Features

Namwali: Becoming a writer

NAMWALI (second right) with shortlisted candidates for the 2015 Caine Prize. Picture right, Namwali wrote The Old Drift on and off for 15 years.

VICTOR KALALANDA, Lusaka
FOR some Zambians, the first time they were hearing of Namwali Serpell was probably in July 2015 when she became the first Zambian to win the prestigious Caine Prize for African writing.
Yet, even before that, Namwali, who was born in Lusaka on November 9, 1980 to Robert Serpell, a revered professor of psychology who once served as University of Zambia (UNZA) vice-chancellor, and Namposya, an UNZA-educated economist who sadly passed away in 2016, was making inroads in the literary world.
Her first published story Muzungu was selected for the Best American Short Stories 2009 and shortlisted for the 2010 Caine Prize for African Writing. In 2011, she also received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers Award in 2011 while in 2014, she was selected as one of the most promising African writers for the Africa 39 Anthology, a project of the Hay Festival.
Her writings had also appeared in The Guardian, The L.A. Review of Books, The San Francisco Chronicle, Tin House, The Believer, Bidoun, Callaloo and n+! among others.
But winning the Caine Prize in 2015 was momentous.http://epaper.daily-mail.co.zm/

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