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Zimbabwe > Literature : SHIMMER CHINODYA

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Biography :

Chinodya Shimmer (b. in 1957), is a Zimbabwean writer and has won the 2008 Noma award for literature for his latest novel "Strife".
The novel Strife is a rich and densely written novel that explores the life of a large family growing up in Gweru whose father aspires to be an enlightened Christian man. He sees his children through school and college where they do well but as adults, they are struck by a mysterious illness which hinders their personal development.

Was born in Gweru, Zimbabwe, in 1957, the second child in a large, happy family. He studied English Literature and Education at the University of Zimbabwe.  After a spell in teaching and Curriculum Development he proceeded to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop (USA) where he  earned an MA in Creative Writing.

He developed an early interest in writing – and, conversely, reading; by the time he  finished primary school he  knew I wanted to be a writer.  His  first novel, Dew in the Morning, was written when he was eighteen and later published in 1982.  This was followed by Farai’s Girls (1984), Child of War (under the pen name B.Chirasha, 1986),  Harvest of Thorns  (1989), Can we talk and other StoriesTale of Tamari (1998), (2004) Chairman of Fools (2005), and Strife (2006).  His work appears in numerous anthologies, including Soho Square (1992), Writer’s Territory (1999), Tenderfoots (2001), Writing Still (2004), Writing Now (2005) and the forthcoming Laughter Now.  He has also written children’s books, educational texts, training manuals and radio and film scripts, including the script for the award-winning feature film, Everyone’s Child.  His books are read and studied worldwide. He has  won many awards for his work, including the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Africa Region) and a Noma Honourable mention for Harvest of Thorns, a Caine Prize shortlist for Can we talk and the NAMA award for the outstanding book for Strife.  Most of his  books have scooped the Zimbabwe Book Publishers Association Awards. He has  received many fellowships abroad and from 1995 to 1997 was Distinguished Visiting Professor in Creative Writing and African Literature at the University of St Lawrence in up state New York.

"My fiction seeks to explore and extend the borders of reality, to question and tease matters of identity, class and culture, the past and the present; to explore the human condition in the most interesting and sensitive way possible. Every time I put pen to paper I ask myself, ‘What can my writing do for me and for the world? How can I refine my voice? How can I shock my reader into reflecting on the subject of existence? What is existence anyway, and what is the truth, perceived and otherwise? Can I grab my reader by the collar and make him or her gasp: ‘Gosh, I didn’t know it was possible to do this in a story, to write like this.’  As a black writer I obviously and primarily seek to portray an African world view but I want my literature to speak to the world as a whole.  My works are experiments on the effects of time and change and socio-economic pressures on humans, and human relationships tangled in the eternal quest for happiness and fulfilment. I perpetually seek a harmonious fusion of theme and style.  I’d hate to write a single boring paragraph.  I believe a good book should exalt the heart and mind of the reader and NOT punish him/her and that lazy, boring writers should be dragged out to the market place and flogged in public! "   

Internet site : http://www.nomaaward.or

Last update : 09/07/2008

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