Ugandan Author Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi Whose Work Was Once Rejected For Being "Too African" Wins Life-Changing Literary Prize!

BY STELLA WAAFRIKA

Congratulations are in order for Ugandan novelist and short story writer, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, who has won the sought-after Windham Campbell Prizes worth $165,000 for her first novel, 'Kintu'. Makumbi, whose work was once rejected by British publishers for being "too African", holds a PhD from Lancaster University.

She has taught Creative Writing and English for ten years in British Universities. Speaking to BBC, the writer noted that she hasn't been earning for a long, long time. "I really put everything into writing. So for this to happen is unbelievable," she added.

On why Africans telling their stories is paramount, Makumbi told BBC, "Readers are realising, OK, if I want to explore Africa I’d rather be told from an African point of view rather than being told things that I’m expected to want to know." On winning the prize, "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."

  About Kintu:
"In 1754, Kintu Kidda, Ppookino of Buddu Province, in the kingdom of the Buganda, sets out on a journey to the capital where he is to pledge allegiance to the new Kabaka of the realm. Along the way, a rash action in a moment of anger unleashes a curse that will plague his family for generations. Time passes and the nation of Uganda is born. Through colonial occupation and the turbulent early years of independence, Kintu’s heirs survive the loss of their land, the denigration of their culture and the ravages of war. But the story of their ancestor and his twin wives Nnakato and Babirye endures. So too does the curse."


In August 2017, she expressed to the Los Angeles Review, "I wanted Ugandans to start looking at the history of Uganda before colonization — how Uganda was organized before Christianity and before Europe arrived — and to compare that with what we have at the moment. We need to start having those conversations." Kintu was shortlisted and won the Kwani? Manuscript Project in 2013 and later published by Kwani Trust in 2014. Makumbi won the 2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for her writing titled, 'Let's Tell This Story Properly' and she was also longlisted for the Etisalat Prize for Literature.

 According to BBC, "Makumbi is one of eight writers to receive Windham Campbell Prizes this year spanning fiction, non-fiction, drama and poetry - and is the only winner to have published just one full-length work."

 Her collection of short stories, 'Love Made In Manchester' will be published by Transit (USA) in January 2019. I'm so glad and proud to know that people like Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi exist in a world were conformity is the order of the day; she did not compromise her work to fit in.

 Sources: BBC | Los Angeles Review | jennifermakumbi.net | Kwani Trust

No comments

Powered by Blogger.