The Clinton County Reads 2021 book chosen by community ballots will be “The Girl with the Louding Voice,” the debut novel of Abi Darè that tells the inspiring story of a teenage girl, Adunni, who grows up in a rural Nigerian village.
Adunni longs to get an education so she can find her “louding voice” to speak up for herself.
A review by Booklist says, “Daré’s arresting prose provides a window into the lives of Nigerians of all socioeconomic levels and shows readers the beauty and humor that may be found even in the midst of harrowing experiences.”
The New York Times Book Review says that the author draws in the reader “with a vivid character whose dire circumstances are contrasted with her natural creativity … and her undying will to survive,” and says the “unforgettable” story is “told with verve and compassion.”
“The Girl with the Louding Voice” won the Bath Novel Award for unpublished manuscripts in 2018 and was also selected as a finalist in the 2018 Literary Consultancy Pen Factor competition.
Author Darè grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, and has lived in the United Kingdom for 18 years. She studied law at the University of Wolverhampton, has a master’s degree in international project management and a second master’s in creative writing.
Darè said the book is “really inspired by my childhood growing up in Lagos … We had lots of house maids, which were servants that work for families. Seeing all these young girls working for families was the norm. It wasn’t anything I thought about until I came over to the U.K. and had my daughters.”
This year, Clinton County Reads’ programming will kick off to coincide with National Library Week, April 4-10. This year’s events will be hosted virtually. Details of discussions and programs will be announced in early March.
The Clinton County Reads steering committee selects titles for the annual ballot based on literary merit and themes that lend themselves to programming and conversation throughout Clinton County. Other titles on this year’s ballot were: “Nickel Boys,” by Colson Whitehead; “The Bluest Eye,” by Toni Morrison; “Heavy,” by Kiese Laymon; and “Homegoing,” by Yaa Gyasi.
The committee times the announcement to allow ample opportunity to read the selection prior to the Clinton County Reads events in the spring.
About CC Reads
Clinton County Reads is sponsored by the Blanchester Public Library, the Sabina Public Library and its New Vienna branch, the Wilmington Public Library and its Clinton-Massie branch, and BooksNMore.org.
Physical copies of “The Girl with the Louding Voice” are available at each library location, and ebooks and audiobooks are available via library apps such as Hoopla, Libby, or Overdrive. The book can also be purchased through Clinton County-based BooksNMore.org
Serving on the Clinton County Reads 2021 steering committee are chairman Chris Owens, Joy Brubaker, Peggy Dunn, Eileen Brady, Joe Knueven, Bonnie Starcher, Marla Stewart, Amy Volz, and Mary Thomas Watts.