Tsitsi Dangarembga

Tsitsi Dangarembga was appointed the University of East Anglia International Chair of Creative Writing (Africa) on September 29, 2020.

Tsitsi Dangarembga is one of the important writers working in the last fifty years. Her debut novel Nervous Conditions (1988) was hailed by Doris Lessing as one of the most important novels of the twentieth century and was included in the BBC’s 2018 list of the 100 books that shaped the world. The Book of Not (2006) and This Mournable Body (2018) complete the Tambudzai Trilogy with the latter being shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

The University of East Anglia has clearly recognised the pull of one of the most respected names in African Letters as they appointed the Zimbabwean the International Chair of Creative Writing (Africa) yesterday. This new position will be offered to four more prominent writers over the next five years from the Asia, Australasia, the Americas and the Middle East, each with a year-long remit to find, nurture and promote new voices from that region. She will be supported by the university’s Creative Writing department to deliver events, masterclasses and workshops. The International Chair initiative will be complemented by Global Voices scholarships, offering 50 fully paid places on the university’s competitive MA course over five years.

Tsitsi Dangarembga said: “I am honoured to be appointed International Chair of Creative Writing (Africa) at UEA. This position enables me to continue to pursue my long-time passion of raising awareness concerning the importance of creative writing in society in southern Africa.  It is a welcome opportunity for me and emerging African writers to connect with the highly distinguished UEA programme in Creative Writing.”

Professor Jean McNeil, International co-ordinator for Literature, Drama and Creative Writer and responsible for the ICCW programme, said: “We are incredibly excited and gratified to appoint Tsitsi Dangarembga to this position. Tsitsi is one of Africa’s best-known and respected writers. She is also a filmmaker, mentor to writers and filmmakers, and advocate for the arts. We also applaud that her novel This Mournable Body (Faber, 2020) has been shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize.”

We are just excited about this news as it puts respect on the name of one of the best of us. Also, 50 scholarships over the next five years is something I’m sure many African writers will be eager to take up. Watch this space.

P.S. Her trial for peacefully protesting against her nation’s awful treatment of its citizens continues. We shall keep you abreast of that news as and when it becomes available.