Portrait of Briar Rose (contributing poet) by Sofia Runarsdotter

Sannu exceeds all expectation

It is a poetry book of love, of strength, of girlhood

It is the story of us.

Mariam Jobe, penned down intimate words which reflect the lives we live as people from the African diaspora

Lives so absent from the books, the library’s, the narratives we exist in.

Last week, in a brightly lit space, with grey concrete walls,

I attended the books release together with a crowd of up to 100 people.

There were little toddlers, teenagers, families and grandparents present.

It was not the conventional space, book or event.

There were three other small business owners,

Kekere, Mixed Grill Banjul and Mam Foon

All of Gambian Swedish heritage, collaborating with Mariama Jobe in this unique celebration of art and culture.

There were large prints displayed by Sofia Runarsdotter which evoked the sisterhood present in the room that day.

After Mariama’s mum served us all some amazing benechin, we all settled down for a conversation with the author.

Mariama is grace.

Her words,  so fluid, are expressed through her lips, in the sway of her hips and right down to her fingers as she tells us her story and reads us a few passages.

There is much to be felt in the pages of her book.

Through the laughter, and tears we shared a truly unique and intimate moment.

Mariama invites her reader into her world and we get to meet some of her friends too.

She invited the artist Natalia Murobha to read an evocative passage from the book

A passage recounting childhood in care, wanting to be loved

To motherhood and sharing forbidden love.

The poet Briar Rose also performed a few pieces around self love.

Sannu feels like the book we have all been waiting for

A book that felt intimate in a room of strangers,

A book the signals to the wind of change on the Swedish literary landscape.

By Emily Joof

Purchase Sannu from online bookstores 

From left to right: Sofia Runarsdotter, Mariam Jobe, Joanna Lemnelius, Mam Foon