Faber seizes Dangarembga’s ‘dazzingly brilliant’ essay collation

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Faber has signed Black and Female, a new essay collection from Tsitsi Dangarembga which explores the relationship between gender and race.

Associate publisher Louisa Joyner acquired world rights from Karolina Sutton at Curtis Brown for the collection. Dangarembga is now represented by Nicola Chang at David Higham Associates.

North American rights were obtained by Fiona McCrae for Graywolf Press, with Yuka Igarashi as in-house editor, and German rights were acquired at auction by Bastei Lübbe for their Quadriga imprint. Dangarembga will be visiting the UK to help promote the book, travelling to events including Edinburgh Literature Festival, appearing at Southbank Centre and other venues.

The collection charts Dangarembga’s experiences growing up  with a foster family in Dover, the difficulty of finding a publisher as a young Zimbabwean novelist, and the ways in which colonialism continues to “disrupt the lives and minds of those subjugated by empire”.

“This paradigm-shifting essay collection weaves the personal and political in an illuminating exploration of internationally acclaimed novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga’s complex relationship with race and gender,” the synopsis states. “At once philosophical, intimate and urgent, Dangarembga’s landmark essays address the profound cultural and political questions that underpin her novels for the first time.

Black and Female offers a powerful vision towards ‘re-membering’ – to use Toni Morrison’s word – those whose identities and experiences continue to be fractured by the intersections of history, race and gender.”

Dangarembga has written three novels, including Nervous Conditions, winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, This Mournable Body, shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and The Book of Not, all published with Faber.

She won the PEN Pinter Prize and the German Book Trade Peace Prize in 2021. Dangarembga is also a filmmaker, playwright and the director of the Institute of Creative Arts for Progress in Africa Trust. She is also one of the 2022 Windham-Campbell Prize winners. She lives in Harare, Zimbabwe.

“I hope these essays will be useful in a world that has begun to engage more meaningfully with diversity in general and race in particular,” she said. “I am pleased that, with my publisher’s encouragement, this collection took less time to finish than my previous work has.”

Joyner added: “To read this landmark collection of essays by Tsitsi Dangarembga is to witness a paradigmatic shift in cultural engagement with questions of identity and colonialism. Tsitsi’s prose is at times as searingly painful as it is dazzlingly brilliant.

Chinua Achebe once described Dangarembga’s prose as ’as natural as the grass grows.’ I believe these essays sit in response to his now globally famous Things Fall Apart and wields the same kind of philosophical and political power.”

Black and Female will be published in August 2022.