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Zimbabwean Writer Novuyo Rosa Tshuma on Choosing to Publish in South Africa

ShadowsAhead of the 2014 Caine Prize for African Writing Workshop taking place in Zimbabwe, Fungai Machirori from the Munyori Literary Journal spoke to Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, who took part in the Workshop in 2010.

Tshuma is the author of Shadows, a novella and short story collection, and she tells Machirori why she published her book in South Africa instead of the country of her birth, Zimbabwe. She also speaks about why there is “a dearth of young voices in Zimbabwe’s literary landscape”, saying that she knows several talented young writers who she hopes will do something with their talent. “The most important thing is the will to write; one simply has to be willing to write, to make time to write, and to make time to improve one’s writing, and to seek opportunities and spaces that may improve one’s writing,” she says.

Machirori asks her about incorporating Zimbabwe’s socio-political themes into her work, questioning whether she feels confined by them and whether a narrative of the country void of these themes can still be “authentic”. Tshuma replies that: “I encourage every writer to discard this word from their vocabulary when writing. There are many different Zimbabwes, different ways of seeing Zimbabwe; they are as many as are the pens currently imagining that space into existence. I don’t feel confined at all,” Tshuma replies.

Fungai Machirori(FM): You took part in the Caine Prize Workshop in 2010. Would you say it benefitted you in terms of your writing and exposure? Can you explain?

Novuyo Rosa Tshuma (NRT): It did benefit my writing. I was 22 at the time, and that setting where writers have their works read and critiqued by fellow participants, as well as the one on one sessions with the animateurs, was useful to my story and my writing process.

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Image courtesy Lauren Beukes


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