Spring 2012 in South Africa
"An extraordinary writer. Zoe Wicomb has mined pure gold from that place [South Africa] - seductive, brilliant, and precious, her talent glitters" - Toni Morrison
From 1987 to the present, Wicomb has written two collections of short stories and two novels. Her first collection of short stories, You Can't Get Lost in Cape Town, gained international attention for its stories of apartheid. However, Wicomb takes another perspective in her two novels, as she sets them towards the end of apartheid and writes on issues of racial identity. In her newest collection of short stories, The One That Got Away, Wicomb draws upon her twenty years of voluntary exile in the United Kingdom in order to examine relationships such as marriage, friendship, and family. She presently lives in Glasgow, Scotland, and teaches creative writing and post-colonial literature at the University of Strathclyde.
In the spring of 2012, Wicomb returned to Port Elizabeth, South Africa, and gave two well-attended addresses, with the first at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) and the second at South End Museum. Students from CSB/SJU and NMMU, together with community members, listened as Wicomb emphasized the importance of narratives, read from her books, and provided them with the necessary historical background at the museum.
"Being in South Africa and meeting people in different walks of life, it [the importance of narratives] was a good lesson for us to learn and give more significance to the stories we hear... It was great to hear the voice of the characters the way she had thought of them when she had written them... Her stories are sometimes hard to follow without background but hearing them from her, with such charisma, it all made perfect sense."
Shazreh Ahmed, CSB/SJU '13