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I've never come to this store and not found at least something. Something Rae Dunn , that is. Today, she's looking for the new Valentine's line, in particular. And she knows scoring a good find means going above and beyond typical shopping tactics. It's not about finding time.

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It's about making time. Today is Wilson's day off from her job at a freight-forwarding company. But she's no stranger to the lunch-hour hustle. And today, she'll cruise through 10 stores and add miles to her odometer, over the span of an eight-hour hunt. And people want to collect everything - every piece - but they never will, because I'm continually adding new product.

After 25 years of working with pottery, Dunn has skyrocketed to a level of fame she still can't wrap her mind around in the last couple years, thanks to the popularity of the farmhouse-chic trend, and the aspirational gaze of Instagram. I'm not used to it. They asked me to sign a mug. They'll cry and act like I'm a movie star. There's no getting used to that. Since partnering with TJX, Dunn says she's sold "literally millions" of pieces.

And most are snapped off the shelf within hours, if not minutes. Here in Houston, Wilson is one of thousands of mostly women who belong to a network of secret Facebook groups dedicated to Rae Dunn shopping and swapping. Wilson first spotted a hutch full of Rae Dunn on Instagram in August, while scrolling through interior design shots inspired by Chip and Joanna Gaines's "Fixer Upper" style.

As someone who's always been passionate about design, the pieces spoke to her. But what began with buying one little bowl grew into a network of new friends she can no longer imagine her life without. Dunn Hunting has become her social scene - a place to make friends with whom she'll laugh and strategize with online at all hours, and meet up to swap mugs in person. Often in random parking lots. Wilson knows that sounds And she laughs when she tells her war stories. Like the time she and her husband drove to meet up with a Facebook friend in the parking lot of an Academy in Tomball to buy a white bowl that said "LOVE" on the side.

I didn't know what she looked like. So I was like, 'Hey, where are you parked at? I was like, 'Oh no, stranger danger. Here's the thing: Finding Rae Dunn isn't easy, and it takes a village to cobble together a collection. Since the line is only sold at TJX stores, which are known for their mish-mash inventory, it's not like a shopper will stumble upon a complete set. One day, Wilson might find a hot commodity, like the tall white pitcher that says "POUR" in long black letters.

Another day, she might only find dime-a-dozen pieces like the dog dishes that say "WOOF. Wilson has the full set of those canine ceramics at her dogless home, to round out her collection, and use for currency in trades for hard-to-find items. In total, she's amassed more than Rae Dunn pieces, making her quite the collector.

Still, since it's only been a year or so since popularity began peaking, there's no proper name for a Rae Dunn collector. Not like "philatelists," who collect postage stamps, or "numismatists," who collect coins. Rather than an official title, Wilson has a motto on a hand towel a friend made her in homage to Rae Dunn's style.

It says, "I'll never be Dunn. She has a plan: She'll check this corner first. And after a thorough look, she'll head to the back, where employees stage carts to restock the shelves. The plate is supposed to be one in a set of four, but as Wilson bobs her head through the aisle, and flicks through the stacks of dishes for anything heart-shaped, she comes up short.

I wonder if they have any more," she says, more to herself than anyone else. She sighs as her eyes scan the aisle. But the hunt is only beginning. Wilson's cart rattles with the sound of her plate click-clacking against plastic as she wheels it slowly through the serpentine aisles toward the back store room. She glances at her phone, which is already pinging with notes from her Rae Dunn Facebook group, asking whether anyone's had any luck yet.

This is the hard part. The patience. And I'm like, should I stay here a little bit longer? Or should I go to the next store," she says, scrolling through her phone.

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Although one girl text messaged me that she found stuff. She types a reply slowly, saying each word aloud as she goes. To," she says, before hitting send. I'll send her a picture of my one lonely plate. And she'll be like, 'Where's the rest? Wilson winds her way back through the store, combing through the dish aisles one final time, before heading to checkout with her solitary heart-shaped plate. Wilson raises an eyebrow. They were in red.

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Often, when someone finds desirable Rae Dunn pieces, they'll clear the shelf and load up their cart. And women are dominating, once again — I love it. The ending of the story was quite disappointing though.

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I found it anti-climatic and it left a bitter taste in my mouth. I do hope Kandie is writing a novel though! I enjoyed how accessible and lucid his writing was. All Our Lives paints the picture of poverty in a Nigerian city — from the descriptions, probably Lagos, Nigeria. They are tight spaces on ground floors in one- or two- storey buildings… Do not think we are searching for love.

Rae's Story (GI Brides Shorts, Book 4) by Duncan Barrett

Love does not exist in this city. We are men of the night. Our reward is money. Okafor describes the plight of the poor very vividly, constantly reminding readers of the dire conditions in the city. But the ending of this short story had me confused! In The Wall , readers follow an un-named young girl refugee, who recently moved to the US with her family from Ethiopia via Berlin.

She knows very little English, but is fluent in German and her mother tongue — Amharic. By chance, she meets Professor Weil aka — Herr Weil, at a community potluck who generously offers to teach the young girl English after school, and they form a beautiful friendship. While Herr Weil helps this young girl learn English, he mostly creates space for her to express herself and her feelings about her new environment — in German.

