Atlantic Books (UK) June 2018
W. W. Norton (USA) January 2019
Watch this space for updates!
“I’m a man on a mission. A vocation, call it, to remake the past, and a wish to fashion all that has been into being and becoming.”
So says Zamani, the enigmatic and erudite lodger in Abednego and Agnes Mlambo’s home in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Bukhosi, the Mlambo’s teenage son, has gone missing, and his parents fear the worst—and most likely—possibility: that he has been disappeared by the state police. Zamani, preternaturally helpful and almost a part of the family, seems to be the Mlambos’ last, best hope to find their son. But almost isn't quite enough for Zamani. As he cajoles, coaxes and coerces his hosts into revealing their sometimes tender, sometimes brutal life stories, Zamani steeps himself in borrowed family history, keenly aware that the one who controls the narrative will inherit the future.
Deeply smart, often darkly humorous, and a political education unto itself, House of Stone is the story of a young post-colonial nation trying to find itself, told by the wall-eyed Zamani who, through wit, guile, seduction, and the sheer power of (re)invention, grapples with his past and that of his homeland Zimbabwe. An epic novel about war and revolution, power and deceit, family and love, and the thin line between fantasy and reality, told in the irresistible voice of a dangerously charming narrator.
"Novuyo Tshuma writes with an equal commitment to Joycean formal inventiveness and political conscience, and the result is absolutely thrilling." - Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You
"Tshuma writes in arresting and trenchant prose that shows a gifted artist at work." - NoViolet Bulawayo, author of We Need New Names
Novuyo Rosa Tshuma grew up in Zimbabwe, and has lived in South Africa and the USA. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop (2015), where she was awarded the Maytag and Teaching-Writing Fellowships, as well as a Rydson Award. She served as Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Iowa in 2015-2016, was a 2016 Writer-in-Residence at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and is a recipient of a prestigious 2017 Bellagio Center Literary Arts Residency Award from the Rockefeller Foundation for her novel project House of Stone. House of Stone is forthcoming in June 2018 with Atlantic Books in the UK and in January 2019 with W. W. Norton in the USA. Novuyo earned her BComm in Economics and Finance from the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa.
The recipient of the 2009 Yvonne Vera Award, Zimbabwe's short fiction prize, Novuyo's short fiction has been featured in numerous anthologies, including Where to Now, Short Stories from Zimbabwe and Kwani 08. Her debut collection, Shadows, written during late nights in her undergraduate years in Johannesburg, was published to critical acclaim in 2013 by the South African publisher Kwela. Shadows received rave reviews and was awarded the 2014 Herman Charles Bosman Prize for the best literary work in English. Shadows, which is set in both Zimbabwe and South Africa, has been utilised by scholars to gain a better understanding of Zimbabwe and its diaspora, including the African and intra-African diaspora, as well as ideas of home and belonging, inclusion and exclusion, community and alienation.
In 2014, Novuyo was named as part of Africa39, a project of the Hay Festival and the "selection of 39 writers under the age of 40 who have the potential and the talent to define the trends that will mark the future development of literature in a certain language or region," for which she was featured in The Oprah Magazine.
Awarded the 2014 Herman Charles Bosman Prize
“An impressive and important debut. Novuyo Tshuma captures an unraveling Zimbabwe in its heartbreaking times, and characters in moments of violence and tenderness. Tshuma’s fierce and unsentimental pen doesn’t flinch; she writes in arresting and trenchant prose that shows a gifted artist at work. We will be reading this writer for years to come.”
— NOVIOLET BULAWAYO, WE NEED NEW NAMES
"Shadows is a staggering work of beauty. Tshuma brings a lightness of touch to tragedy and the reality of life for 'small people' in contemporary Zimbabwe." - Chika Unigwe
"Every so often you pick up a book that calmly kicks you in the stomach, and though it hurts (damn, it hurts), you keep turning the pages because you have to. Shadows is one of those books. Just 25 years old, Novuyo Rosa Tshuma is an exciting, urgent and vital new addition to southern African literature with a maturity and wisdom that goes far beyond her age....Shadows reminds us of the power and the importance of fiction to sensitise us to both the suffering and the stoicism of others...To read Shadows is to abandon indifference." - Alexander Matthews, Aerodrome
"There is so much passion and humour and pure life force on every page that when you read the book you will find yourself giddy, dizzy and overwhelmed...Novuyo's Shadows is indeed a beautiful book, evocative of the smells, sights and sounds of Bulawayo and Johannesburg, the cities which have contributed in who she is or becoming, a writer of intelligent fiction." - Tinashe Mushakavanhu, Panorama
"Here is a tale about a dog that chases its unwanted tail, but never hoping to catch it. I have come across similar characters-in-constant-decline in Orlando Patterson's The Children of Sysiphus and Marechera's The House of Hunger. Rasta, the mbanje intoxicated artist at the Bulawayo gallery summarises it all: ‘I am coming my man…Forever coming. I never reach the place where I am going. And this is the whole point. To be forever coming.’ This does not mean that this is a depressing book. Far from it! This story is consistently underlain by a satiric comic strain. We are invited to laugh when we should be crying." - Memory Chirere, kwaChirere
"Seldom does one pick up a book not knowing much about it or its author, not expecting much, only to end up being completely bowled over. Novuyo Rosa Tshuma's Shadows did just that...This award winning fiction writer has her style down pat, enabling her to entrance the reader with her vivid prose and her poignant narrative." - Melany Bendix, Wedellsblog
"Shadows is a splendid incision into contemporary Zimbabwean lives—the 'throbbing mass,' the common folk that 'blur into a collision of colour.' Tshuma brilliantly shades the bitter, painful and incredible realities of contemporary Zimbabwe and brings into the light the lives lived in the 'shadows'." - Suvasree Karanjai, Wasafiri
"...brutal, gut-wrenching, heart-warming and funny...The breathless quality to these deeply unsettling stories depicts the psychic and physical rupture that is the common experience of many Zimbabweans...Let us hope this courageous author is well nurtured at the Iowa writing programme. Her cutting insights are told in a lovely voice. Her unrushed unfolding will be well worth the wait." - Liesl Jobson, Business Day SA
"Shadows marks the entry of an important new Zimbabwean writer, Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, onto the literary scene." - Rob Gaylard, Sunday Independent SA
Novuyo serves on the Editorial Advisory Board and is a Fiction Editor at The Bare Life Review, a journal of immigrant and refugee literature based in New York.
