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Zukiswa Wanner. Image via Black Letter Media

 

Four years after her fifth novel, London Capetown Joburg, award winning South African writer Zukiswa Wanner has a new book out.

A writer’s life often involves writing and traveling. In this new book, Wanner combines the two in an intimate look at the African continent through the lens of her experience as a writer and a traveller.

The 224-page book is tiled Hardly Working: A Travel Memoir of Sorts and is published by Black Letter Media, a South African publishing house inspired by the mandate to affirm and represent Africa’s diverse identities and cultures.

Hardly Working is Wanner’s most personal book yet. It chronicles a road trip she took in 2016 across several African borders accompanied by her partner and son. The book is adventure filled and enlivened by Wanner’s deep insights and irreverent humor.

Wanner has been delighting us for over 10 years with fictional works like The Madams (2006), Behind Every Successful Man (2008), Men of the South (2010), Maid in SA (2013), and London Cape Town Joburg (2014), in addition to short stories and children’s books. So it is nice to see her take a break from fiction writing to explore a side of Africa and herself that we rarely see. She opens up about “what it means to be a writer in a world that isn’t quite sure what it is that she does while discovering that people are hungry for more African stories but access is a big challenge.”

Hardly Working couldn’t have been published at a more appropriate time considering how fervently readers and critics are asking for more African non-fiction.

Reflecting on the journey that inspired the book, Wanner says: “Perhaps the most important things I learnt while undertaking this particular journey was how the kindness of strangers can make all the difference to the enjoyment of a trip AND [I also learnt] the need to value my work as a writer.”

Hardly Working: A Travel Memoir of Sorts is currently available for purchase at R160 from South Africa-based and online booksellers or on http://shop.blackletterm.com.

 

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Ainehi Edoro is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches African literature. She received her doctorate at Duke University. She is the founder and editor of Brittle Paper and series editor of Ohio University Press’s Modern African Writer’s imprint.

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