Saturday, September 12, 2015

Authors of the Month: Tendai Huchu and Bryony Rheam

This month we’re celebrating our two Zimbabwean authors: Tendai Huchu and Bryony Rheam. Both will be appearing this month at Africa Utopia at the Southbank Centre in London with their respective books: The Maestro, the Magistrate & the Mathematician and This September Sun.
The Maestro, the Magistrate & the Mathematician
Three very different men struggle with thoughts of belonging, loss, identity and love as they attempt to find a place for themselves in Britain. The Magistrate tries to create new memories and roots, fusing a wandering exploration of Edinburgh with music. The Maestro, a depressed, quixotic character, sinks out of the real world into the fantastic world of literature. The Mathematician, full of youth, follows a carefree, hedonistic lifestyle, until their three universes collide. In this carefully crafted, multi- layered novel, Tendai Huchu, with his inimitable humour, reveals much about the Zimbabwe story as he draws the reader deep into the lives of the three main characters.
‘An unusually astute and unflinching writer’ -- The Guardian
‘Tendai Huchu illustrates universal notions well’ --The Examiner
‘Tendai Huchu seems to the be the great-grandchild of Jonathan Swift with many voices in his head’ --Frankurter Allgemeine Zeitung
‘I could not let this book rest...The lead characters of The Maestro, The Magistrate & The Mathematician are made “accessible” through the craftsmanship of Tendai Huchu’ --Dr Rosetta Codling
About Tendai
In 2013 Tendai was the recipient of a Hawthornden Fellowship and a Sacatar Fellowship.
He was shortlisted for the 2014 Caine Prize.
Tendai Huchu’s first novel, The Hairdresser of Harare, was released in 2010 to critical acclaim, and has been translated into German, French, and Italian. His short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The Manchester Review, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Gutter, Interzone, AfroSF, Wasafiri, Warscapes, The Africa Report, Kwani?, and numerous other publications.
The New York Times reviewed Tendai’s The Hairdresser of Harare ahead of his appearance at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August.
'...American publishing has embraced a vibrant chorus of voices from the African continent — Adichie, NoViolet Bulawayo and Chigozie Obioma among others. To which we can now add one more, Tendai Huchu, whose debut novel, “The Hairdresser of Harare,” [...] provides a fresh and moving account of contemporary Zimbabwe. [...] “The Hairdresser of Harare” ultimately wins us over with the vividness of its setting and characters, and with its reminder of the multitude of rich stories to be found in their daily lives.'
Africa Utopia, Sat 12 September
Saturday's talks look at the how the arts across the continent are affecting social change.
Who is shaping African design? What varies between different regions? How are the arts challenging stereotypes and existing narratives about the continent?
Hear from leading African and diaspora designers, writers, performers and creators, including Tendai Huchu.
£15 (£7.50) Saturday Pass | Purchase here
Tendai tweets at @TendaiHuchu
Purchase The Maestro, the Magistrate & the Mathematician here

This September Sun
Winner of the Best First Book Award at Zimbabwe International Book Fair 2010
Ellie is a shy girl growing up in post-Independence Zimbabwe, longing for escape from the confines of small-town life. When she eventually moves to Britain, her wish seems to have come true. But life there is not all she imagined. And when her grandmother Evelyn is brutally murdered, a set of diaries are uncovered – spilling out family secrets and recounting a young Evelyn's passionate and dangerous affair with a powerful married man.
In the light of new discoveries, Ellie begins to re-evaluate her relationship with her grandmother, and must face up to some truths about herself in the process. Set against the backdrop of a country
in change, Ellie – burdened by the memories and the misunderstandings of the past – must also find a way to move forward in her own romantic endeavours.
'Brilliantly evokes the ennui of the pre-Independence settler community who measure out their lives in cups of tea, sundowners, and illicit affairs.' --John Eppel
'As she uncovers Evelyn's secrets in the diaries, Ellie is forced to reconsider her relationship with her family and also to reexamine how she lives her own life...it's the personal moments and conflicts that drive this narrative of family secrets and forgiveness'. --Publishers Weekly
Bryony Rheam was born in Kadoma and lived in Bulawayo from the age of eight until she left school. She studied for a BA and an MA in English Literature in the United Kingdom and then taught in Singapore for a year before returning to teach in Zimbabwe in 2001.
She was part of the British Council sponsored Crossing Borders creative writing project and has had short stories published in several anthologies, including all three volumes in the Short Writings from Bulawayo series and in Long Time Coming: Short Writings from Zimbabwe. Bryony won the Intwasa Arts Festival koBulawayo Short Story Competition in 2006.
Online Zimbabwean blogger, Bookshy, listed Bryony’s debut novel This September Sun as one of the top 50 books by African Women.
She also won the Write Your Own Christie competition in 2014. According to the panel 'it was a confident chapter with a terrific ending'.
African Pulp/Genre, Sun 13 September
Romance, sci-fi, horror, crime, erotica, utopia, historical fiction: we delve into the very best of African pulp and genre fiction to look at how it’s changing the narrative of African fiction.
Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall
2 - 3pm
£15 (£7.50) Sunday Pass | Purchase here
Buy This September Sun here

Zimbabwean Writers feature in a Celebration of Africa

Zimbabwean Writers feature in a Celebration of Africa


Tendai Huchu and Bryony Rheam are set to take part in debates at Africa Utopia. Back for a third year Africa Utopia celebrates the arts and culture of the African continent.


