Photographer Glenna Gordon shares beautiful pictures and stories of Hausa women writing romance fiction stories in the shadow of Islamist censors and militants in northern Nigeria.
Glenna Gordon who spent two years documenting life in northern Nigeria captured the lives of these brilliant and entrepreneurial women behind the "littattafan soyayya” – meaning “literature of love” , a special kind of story telling that revolves around love and marriage in northern Nigeria.
But not all the stories are Mills and Boons-style fantasies: some are subversive or political, tackling subjects like child marriage and trafficking.
Many of these photographs, including others of day-to-day life in the north was recently published in a book titled Diagram of the Heart.
According to Buzz Feed, the movement was born in the northern capital of Kano in 1990, when author Balaraba Ramat Yakubu published Sin Is A Puppy That Follows You Home. The novel was based on her experiences of being a child bride before being divorced and destitute by the time she was 19 years old.
There is so much that is amazing about Soyayya novels. Like Nollywood, the success of these writings has depended solely on informal book markets and grassroots support. Without the backing of established publishing houses, these writers have been able to build a vibrant literary industry. Brittle Paper added.
It is refreshing to see that the 'North' which is often referred to as that 'backward place in Nigeria', is working so hard to write, produce, circulate, and consume African romance fiction stories.