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Jennifer Makumbi: Reclaiming African Women's Histories
Episode 121st April 2022 • BookRising • Radical Books Collective
00:00:00 01:01:52

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Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi joins host Bhakti Shringarpure for an episode of BookRising that features trailblazing African feminist writers. Makumbi is a Ugandan writer and has published two critically acclaimed novels Kintu (2014) and A Girl is a Body of Water (2020). She is also the author of a collection of stories titled Manchester Happened (2019) and the recipient of prestigious awards such as the Kwani Manuscript Prize, the Windham-Campbell Prize and the Jhalak Prize.

Makumbi is known her for brilliant storytelling skills and her epic multigenerational novels that often feature spirited women protagonists. Yet, the path to getting her historically and linguistically complex books published was not easy. Makumbi speaks openly about her tumultuous journey trying to get her novels out and what it taught her about being an African writer. She believes that histories of the empire have made it such that African authors tend to write to the center and has realized that de-centering her readership was the key to finding the freedom to write about the subjects and stories that made sense to her. Proudly feminist, she believes that while women might be propped up as custodians of their cultures, they are often left out of historical narratives entirely. Her work sets out to rectify that. Makumbi offers tips for aspiring women writers urging them to read voraciously. She also shared the names of writers who have inspired her!

Bhakti Shringarpure is the Creative Director of the Radical Books Collective.