Exeter launch of ‘Africa Junction’takes place on Tuesday 10th May at the University of Exeter’s Queens Building on the Streatham Campus. Tickets are  £3.50, are available from the Phoenix and include a glass of wine.

An interview with Ginny which tells more about the book and the inspiration behind it can be read at the South West Literature website, Cypress Well. Ginny will also be signing copies of the book at the Roman Gate branch of Waterstones in Exeter High Street on May 21st. 

Date: 10 May 2011

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