"Tshuma writes in arresting and trenchant prose that shows a gifted artist at work." - NoViolet Bulawayo
On 'Big Pieces, Little Pieces':
‘…a wonderful piece of creative writing, la violencia, machismo, domination of women by men, stubborn women, sensitive children, violence against self and others, fragility and power, terror in the house, malehood and femalehood etc.’ – Chenjerai Hove
'Here is clear evidence of big talent at work, Talent with a capital T!’ – Elinore Morris
'Precocious talent, Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, in this story – as with all her previous works – is a sculptor of words.' - Jera, The Zimbabwean
‘…excellently catches the nervous anticipation, lonely struggle, self-sacrifice, unwanted dependence on relatives and bloody-minded determination that has characterised so many journeys across the Limpopo.’ – Drew Shaw, Mazwi
Novuyo Rosa Tshuma is a writer from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, and has lived in South Africa and the USA. The youngest recipient of Zimbabwe's short fiction prize, the Yvonne Vera Award (awarded to her in 2009 at age 21 for her short story You in Paradise), her short fiction has been published widely in anthologies which include Bed Book of Short Stories (Modjaji Books, South Africa 2010) and Where to Now? Short Stories from Zimbabwe ('amaBooks, Zimbabwe 2011, Parthian Books, UK 2012).
Her debut collection, Shadows (a novella and short stories) - written during her undergraduate years while she was pursuing her BComm in Economics and Finance at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg - was published to critical acclaim in 2013 by Kwela in South Africa and awarded the 2014 Herman Charles Bosman Prize for the best literary work in English. The publication was celebrated by the Bulawayo Newspaper Southern Eye as a 'major achievement in a country where writers struggle to get their works published...In such a depressed environment, Tshuma is a beacon of hope - the proverbial silver lining on a dark cloud - where most of her peers are still coming of age'.
In 2013, Tshuma was accepted into the renowned Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she earned her MFA, and where she was a recipient of the Maytag and Teaching-Writing Fellowships, as well as a Rydson Award. She was a 2016 Writer-in-Residence at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. Her debut novel, The House of Stone, is forthcoming in 2018 with W.W. Norton(US) and Atlantic Books(UK).
'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.' - NoViolet Bulawayo
'Novuyo Rosa Tshuma is an urgent, exciting 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
'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
Tshuma's writing journey can be traced back to her first published short story Scattered Hearts (Echoes of Young Voices, 'amaBooks Zimbabwe 2007), published when she was 19, and which garnered the following review from scholar Dr Temba Petros Ndlovu: 'There is beautiful and powerful prose in this compilation. Novuyo Rosa Tshuma very skillfully manages to build a very powerful emotional battle between two parents and their son who is gay. In a very artistically and graphically developed explosive encounter which even turns physically violent, Novuyo is able to bring out the dilemma traditionalists in society, represented by the father, and Christians, represented by the mother, face...Novuyo is gifted in her choice of words and turn of expression and creatively weaves her theme starting with a violent physical encounter which gradually thaws down to emotional introspection of the father, mother and son... At her young age, she succeeds in her short story to navigate this emotive subject through the introspection and reflection of her major protagonists...Read this short story and then you will appreciate the personality of the young author who is so gifted in thought, analysis, problem-solving as well as English expression'. She has participated in writing programmes such as the 10 day Caine Prize (2010) and Farafina (2010) Writing Workshops and has been a co-judge for several writing prizes; she has helped to shape some of contemporary Africa's literary structures - she was a founding Director at the Centre for African Cultural Excellence (CACE), where she was central in planning and implementing the Writivism Programme, and where she initiated Writivism's Mentorship Programme, herself mentoring a number of emerging writers and putting into place the structures through which the programme has thrived. She is a founding member and the Deputy Editor of Jalada, a pan-African writers' collective based in Nairobi, Kenya, and a leading publication of avante-garde writing which has been hailed by writer Mukoma wa Ngugi as 'important for this generation of (African) writers as Transition was for the Makerekere generation'.
Her 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 deeply committed to his intellectual work; 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 memory of him by Professors Mary Footer and Julio Faundez, dear friends of his who collected in the memorial volume works from Dr Tshuma's other friends, among them the prolific Tanzanian writer and intellectual Issa Shivji. There is also information in the book about a Dr Lawrence Tshuma Prize awarded by the University of London, beginning with the 2000 University of London LLM exams and 'awarded to a postgraduate student from a developing/emerging market country for the best script on the LLM 'Emerging Markets' course. Additionally, a commemorative plaque in the name of Lawrence, bearing the name of the annual recipient of the award, will be placed in the Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary & Westfield College, London'.
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.
'Shadows marks the entry of an important new Zimbabwean writer, Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, onto the literary scene.' - Rob Gaylard, Sunday Independent SA
'A staggering work of beauty.' - Chika Unigwe
In 2014, Tshuma 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.