Zimbabwean writer Farai Mudzingwa’s debut novel Avenues by Train has been signed for publication. The book is slated to be published in spring 2023 by Cassava Republic. The book’s world English language rights was acquired by Layla Mohamed from Emma Shercliff at Laxfield Literary Associates.

Farai lives in Harare, Zimbabwe and writes fiction, long-form journalism and TV/film scripts. His short fiction and journalism articles has been widely published and he has been listed for a variety of short story competitions. In 2018 he was shortlisted for the Short Story Day Africa prize for his story “South of Samora,” which explores identity, friendship, and family bonds. The story follows a young man, whose social status depends on his home, that befriends a friendship with a sick child. The judging described the story as “delicate and moving.”

Avenues by Train moves in a different direction and has been described as inventive, dizzying, and playful. The story follows: “Jedza, a down-and-out electrician coming of age in a newly independent Zimbabwe. Haunted by a childhood train accident and convinced that spiritual forces are ruling his life, Jedza leaves his small town of Miner’s Drift for bustling Harare, but soon discovers that he cannot escape the ghosts of his past so easily.” While the book has some witty and satirical bits, it also engages with important themes including colonialism, sex-work and PTSD.

Farai tells the Bookseller about the book process and thanks his agents:

Avenues by Train has been revealing itself through me for the past 5 years. I’m thrilled that Layla Mohamed and Cassava Republic “see” the story and have given it a home. I’m forever indebted to my agent Emma Shercliff for her tireless work and absolute belief in the book.

Congratulations to Farai!