Lucy Mushita’s Chinongwa is a riveting and emotional coming-of-age story set in rural 1920s Zimbabwe. A young girl seeking to understand the boundaries between family myth and cultural mythology finds herself cast into a situation of nightmarish proportions. As the violence surrounding her is increasingly wrought upon her, the fantastic intervenes as a way to understand and cope with her reality. Ultimately, the protagonist translates her own life into a mythical register, refusing to succumb to the raw, magicless cruelty of the world. Mushita will be in conversation at the Library with journalist Kidi Bebey about the writing of this work and its enduring relevance throughout the multiple transformations of present-day Zimbabwe.
About the speakers:
Lucy Mushita grew up in a small village in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Six years after the 1980 end of apartheid, she settled in Nancy, France, where she started writing Chinongwa, her first novel. She also taught Business English in multinationals, universities and grandes écoles. Chinongwa was first published in S. Africa in 2008, then translated into French (by Elise Argaud) and published by Actes-Sud in 2012.
Born and raised in Paris, Kidi Bebey is the daughter of the late Cameroonian artist and composer, Francis Bebey. A writer and journalist, her novel, My Kingdom for a Guitar, (translated from French by Karen Lindo and published by Indiana University Press in 2021) is inspired by her family history. Currently, Kidi writes online weekly chronicles on African literature in Le Monde.
Important information: The discussion will be available both online and in person. While the conversation will happen in person (Mushita and Bebey will appear in the Reading Room), the Library will stream the conversation on Zoom for a live viewing experience. Both in-person and online attendees will be able to pose questions.
This event requires advance registration.
Attendance at this event constitutes permission for your photograph or video to be taken at the event and used by the American Library in Paris for marketing, promotional, pedagogical, or other purposes.