Novuyo Rosa

Novuyo Rosa Tshuma Wins 2019 Edward Stanford Travel Writing Award

Zimbabwean writer, Novuyo Rosa Tshuma (b. January 28, 1988), has emerged winner of the 2019 Edward Stanford Travel Writing Award in the fiction category. She won it with her debut novel, House of Stone. The book was awarded for its sense of place.

Describing her win, the judges said her novel is “impressive, evocative and highly unusual.” Adding that “the playful, often painful narrative takes a series of unexpected turns, keeping the reader engrossed in often shocking African politics and history.”

House of Stone has won widespread, critical acclaim. Famous Nigerian novelist and professor, Helon Habila, described the novel as “an extraordinary achievement for a first novel.” He added that: “Tshuma is incapable of writing a boring sentence: she inhabits her narration so totally that even the most absurd and silly actions become believable. The wordplay and absurdist plot lines act as comic relief, but the author never lets us forget the serious stuff even for a minute, and it is this balance that makes the book work. By the end she has managed to not only sum up Zimbabwean history, but also all of African colonial history: from devastating colonialism to the bitter wars of independence to the euphoria of self-rule and the disillusionment of the present.”

Zukiswa Wanner writes that: “If Tshuma never writes another book (I really hope she does) she has entrenched her place into the history of literature with this book. A must read for lovers of history and good writing.”

House of Stone has been longlisted for the International Dylan Thomas Prize organized by the Swansea University. It was also awarded the Bellagio Literary Arts Residency Award.

Currently a PhD student in Creative Writing at the University of Houston, Novuyo is an MFA graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop and a graduate of Economics and Finance from the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa. She has received several honours and fellowships including: Rydson Award, 2016 writer-in-residence at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, the 2009 Yvonne Vera Award, the 2014 Herman Charles Bosman Prize for her collection of short stories, Shadows. She is also a fiction editor at The Bare Life Review.

Other winners of this year’s Edward Stanford Travel Writing include: William Atkins for The Immeasurable World; Alastair Humphreys for Alastair Humphreys’ Great Adventurers, “a self-selected collection of twenty intrepid journeys illustrated by Kevin Ward”; Caroline Eden for Black Sea; Guy Stagg for his travel memoir, The Crossway; Huw Lewis–Jones for The Writer’s Map; Adam Weymouth for Kings of the Yukon; Celia Dillow for Reflections of Dubai.

The Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards was established in 1853 and has existed over these years “celebrate this most exciting of genres and seek to celebrate the best travel writing, and travel writers, in the world.”