The Making and Re-making of Zimbabwe
Sunday 1 July, British Library
11:30 – 12:45
With Panashe Chigumadzi and Novuyo Rosa Tshuma. Chaired by Ranka Primorac.
Spanning fifty tumultuous years in southern Africa, Novuyo Rosa Tshuma’s debut novel House of Stone (Atlantic Books, 2018) is a deeply smart, wildly inventive and often darkly humorous novel about cuckoos in the family nest and the murderous need to belong. In her essay These Bones Will Rise Again (Indigo Press, 2018), Panashe Chigumadzi combines bold reportage, memoir and critical analysis to reflects on the 2017 ‘coup that was not a coup’, the telling of history and manipulation of time and the ancestral spirits of two women – her own grandmother and Mbuya Nehanda, the grandmother of the nation. Both works explore the interactions between the world of spirits, politics, and the self, and at this critical juncture in Zimbabwe’s history, offer inventive new ways of telling the nation’s story.
House of Stone by Novuyo Tshuma (Atlantic Books, 2018)
Bukhosi has gone missing. His father, Abed, and his mother, Agnes, cling to the hope that he has run away, rather than been murdered by government thugs. Only the lodger seems to have any idea. Zamani has lived in the spare room for years now. Quiet, polite, well-read and well-heeled, he’s almost part of the family – but almost isn’t quite good enough for Zamani. Cajoling, coaxing and coercing Abed and Agnes into revealing their sometimes tender, often brutal life stories, Zamani aims to steep himself in borrowed family history, so that he can fully inherit and inhabit its uncertain future.
Novuyo Rosa Tshuma is the author of the novel House of Stone (Atlantic Books, UK, June 2018, W. W. Norton, USA, January 2019). In 2017, she was a resident fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center which supported work on her novel. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop (2015), where she was a Maytag Fellow and a recipient of a Rydson Award for Excellence in Fiction, she is a native of Zimbabwe, and has lived in South Africa and the USA. Shadows, her short story collection, was published to critical acclaim by Kwela in South Africa (2013) and awarded the 2014 Herman Charles Bosman Prize for the best literary work in English. Novuyo’s writing has been featured in numerous anthologies, most recently ‘The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives,’ edited by Viet Thanh Nguyen. She is a former Deputy Editor at Jalada Africa, and currently serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of The Bare Life Review, a journal of refugee and immigrant literature based in New York. www.novuyotshuma.com.
These Bones Will Rise Again by Panashe Chigumadzi (Indigo Press, 2018)
In November 2017 the people of Zimbabwe took to the streets in an unprecedented alliance with the military. Their goal, to restore the legacy of Chimurenga, the liberation struggle, and wrest their country back from over thirty years of Robert Mugabe’s rule. In an essay that combines bold reportage, memoir and critical analysis, Zimbabwean novelist and journalist Panashe Chigumadzi reflects on the ‘coup that was not a coup’, the telling of history and manipulation of time and the ancestral spirts of two women – her own grandmother and Mbuya Nehanda, the grandmother of the nation.
Panashe Chigumadzi was born in Zimbabwe and grew up in South Africa. In 2016 best-selling debut novel Sweet Medicine (BlackBird Books 2016) won the K Sello Duiker Literary Award (SA). Her work has appeared in titles such as The New York Times (USA), Transition (USA), The Guardian (UK), Die Ziet (Germany) , Spiegel (Germany), City Press (SA) and The Sunday Times (SA). @panashechig.
Ranka Primorac teaches African Literature at the Department of English, University of Southampton, UK. She lived and studied in Zimbabwe for nine years, and she has written widely about Zimbabwe’s literature and culture; her book The Place of Tears is a benchmark publication in the area of Southern African literary and cultural studies. Together with Stephanie Newell, she edits the Boydell and Brewer monograph series African Articulations.