As I was reading, I was so scared that this old German man would take advantage of her in someway, but I was pleasantly surprised by his pure heart. The ending of this story had me wanting more and I will read anything Hadero writes henceforth! This year marks the third year of Arimah making the Caine Prize shortlist. I wonder why she continues to compete for the prize, given the success of her short story collection from two years ago… but then again — why not? I hope you all get a chance to read some of the stories linked above. May the best story win! Good luck to all the shortlisted candidates!

Date Read: March 5th Tenderness and cruelty, loyalty and betrayal, ambition and regret—Alexia Arthurs navigates these tensions to extraordinary effect in her debut collection about Jamaican immigrants and their families back home. Sweeping from close-knit island communities to the streets of New York City and midwestern university towns, these eleven stories form a portrait of a nation, a people, and a way of life.

In fact, out of the 11 short stories, I absolutely loved just 4 of them. I carried this book everywhere with me for the two weeks it took me to finish it. It took me forever to get my hands on this book, so I just wanted to savor every word. Reading stories about Jamaicans, mostly IN Jamaica or Jamaicans who were born and bred in Jamaica without migrating out of the Island, was definitely refreshing and inspiring. Island — This story is excellent. Island is about three girlfriends who travel to a Caribbean island for a wedding.

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One of the girls in this group is a lesbian and her friends subtly malign her throughout the trip. The tension within the friend group was palpable and maddening. On Shelf — This story was pretty ordinary from beginning to end. Light-skinned girls and Kelly Rowlands — I love that the collection commences with this story! It kept me wanting more and I eagerly anticipated reading the rest of the stories, thanks to this one.

This story follows two young women in college — NYU, who become friends unexpectedly. Cecelia is dark-skinned; upper class; only dates white men; of Jamaican heritage but was born and bred in California. I loved the sisterhood these friends shared, but I also despised the tension between them, especially when they had disagreements. The ending of this story just reminded me of gnawing issues I have with folks born and raised in their native lands versus pure Diasporans. This week in celebrating Ghanaian excellence, I chat with Edem Torkornoo as we discuss Booksie , the Booksie Box which ships worldwide!

I enjoy their company so kidlit allows me to bring my two loves together. Looking back though, I think my interest in kidlit piqued when I heard about Deborah Ahenkorah and the Golden Baobab Prize in my first year of college, so that would be I found it fascinating that Deborah had started a prize to promote African literature for children and it stuck with me. As I went through college and started working, I explored my interests and realised that I want to create entertainment books and TV shows for African children and I want that entertainment to have characters that look like the children they are for.

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You can call them my muses. The books are categorized by age ; ; years-old and subscribers can choose how often they want to receive books monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly. We work with children who are just learning to read and help them to improve their proficiency.

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On one hand, children get to read a good book, do their homework and explore their passions through engaging in creative activities. On the other hand, parents are able to bridge the gap between school and home time by leaving their children in a safe environment. We call it a win-win situation. There are a plethora of books to choose from in the year-old age category. The African kidlit space is also missing board books for babies and toddlers. ET: I remember some lines from the first book I learned to read by myself. I memorized it. In terms of experience, I think I felt accomplished reading that book because I could read it by myself.

I read it over and over again. I think this was in class two or three. Edem Torkornoo is the Founder and chief bookworm at Booksie , a pan-African book subscription service and book club for year-olds. Edem is a child at heart and likes to make people happy through food. Once again, the month of March is here! As a reader of Ghanaian heritage, I enjoy discovering new Ghanaian writers and learning about our pioneer writers. I was stuck in a position where I had to learn. How I came to possess the name of the boxer who was once the most famous and baddest man on the planet happened by accident.

I add the leaf of the cocoyam plant to dried mudfish, mushrooms and snails, and think of my indomitable ancestors. Raised by a single, independent mother, one young woman struggles with her familial inheritance and the relationship between self-sufficiency and social isolation. The links between knowing history, media and political agency in northern Ghana. Where are we going, what have we become?

Woman on a mission: Hunting the elusive Rae Dunn ceramics in Houston

Period Pain helps us navigate our South Africa. We meet Masechaba, and through her story we are able to reflect, to question and to rediscover our humanity. Kopano Matlwa is a writer and doctor I truly admire! I remember purchasing her debut — Coconut , back in But I never got around to finishing the book that year, thanks to never-ending college papers. I had many good laughs while reading this short novel! The trajectory of their friendship was quite sad and left me almost hating Nyasha, despite the fact that everyone hated her as a foreigner in South Africa.

Such stories make me feel less alone in the struggles of the training. Her conversations with God felt like the conversations very close friends have with one another — light, needy, lonely, confused, desperate. I like that the book is laced with Bible verses and showed how Chaba meditated on the verses, but practiced the opposite of what the scriptures instructed. It sort of mirrored the lifestyle of many Christians of today. It felt predictable and was tied up a little too neatly for me, hence my overall rating of 4.