Hello everyone, Happy New Year! and welcome to our 24/7 year! As promised here is my 2023 reading list. Most of these are essays and short stories. Where a full length is being mentioned, it will annotated. As an editor, one of my greatest joys is reading and curating pieces I believe are worth reccomending. As a house rule, I implore you to look through our catalogue for wonderful literature. Some of these feature in the list but so as to not be self serving, I read very far and very wide. Here are the notables. 

  1. The ND Papers by the Pencilmarks house.
  2. The intimacy of words by Uche Peter Umezurike (A tender tender read)
  3.  Too dystopian for whom? by Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki (Shook me up) 
  4. Things the world didn’t tell you by Howard M-B Maximus
  5. New York my village by Uwem Akpan (full length) I have met Father Uwem in person, he is so delightful and this was a wonderful return. )
  6. They live here by HT JAGI
  7. How to know what you really want by the Psych guides
  8. Vagabonds! by Elogosha Osunde (I really like this book)
  9.  The death of you, me, us by Anthony Azekwoh (on medium)
  10.  I ran out of feminist fuel and ran into my freedom: newsletter entry by the grls on substack (I liked this piece so much I mirrored it for a tape of mine and I remember exactly where I was when I read it for the first time)
  11. Janelle Monáe: Living out loud
  12. Zoe Whittall: Did My Girlfriend Lie About Having Cancer?
  13. Resonance, A short story anthology curated by the Pencilamarks House
  14. Claire Armistead for the guardian: Nigerian author Ayòbámi Adébáyò: ‘I don’t want to be read for some kind of anthropology’
  15. On Death, Music and Motherhood: Björk & Ocean Vuong in Conversation, published in AnOther Mag. (Life changing piece tbh some parts of it are in my journal and I have quoted it relentlessly in my newsletter. 
  16. Me her & a glass of bourbon tari by Tarinabo Diete on medium
  17. Dear Ijeawele by Chimamanda Adichie
  18. The situationship by simioluwa kunle-oni
  19. Like stars daring to shine by Somto Ihezue
  20. Why are there so many trans people by Eric Sentell (I reccommend this essay if you want to understand trans activism and learn empathy)
  21. An overthinkers guide to starting afresh by Amirah, published by pencilmarks
  22. On the quest for originality, recombine the familiar by Adam Alter (really resourceful to me as a writer)
  23. Ocean Vuong: I don’t believe a writer should write for as long as they are alive by Kaddish Morris (Yes I am obsessed with Ocean)
  24. Centering Security Studies Around Felt, Gendered Insecurities by Laura Sjoberg (I loved this essay so much, truly intelligent) 
  25. The audacity to write from the margins by Innocent Chizaram Ilo
  26. Your attention didn’t collapse, it was stolen by Johann Hari (I read this in June of last year if I rememebr correctly and thus began my social media purge)
  27. Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke (The most uprooting thing I read last year. Still have it in my emotional bedside table stack! and my copy is annotated as hell) 
  28. The yellow wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (Read this nearly a decade ago, didnt really grasp it but I did now and I loved it)
  29. Gods children Are Little Broken Things by Arinze Ifeakandu (Read this mostly in one weekend on the London Underground, I adored it, my fave story is the one about the musician) 
  30. What we talk about when we talk about love by Raymond Carver (a little musing, I got to know about this book through a film i love; stuck in love 2012 and years later in a cute bookshop in Oxford, i saw it on the shelves. Of course, I bought it. The second story is my best) 
  31. Fleabag is embracing the female gaze by ida Nariman (medium)
  32. Love in the time of cholera by Gabriel García Márquez (full length) (In my books there is nothing as exciting as romance, pure undiluted raw dogged romance and this book delivered) 
  33. The brittle paper anthology on AI  and creativity (honestly, the essays in this are so brilliant I praised the authors on twitter. The short stories are great too!)
  34. The feminist by Tony Tulathimutte (This short story is so brilliantly written and it confronts us often. It confronted me so much I wrote two banger essays that brought me wide purveyance. I am of the opinion that it is brilliant because of how transparent it is) 
  35. The Hunt for Romance during the Holidays by Clara Jack. 
  36. Thats how it should go by Lola Mimi, published by the Pencilamarks House.

Newsletters I consume periodically. (They can all be found on Subustack or beehive) 

Bits of wonder

Bookbear express

Don’t look down

Letters from a Luftmensch

A love letter to you

Mind mine

Poetry unbound

Saving faith


Things that don’t suck

Just a girl

Ink love and life

Memoirs of Middles. 

There you have it, this is what Clara read in the year 2023. 


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Pencilmarks and Scribbles Magazine was founded in 2017 by Clara Jack to be a home for African writers, asking them to come as they are and giving them room for growth. The publication aims to give back to the Nigerian Literary scene for the things it has given us.