Bryony Sept 2The festival looks at how Africa can lead the way in thinking about culture, community, business and technology and includes topics ranging from fashion, gender and power in politics, sustainability and activism. The 2015 edition of the festival features some of Africa’s greatest artists across music, dance, literature and the arts, including Baaba Maal, Spoek Mathambo, Tosin Coker, Irenosen Okojie, Tony Allen, Toumani and Sidiki Diabaté, Orchestra Baobab, Kassé Mady Diabaté, Chineke! and Chi-chi Nwanoku.
The festival will be held between Friday 11 September to Sunday 13 September at the Southbank Centre in London. Tendai Huchu is due to take part in a panel on 12 September about ‘African Male Identity’, exploring the truths and myths of African masculinities, identities, sexualities, fatherhood and friendship. His second novel The Maestro, The Magistrate & The Mathematician has recently been published by amaBooks in Zimbabwe and by Parthian Books in the United Kingdom, and will soon be published in Nigeria, North America and Germany.
Joining Tendai at the festival will be Bulawayo-based writer, Bryony Rheam, who is a panellist the following day – Sunday September 13. The panel of which she is a member, will be looking at how genre fiction is changing the narrative of African fiction. Pulp and genre fiction include: sci’fi, horror, crime, erotica, utopia and historical fiction. Following on her first novel, This September Sun, Bryony has just finished writing her second novel, which is a murder mystery set in Bulawayo. This panel is chaired by Zimbabwean editor and literary critic, Ellah Allfrey.
 
During her visit to the UK Bryony will spend several days in Torquay, where she will receive her prize for being a winner of the Write Your Own Christie writing competition, which celebrates the work of one of the world’s best-selling novelists, Agatha Christie.
The competition involved writers from around the world writing a collaborative novel, starting with the opening of Christie’s A Murder is Announced. Each month, writers were asked to submit the next chapter of the story. The judges then selected the winner for that particular month, and the competition, and the novel, then evolved over a nine month period. Bryony was runner-up for chapter seven, and winner for chapter eight, the judges commenting about her winning entry: ‘It was a confident chapter with a terrific ending, as well as a carefully plotted solution.’
Bryony’s prize is one night’s accommodation at the Grand Hotel in Torquay, where Agatha Christie spent her honeymoon with her first husband. That evening, there will be a dinner at Christie’s house, Greenway, now a National Trust property, also attended by the other prize-winners. Before the dinner, there will be a tour of the house, which is now a National Trust property. At the dinner will also be Christie’s grandson, Matthew Pritchard, and her British and American publishers at HarperCollins.  Agatha Christie was born in 1890, so this year is the 125th anniversary of her birth and there is a special celebration in Torquay where the annual Agatha Christie Festival is held.
As a great fan of Christie’s, Bryony is thrilled to be among the prize-winners. References to Agatha Christie can be found in This September Sun. The character of the grandmother in the novel is also passionate about Christie’s work and her intricate plots.

Local Author Scoops UK Award

TOP local writer Bryony Rheam will this week collect her prize in the United Kingdom after recently winning the “Write Your Own Christie” competition when her contribution to a collaborative book project was selected by the judges.
BY SHARON SIBINDI
The competition involved writers from around the world writing a collaborative novel, starting with the opening of Agatha Christie’s A Murder is Announced.
Director of ’amabooks Publishers Brian Jones said each month, writers were asked to submit the next chapter of the story.
“The judges then selected the winner for that particular month, and the competition, and the novel, and then evolved over a nine-month period. Bryony was runner-up for Chapter 7 and winner for Chapter 8,” he said.
Jones said the judges noted that Rheam’s winning entry was “a confident chapter with a terrific ending”.
Bryony Rheam
Rheam’s prize is one night’s accommodation at the Grand Hotel in Torquay in Southern England, where Agatha Christie spent her honeymoon with her first husband, Archibald Christie.
“That evening, there will be a dinner at her house, Greenway, near Torquay, also attended by the other prize-winners. Before the dinner, there will be a tour of the house, which is now a National Trust property,” said Jones.
“At the dinner will also be Christie’s grandson Matthew Pritchard and her British and American publishers at Harper Collins.”
Agatha Christie was born in 1890 and this year is the 125th anniversary of her birth and there is a special celebration in Torquay where the annual Agatha Christie Festival is held. She is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the best-selling novelist of all time, and is claimed to come third in the rankings of the world’s most widely published books, behind only Shakespeare and the Bible.
Rheam said going to the awards dinner was a great honour for her.
“Going to the dinner is a great honour for me, not just as a writer, but as a fan of Agatha Christie. I have always loved her books and admire her great intelligence and ability to outwit the reader every time,” she said.
Several references to Agatha Christie occur in Rheam’s award-winning novel This September Sun.
Rheam has just finished her second novel All Come to Dust, which is a murder mystery, and inspired by the work of Agatha Christie.
Meanwhile, Rheam will attend the Africa Utopia Festival at London’s Southbank Centre to help celebrate the arts and culture of Africa alongside fellow artistes Baaba Maal, Spoek Mathambo, Tony Allen, Toumani and Sidiki Diabaté, Orchestra Baobab and Kassé Diabaté.
On September 13, Rheam will participate in a discussion about how pulp and genre fiction – romance, sci-fi, horror, crime, erotica, utopia and historical – is changing the narrative of African fiction.
Fellow Zimbabwean writer Tendai Huchu – whose second novel The Maestro, The Magistrate & The Mathematician – has recently been published by ’amaBooks and Parthian Books in the United Kingdom, will take part in a discussion session about African male identity.