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J.J. Bola Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

No Place To Call Home (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Selfless Act of Breathing (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Children's Books

Publication Order of Collections

About J.J. Bola

J.J. Bola, a British poet and educator originally from Kinshasa, currently resides in London. He’s known for three poetry collections and two novels – ‘No Place to Call Home’ (2017), along with ‘The Selfless Act Of Breathing’ (2021). Additionally, he authored a non-fiction book for young readers titled ‘Mask Off: Masculinity Redefined’ (2019) delving into masculinity and patriarchy topics. Bola’s work often delves into themes of displacement and finding one’s place in the world.

As a writer of fiction, Bola shines in crafting intricate characters and protagonists, making his stories thoroughly engaging and enjoyable to read. His unique gift lies in weaving compelling narratives that captivate readers and keep them immersed in his storytelling. Through his prose, he intricately explores the complexities of human experiences, drawing readers into thought-provoking and emotionally resonant narratives. Bola’s writing style effortlessly captures the essence of human emotions and experiences, making his work both relatable and thought-provoking.

Drawing on his diverse background and experiences, J.J. Bola infuses his writing with a depth of insight and sensitivity that resonates with readers on a profound level. His ability to depict the struggles and triumphs of his characters in a compelling and authentic manner sets him apart as a skilled and versatile writer. Bola’s works are a testament to his talent for crafting stories that resonate with readers, inviting them to explore complex themes of identity, belonging, and the human experience.

Bola’s voice carries significant weight in the literary world, resonating with readers through his powerful and thought-provoking words. His narratives delve deep into themes of empowerment, resilience, and self-discovery, sparking meaningful conversations and fostering empathy. Bola’s ability to capture the essence of human experiences and convey them with authenticity serves as a powerful tool for shedding light on societal issues and promoting understanding.

Through his writings, Bola empowers readers to explore complex emotions, navigate societal challenges, and embrace diverse perspectives, ultimately leaving a lasting impact on those who engage with his work.

Early and Personal Life

Born in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, J.J. Bola later moved to London with his family at a young age. Despite excelling in basketball during his teenage years and winning a creative writing scholarship, his inability to travel for international competitions hindered potential opportunities abroad. Completing his MA degree at Birkbeck, University of London, Bola delved into writing, drawing inspiration from his own experiences of displacement and identity.

His debut novel, ‘No Place to Call Home,’ depicts a family’s journey from the Congo to the UK as refugees, exploring themes of belonging and community formation. As an ambassador for the UNHCR and acclaimed author of ‘Mask Off: Masculinity Redefined,’ Bola’s works offer poignant reflections on masculinity and societal norms. His second novel, ‘The Selfless Act of Breathing,’ tackled systemic racism and the struggles faced by the black community, garnering both praise and critique for its emotive storytelling.

Beyond his literary ventures, Bola’s dedication to youth work and advocacy for human rights in the Congo showcase his commitment to social causes. A sought-after presence at various festivals and events, he shares his perspective and performs his work extensively, both locally and internationally. J.J. Bola’s multifaceted journey as a writer, educator, and advocate continues to inspire audiences, sparking conversations on complex issues while championing empathy and understanding.

Writing Career

The J.J. Bola Emerging Writers Prize and the Pontas was established in 2021 to support writers from diverse backgrounds, offering mentorship by Bola in collaboration with the Pontas Literary & Film Agency. The inaugural prize was shared by Bhavika Govil and Musih Tedji Xaviere.

JJ Bola has released three poetry books – ‘Elevate’, ‘Daughter of the Sun’ (an ebook), and his comprehensive collection, ‘WORD’. His work focuses on empowerment, healing trauma, self-discovery through art, literature, and poetry, emphasizing the importance of showcasing writers as much as rappers.

Bola’s novels include ‘No Place to Call Home’ (2017) and ‘The Selfless Act of Breathing’ (2021), alongside his poetry collection ‘Refuge’ (2018). With a narrative centered on humanization and resilience, Bola’s writings aim to shed light on the realities of the world and strategies for survival.

Mask Off: Masculinity Redefined

J.J. Bola’s nonfiction book ‘Mask Off: Masculinity Redefined’ was published by Pluto Press on September 30, 2019. Released as part of the ‘Outspoken’ series by the publisher, this book aligns with the series’ objective of providing a platform for various writers to address a wide array of ideas and topics.

In ‘Mask Off,’ JJ Bola challenges perceptions of masculinity as toxic and fragile, revealing it as a societal construct. Drawing on diverse cultural examples, he deconstructs historical concepts of manhood, dispelling common misconceptions. Bola delves into how different groups experience masculinity, highlighting its fluid nature influenced by political and social factors.

Through exploring various facets of life, from relationships to mental health, ‘Mask Off’ serves as a compelling call to redefine masculinity and understand its complexities.

With a fresh perspective on masculinity, Bola challenges societal norms and sheds light on its fluid nature. This book offers a compelling journey into the complexities of masculinity, making it a must-read for exploring dynamic perspectives.

No Place To Call Home

‘No Place To Call Home,’ a novel by J.J. Bola, was published through the OWN IT! imprint on June 22, 2017. The author explores themes of displacement and identity in this work. The novel marks Bola’s poignant narrative on the journey of a family seeking asylum as refugees.

In it Jean navigates a new school environment with the help of his friend James, leading to a series of troublesome escapades. Unaware of their parents’ past as refugees from political strife in Congo, Jean and his sister Marie face familial pressure to excel in their studies.

The family’s integration into British society introduces colorful characters like Tonton, sparking a journey of self-discovery, community building, and challenges looming ahead.

Readers will be engrossed in Jean’s journey through new beginnings and familial secrets, leading to self-discovery amidst cultural challenges. The novel promises a compelling exploration of community, resilience, and the pursuit of belonging.

Book Series In Order » Authors » J.J. Bola

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