Friday, 23 August 2019

New Release Spotlight: The Oshun Diaries by Diane Esguerra

The Oshun Diaries by Diane Esguerra

High priestesses are few and far between, white ones in Africa even more so. When Diane Esguerra hears of a mysterious Austrian woman worshipping the Ifa river goddess Oshun in Nigeria, her curiosity is aroused.
It is the start of an extraordinary friendship that sustains Diane through the death of her son and leads to a quest to take part in Oshun rituals. Prevented by Boko Haram from returning to Nigeria, she finds herself at Ifa shrines in Florida amid vultures, snakes, goats’ heads, machetes, a hurricane and a cigar-smoking god. Her quest steps up a gear when Beyoncé channels Oshun at the Grammys and the goddess goes global.
Mystifying, harrowing and funny, The Oshun Diaries explores the lure of Africa, the life of a remarkable woman and the appeal of the goddess as a symbol of female empowerment.

Readers can order the book from the Lightning Books website at 30% off (with free UK p&p) if you enter this code at checkout – BLOGTOUROSHUN
Amazon UK      Amazon US 

The following extract is from the opening chapter of The Oshun Diaries:

Memory is visceral. All I can recall, about the drive into the southern Nigerian town of Oshogbo that November afternoon in 1986, is the screech of worn tyres on khaki-coloured roads, the all-pervading dust, the torrid heat and the rivulets of sweat trickling down the back of the albino driver’s neck. After the 150-mile drive from Lagos on a gridlocked highway I was desperately thirsty and dying for a pee. So intent was I on finding somewhere to satisfy my bodily needs that I scarcely took in my surroundings. Victorian explorer Henry M Stanley used ‘dark’ in the title of his book Through the Dark Continent to describe that which is mysterious and unknown. Little did I realise, that day, that this would be the start of my journey into a dark, hidden Africa.
Pulling up outside her home – if you could call it a home – was a different matter. After all these years the image of that baroque, semi-dilapidated Portuguese-colonial edifice with alien-like carvings clinging to its walls remains soldered to my brain.
Something in me hesitated before knocking on her front door; a crisis of confidence, I suppose. I’d given no thought as to how I was going to present myself to the woman I’d travelled all this distance to meet. As an English writer and performance artist with a keen interest in anthropology? The ex-wife of an architect working in Lagos? The truth of the matter is that on that first visit my motive for wanting to meet her was essentially a monetary one. I was broke. I hoped that this woman whose door I was now banging on would be a worthy enough subject to merit a documentary proposal.
Come away. Your persistence may anger her,’ Ebis advised, leading me gently back to the car. ‘Let us take some refreshment and return later.’
In the windowless, earthen-floored bar with its ineffective plastic fly-screen and unwiped tables we sipped Fanta and chewed on stale Lincoln biscuits.
I let out a sigh. ‘I can’t believe I’ve come all this way for nothing.'
Ebis smiled. ‘No journey is ever wasted.’

Diane Esguerra is an English writer and psychotherapist. For a number of years she worked as a performance artist in Britain, Europe and the United States, and she has written for theatre and television. She is the recipient of a Geneva-Europe Television Award and a Time Out Theatre Award. She is previously the author of Junkie Buddha, the uplifting story of her journey to Peru to scatter her late son’s ashes.
She lives in Surrey with her partner David.
Giveaway to Win 5 x PB copies of The Oshun Diaries (UK Only)
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