Extract from Tomorrow I’ll be Twenty

I imagine her as a young girl, turning boys’ heads. Somehow she manages to forget I’m there, and imagine it’s someone different listening to her, her eyes are somewhere above my head, not focussed on me directly. She’s talking to someone who doesn’t exist, and I think: ‘That often happens, it happens all the time, grown ups are all like that, they’re always talking to people from their past. I’m still too little to have a past, that’s why I can’t talk to myself, pretending to talk to someone invisible.’

Alain Mabanckou was born in 1966 in the Congo. He currently lives in LA, where he teaches literature at UCLA. He is the author of six volumes of poetry and six novels. He is the winner of the Grand Prix de la Litterature 2012, and has received the Subsaharan African Literature Prize and the Prix Renaudot. He was selected by the French journal Lire as one of the fifty writers to watch out for this coming century. His previous books include African Psycho, Broken Glass, Memoirs of a Porcupine, and Black Bazaar.