Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

Fiction

2018

Uganda/United Kingdom

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi opens up a bold and innovatory vista in African letters, encompassing ancient wounds that disquiet the present, and offering the restitution to be found in memory and ritual.

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi is a Ugandan novelist and short story writer living in Manchester, England. Her debut novel, Kintu, won the Kwani? Manuscript Project Award in 2013, and was subsequently published by Transit Books (US) and Oneworld Publications (UK/Commonwealth). Kintu tells the parallel stories of the fall of a cursed bloodline—the titular Kintu clan—and the rise of modern Uganda. With an extraordinarily ambitious and agile narrative voice that blends traditional oral storytelling with folk tales, mythology, and biblical elements, Makumbi delivers an incisive critique of contemporary Ugandan class, politics, and religion. Critic Aaron Bady has said that Kintu is a novel about how “all families are built out of silences and fictions.” Kintu traces the lineages of these lacunae, in the process charting new possibilities for the future of the African novel. Makumbi has a PhD in African Literature from Lancaster University, and has taught creative writing at colleges and universities around the United Kingdom. Her collection of short stories, Love Made in Manchester, is forthcoming from Transit Books in January 2019.

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"This prize for me is like having been working without pay for a long time and then someone comes a long and says, 'Will a salary for the past ten years do?' Then you're left speechless."
Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi