Playing in the Shadows
Efemia Chela talks to Petina Gappah, Helen Moffett, and Zoë Wicomb about engaging with historical narratives from new perspectives, and striking a balance between fidelity and irreverence in retelling stories.
This podcast is brought to you by our sponsor, the Heinrich Boell Foundation. Produced by Andri Burnett. Hosted by Vasti Calitz.
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Efemia Chela was born in Zambia but grew up in England, Ghana, Botswana and South Africa, graduating with a BA in French, Politics and Classical Civilisations from Rhodes University. She was shortlisted for the Caine Prize (2014) for her short story, 'Chicken'. She recently co-edited Migrations, the 2016 Short Story Day Africa collection and she is a contributing editor to the Johannesburg Review of Books. Her short stories have been published in Short.Sharp.Stories, Brittle Paper and most recently in As You Like It, the 2018 Gerald Kraak Award anthology. Efemia contributed an essay to Touch, a collection of essays edited by Tiffany Mugo and Kim Windvogel.
Petina Gappah is a Zimbabwean writer with law degrees from Cambridge, Graz University and the University of Zimbabwe. Her debut story collection, An Elegy for Easterly, won the Guardian First Book Prize in 2009. Her debut novel, The Book of Memory, was published in 2015 and her second short story collection, Rotten Row followed in 2016. Her most recent novel is Out of the Darkness, Shining Light.
Helen Moffett wears many hats: freelance writer, editor, academic, activist, researcher, trainer. Her academic writings include necessary but grim work on sexual violence. She balances this out by writing erotica as one-third of Helena S. Paige. She co-authored the late Bob Woolmer’s Art and Science of Cricket together with Prof Tim Noakes. She has also compiled three university textbooks on poetry and a fourth on academic writing, an anthology of South African landscape writing, and co-edited the anthology Stray to raise funds for TEARS. Her debut collection of poems, Strange Fruit, was published by Modjaji Books, and her second, Prunings, was published by uHlanga Press in 2016. 101 Water Wise Ways was published in 2018 and Wise about Waste is was published in 2019. Her debut novel, Charlotte, was published in 2020.
Image courtesy of Lara Aucamp
Zoë Wicomb is a Scottish-South African author and academic. She was the inaugural winner of the Windham-Campbell Prize for fiction. Her books include You Can’t Get Lost in Cape Town, Playing in the Light, and, most recently, Still Life. She lives in Scotland.