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Rémy Ngamije Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Eternal Audience of One (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon

Remy Ngamije is a Rwandan-born Namibina photographer and author that is best known for his debut fiction novel “The Eternal Audience of One.”

In addition to his fiction writing, he is also the administrator, chairperson, and founder of Namibia-based Doek. The organization was established to support the growth and development of the literary arts.

He also works for the “Doek! Literary Magazine” as editor-in-chief.

“The Eternal Audience” his first work was first published by Blackbird Books in South Africa and went on to become a bestselling novel.

Remy’s work has been featured in the likes of Granta, The Johannesburg Review of Books, Lolwe, American Chordata, and Brainwaves among others. He is also the winner of the Commonwealth Short Story sponsored Africa Regional Prize.

Ngamije also made the shortlist for the 2020 and 2021 AKO Caine Prize and made the shortlist and longlist for the 2020 and 2021 Afritondo Short Story Prize. He made the shortlist for the Stack Magazines sponsored best Original Fiction in 2019.

During his childhood, Remy Ngamije often got very low scores in school as he usually got between 20 – 50 percent on his tests. He often had to read that he lacked imagination from the notes his teachers scribbled on the margins of his notebooks.

However, this was like water off a duck’s back as he never tired of writing given that he was determined to become a fiction author. He was just six then and learning English following the move of his middle-class family from Kenya to Namibia.

He had been born in Rwanda but then his parents moved the family to Kenya when he was still a child. Back then, he together with his siblings had to take on a lot of pressure from parents and teachers who encouraged them to love English.

They were encouraged to write as well as they could and to work hard in school despite being so often on the move. He soon figured out that language was not only good for expressing himself but also for defending himself.

As soon as he could speak English, he could throw back barbs which swiftly leveled the playing field and took out the bullies.

Remy Ngamije credits his parents with developing in him the love for books. While he was growing up, they used to take him and his siblings to the public library every weekend.

They would be left there for the entire morning and by reading, they soon developed a curiosity for books.

While he was in the second grade, his teachers used to ask the class to pen essays on how they spent their weekends. Unfortunately for Ngamije, he came from a poor family and his weekends were pretty much the same.

Just like many families who were poor, much of his weekend was all about going grocery shopping with his mother or father, cleaning the house, and going to the library.

Given how repetitive his essays were, his teacher often believed him to be a very unimaginative student. He was discouraged by their sentiments but kept on improving his writing, even though he was severely deficient in storytelling.

One weekend, he decided that he would make up stories when writing his essay and wrote about doing fabulous things his family would never do. He was shocked when he got 90 percent on the assignment.

He would, later on, convince himself that he did not do anything wrong but was being creatively expressive. Over the years, he learned how to exercise his creativity and applied it in the writing of future works.

Ngamije gained notoriety in 2019 when he published “The Eternal Audience of One” his debut novel. The work is set in different countries across the world from Windhoek, Rwanda, Cape Town, Paris, Nairobi, and Brussels.

The novel is told by a young man who has a strange way of looking at things. Compared to Michael Chabon and Zadie Smith it has been called a compelling post-modern story.

It explores music and writing and how they can help a troubled mind to hold and gather all that the senses through experience have transformed into consciousness.

Ngamije would then go on to make the shortlist for several awards including the Morland Scholarship and would be declared the winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize.

He would make history by getting nominated and being embraced by major literary organizations unlike any other new African writer before him.

According to the author, the novel was inspired by the tumultuous time he spent as a freshman studying Construction Studies at the University of Cape Town.

Back then, he was hoping that he would be allowed to transfer to Civil Engineering, even though all he ever thought about was fiction writing.

Remy Ngamije’s novel “The Eternal Audience of One” introduces Seraphim as the lead protagonist. The character and his family are forced to relocate from their native Rwanda following the upheaval that led to the massacre of millions.

Seraphim is the son of strivers who have been working hard to ensure that their children receive an excellent education, which would result in better lives. As a youth, Seraphim is fiercely competitive and works hard in school.

However, when he joins a Cape Town-based university, he turns into a party animal. He makes use of Cliff notes to complete his reading assignments given that he spends most of his days and nights partying.

One of his best friends advises him to befriend the “Benevolent White Girls” if he wants to get access to decent notes. Somehow they have all the answers and know the code that most young Black Men could never access.
Ultimately, the work is a coming-to-age narrative in a different place and time as compared to what most western audiences are used to.

Overall, this is a hilarious and brainy work that has made Ngamije become a bestselling author compared to Zadie Smith and Chabon.

However, it can still be argued that he does not resemble either of those writers apart from the fact that he is hilarious and very literate.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Rémy Ngamije

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