African Women Writers: Part 3 of 4

To celebrate Women’s History Month, Enkare Review has been sharing profiles of phenomenal women writers on our social media pages herehere and here. We are going to share these profiles on our website as well. This is the third part of a four-part series.

Maaza Mengiste is an Ethiopian-American novelist and essayist. Her debut novel, Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, was published in 2010 to critical acclaim. Her work routinely examines the lives of those impacted by migration, war, and exile. Mengiste’s work has been published in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Lettre Internationale, Enkare Review, Callaloo, and Granta. Her second novel, The Shadow King, is forthcoming.

Nnedi Okorafor (b. 1974) is an award-winning novelist of African-based science fiction, fantasy and magical realism for both children and adults. Born in the United States to Nigerian immigrant parents, her stories are often set in West Africa and use the framework of fantasy to explore weighty social issues. Some of her novels include Zahrah the Windseeker (2005), Who Fears Death (2010), Akata Witch (2011) and the Binti Trilogy (2015, 2017 and 2018). Okorafor is writing a comic book series for Marvel Studios focused on the Dora Milaje warriors from Black Panther.

Warsan Shire (b 1988) is a poet, editor and teacher. Born in Kenya to Somali parents, and raised in London, Shire uses her work to document stories of journey, displacement and trauma. In 2013, Shire was awarded the inaugural Brunel University African Poetry Prize. Her poetry collections include Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth (2011), Her Blue Body (2015), Our Men Do Not Belong to Us (2015), and Penguin Modern Poets 3: Your Family, Your Body (2017).

Zukiswa Wanner (born 1976) is a South African novelist and journalist, born in Zambia and now based in Kenya. Her novels include The Madams (2006), Behind Every Successful Man (2008), Men of the South (2010) and London Cape Town Joburg (2014). In 2015, she won the K Sello Duiker Memorial Literary Award for the novel London Cape Town Joburg. As an essayist and journalist, Zukiswa actively contributes to several newspapers and journals such as The Observer, The Guardian, African Review, The New Statesman, True Love, Guernica and Forbes Africa.

Shailja Patel is a Kenyan poet, playwright, theatre artist, and political activist. Patel’s work is often centered on the themes of Empire, migration, globalization, colonialism, women, and the African and South Asian diasporas. Some of her published works include Dreaming in Gujurati (2000), Shilling Love (2002) and Migritude (2010). Patel is a recipient of a Sundance Theatre Fellowship, an African Guest Writer Fellowship from the Nordic Africa Institute, and the Fanny-Ann Eddy Poetry Award from IRN-Africa among others.

NoViolet Bulawayo (pen name of Elizabeth Zandile Tshele, b 1981) is a Zimbabwean author and currently a lecturer at Stanford University. NoViolet means “with Violet”, in memory of her mother who died when she was 18 months old while Bulawayo is her home city in Zimbabwe. Her debut novel, We Need New Names (2013), was included in the 2013 Man Booker Prize shortlist making her the first black African woman and the first Zimbabwean to be shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Short stories by Bulawayo include Snapshots (2009) and Hitting Budapest (2010).

Lebogang Mashile (b 1979) is a South African writer, performance poet and actress. The daughter of exiled South African parents, Mashile was born in the United States and returned to South Africa in the mid-1990s after the end of apartheid. In 2005, she published her first poetry collection, In a Ribbon of Rhythm, for which she received the Noma Award in 2006. Mashile later self-published her second anthology, Flying above the Sky, in 2008.
About the Writer:

Rosie Olang’ smiles with her eyebrows, is eternally grateful for caffeine and believes that in a parallel universe she is an elephant. She’s constantly thinking about the intersections of visual arts, poetry and literature.