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The Stories and Writers that Inspired a Ugandan Author

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi was born in Kampala, Uganda, in 1967, and now lives in Manchester. Her first novel, Kintu, was longlisted for the Etisalat prize in 2014 and she won the Commonwealth Short Story prize in the same year. Her first short story collection, Manchester Happened, was published in 2019. She was awarded the prestigious Windham-Campbell prize for fiction in 2018. Her new book, The First Woman, is a powerful feminist rendition of Ugandan origin tales, charting the young girl Kirabo’s journey to find her place in the world. Growing up, Makumbi didn’t think she was going to be an author, but looking back she remembers that Kintu was inspired by God’s Bits of Wood [by Senegalese writer and film-maker Ousmane Sembène]. She discovered Toni Morrison much later in life. She reminded Makumbi all the time that you just can’t throw a sentence on the page, it must earn its place. Alice Walker. Yvonne Vera was inspiring in terms of being bold and writing about the unsayable. Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions.