Zoë Wicomb

Zoë Wicomb’s subtle, lively language and beautifully crafted narratives explore the complex entanglements of home, and the continuing challenges of being in the world.

Zoë Wicomb was born in South Africa and lives in Glasgow, Scotland. Though Wicomb left South Africa for England as a young woman, her fiction demonstrates an ongoing preoccupation with and deep insight into apartheid and its legacies. In prose hailed by Toni Morrison as “seductive, brilliant, and precious,” Wicomb’s first book of stories You Can’t Get Lost in Cape Town (1987) articulates the experience of mixed-race (“coloured”) South Africans under apartheid. In her two subsequent novels, David’s Story (2000) and Playing in the Light (2006), and her story collection The One that Got Away (2008), Wicomb widens her focus to explore the persistent influence of race and gender in shaping South African life in a post-apartheid society and an increasingly interconnected world. Wicomb is an emeritus professor at the University of Strathclyde.

Impossible. For a minor writer like myself, this is a validation I would never have dreamt of. I am overwhelmed—and deeply grateful for this generous prize. It will keep me for several years, and it will speed up the writing too since I can now afford to go away when the first draft proves difficult to produce in my own house. ZOË WICOMB