Oneworld signs 'great Ugandan novel'

Oneworld signs 'great Ugandan novel'

Oneworld has acquired an award-winning debut by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, described as “the great Ugandan novel”.

Oneworld publisher Juliet Mabey bought UK and Commonwealth rights from James McDonald-Lockhart at Antony Harwood. 

Winner of the Kwani? Prize for African writing, Kintu was published in Kenya to "huge critical and popular acclaim", according to the publisher. In an sweeping tale of both a clan and a nation, the story begins in 1750 with the ambitious Kintu Kidda who inadvertently brings a curse down on his family. Blending Ganda oral tradition, forms of myth, legends, folktales and sayings, Makumbi weaves together the stories of his descendants as they desperately seek to break the burden of their clan’s curse. Oneworld will publish in hardback in January 2018.

Mabey said: "Kintu is a modern classic already earning high praise and comparisons to Yaa Gyasi’s epic Homegoing. With a rich, multi-layered narrative and strong characterization, it brilliantly interlaces history, politics, and myth to map the history of the Buganda kingdom and the birth of modern Uganda. Oneworld has always been committed to publishing the best fiction from around the world and Kintu epitomises this policy.”

Man Booker Prize-winning author Marlon James described the title as "a soaring and sublime epic. One of those great stories that was just waiting to be told."

Makumbi, winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, was born in Kampala, Uganda, and studied for her MA in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University and for her PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Lancaster. Makumbi has taught English and Creative Writing at various universities in the UK as an associate lecturer. She lives in Manchester with her husband and son, where she is working on her next novel.