New Old(er) Book

Kalamazoo College alumnus Teju Cole

Teju Cole ’96 (photo by Chester Higgins Jr./New York Times)

Nigerian-American Teju Cole ’96 (nom de plume of Yemi Onafuwa) is coming out with a new old(er) book. This week Random House is publishing Every Day Is For the Thief, a work of fiction Cole wrote prior to his critically acclaimed novel Open City (published by Random House in 2011). The New York Times recently published an article on Cole (“In Words and Photos, Cramming in Life,” by John Williams, March 19, 2014). The article notes the liberal arts journeys of Cole, which include an original pre-med school undergraduate pathway that morphed into his B.A. (from K) in art and art history; master’s degrees in art history and philosophy; a Ph.D. (in progress) on Northern Renaissance Art, which may or may not be completed due, in part, to his recent deep explorations of writing and photography. Cole also has written for his alma mater. LuxEsto published his story on artist Julie Mehretu ’92 in Spring of 2011. Cole took the photographs for that article as well. According to Williams, Every Day Is For the Thief was inspired by Cole’s return trip to Lagos, Nigeria, after more than a decade away. Both books have in common the voice of a wandering narrator, though Open City opens the interior life of its narrator through its stream of consciousness style. “Every Day adopts the more simple perspective of a travel journal,” wrote Williams. “Like Open City, Mr. Cole said, it includes ’versions of some things that might have happened, and then things that are completely made up, but made up to look like they are memoirish.’” Cole is currently at work on a non-fiction book about Nigeria.

Teju Cole was also the subject of a New York Times Sunday Book Review Q&A posted March 6, a New York Observer Spring Arts Preview article posted March 10, and a National Public Radio interview on March 24.