The First Issue of The Bare Life Review is out in May 2018! Subscribe HERE.
"Such cultural moments as ours—moments of great trauma, upheaval—are, on a large scale, akin to what we might call the moment of artistic creation: art emergent in the aftermath, in the wake, when the language with which we have previously described the world is no longer adequate to the task, and we must set about creating a new one. The moment when, like Beckett, we feel we can’t go on, and yet we go on. In this respect we might say the refugee moment is the artistic moment: one in which resides the bare kernel of renaissance." More at The Bare Life Review.
From the Rockefeller Foundation Facebook Page: "As a young, accomplished writer, Novuyo Rosa Tshuma uses the power of stories to elevate the ignored and erased and her creative writing has inspired bravery and inclusion. Meet our Bellagio Center youth resident."
In 2017, Novuyo was awarded a prestigious Bellagio Arts and Literary Arts Residency Award to work on edits for her forthcoming debut novel House of Stone.
She was among a cohort of 14 leading artists, academics and practitioners invited by the Rockefeller Foundation to their Bellagio Villa by Lake Como in Bellagio, Italy to work on her novel project as well as advance action and knowledge supporting Youth as Agents of Transformative Change. “The Bellagio Center Residency Program brings together a range of expertise and perspectives, and it is exciting to be supporting such an exceptional cohort of residents around this important topic,” said Claudia Juech, associate vice president and managing director at The Rockefeller Foundation. More on the Rockefeller Foundation site here.
Read the Rockefeller Foundation article that highlights some of the emerging insights from the residency on the power of youth connections to drive a new, more global activism HERE.
Novuyo's father, Dr Lawrence Tshuma, wrote of her when she was six: 'There are indications that she might turn out to be a bibliophile. Her mother thinks she is taking after her father. I do not disagree—modesty is one of my weak points!..." He was himself a writer, as well as a lawyer and academic; his book A Matter of (In)justice: Law, State and the Agrarian Question in Zimbabwe (SAPES, Zimbabwe 1997) looks at land tenure in Zimbabwe and was inspired by his experiences as a victim of colonialism and racism growing up in rural Matabeleland in Zimbabwe (which was then Rhodesia) in the '60s and '70s. Following his death (1961-1999), the volume Governance, Development and Globalisation: A Tribute to Lawrence Tshuma (Blackstone Press, London 2000) was compiled in his memory, including a Dr Lawrence Tshuma Prize from the University of London, where he earned his LLM law degree.
In her creative non-fiction piece about her father, A Tree and a Seed (SLQ, January 2012), Tshuma writes that she grew to love writing from the letters they used to exchange when she was a child living in Bulawayo and her father lived abroad in Rome.
Novuyo's essay, "New Lands, New Selves" is forthcoming in the essay anthology THE DISPLACED: REFUGEE WRITERS ON REFUGEE LIVES (Abrams Press, April 2018) edited by Viet Thanh Nguyen. Available for Pre-Order HERE.
"In January 2017, Donald Trump signed an executive order stopping entry to the United States from seven predominantly Muslim countries and dramatically cutting the number of refugees allowed to resettle in the United States each year. The American people spoke up, with protests, marches, donations, and lawsuits that quickly overturned the order. But the refugee caps remained.
In The Displaced, Pulitzer Prize–winning writer Viet Thanh Nguyen, himself a refugee, brings together a host of prominent refugee writers to explore and illuminate the refugee experience. Featuring original essays by a collection of writers from around the world, The Displaced is an indictment of closing our doors, and a powerful look at what it means to be forced to leave home and find a place of refuge."
Novuyo is involved in the literary arts in Africa at the conceptual level—she helped plan the inaugural Writivism Festival, which took place in 2012 and is now an annual arts and literary festival in Uganda, and where she initiated the Writivism Mentorship Programme and put into place the structures through which the programme has thrived. She is also a co-founder and former Deputy Editor of the pan-African Collective Jalada, an avante-garde literary and arts platform based in Kenya, where she helped build the structures through which the platform has thrived, and led Jalada’s editorial team on its first print anthology, the highly lauded Jalada05/Transition 123 Fear Issue, in collaboration with the Harvard based Transition Magazine.