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South Africa
Zukiswa Wanner

Zukiswa Wanner
Zukiswa Wanner | © Brian Otieno (detail)

Zukiswa Wanner, born in 1976 in Zambia, is an author, journalist and publisher. 

Her conception of herself as an African writer leads her to range far beyond national frontiers in her writing, whilst at the same time bringing the diversity of African culture into her artistic work. Her detailed knowledge of South African literature and her nuanced understanding of regional discourses and female identity in Africa mean her expertise is internationally sought after; she is also a role model for an entire generation of African writers.

The Jury of the Goethe Medal 2020

Zukiswa Wanner was born in 1976 in Lusaka, Zambia and is a writer, journalist, publisher and curator. After attending school in Zimbabwe, she studied journalism at Hawaii Pacific University in Honolulu. Since 2006 she has been an author and a promoter of African literature. In addition to fiction for children and adults, she has published reportage, essays and travelogues, which have appeared in international newspapers and magazines (The Guardian, The Observer, Juice, Elle and many more). She co-authored the Nelson Mandela biography, A Prisoner’s Home (Penguin, 2000). Together with the Goethe-Institut in Nairobi, Kenya, she developed the transnational series Artistic Encounters, which brings African writers into discussion with other artists. She is also curator of the Afro Young Adult project and has established short story writing workshops. The renowned Hay Festival selected Zukiswa Wanner as one of its preeminent African authors in 2014. In 2018 she founded her own publishing house, Paivapo, together with Nomavuso Vokwana. Since the coronavirus lockdown she has been curating the virtual literary festival AfrolitSansFrontières, organised by 16 writers from ten African countries.