Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi: Uganda’s First Woman of Fiction
Ugandan short story writer and novelist Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi burst onto the scene when she won The Kwani? Manuscript Project in 2013 with her first novel Kintu. Since then, she’s garnered legions of readers and accolades including a Commonwealth Short Story Prize and, in 2018, a Windham Campbell Prize. Her work is celebrated for its links to oral traditions as well as its incisive critiques of contemporary Ugandan politics.
For this event, she discusses her latest novel, The First Woman, with editor and culture columnist of The Economist Fiammetta Rocco. Makumbi's brilliantly realised story follows the young headstrong Kirabo as she comes to understand her place in the world, and her identity as a woman.
In the words of Caine Prize-winning author Namwali Serpell: ‘With wry wisdom, great humour, and deep complexity, Makumbi has created a feminist coming-of-age classic for the ages, sure to join the company of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions, and Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet.’
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