Yvonne Owuor first gained attention for her short story, Weight of Whispers, which won the 2003 Caine Prize. Her debut novel, Dust, published in 2013 by Kwani? and in 2014 by Knopf, was shortlisted for the 2015 Folio Prize. Dust explores the violence that attended the 2007 presidential and parliamentary elections in Kenya.
“This is the novel my twenty-first century has been waiting for, for our world in these seismic times,” wrote Kenyan author, Binyavanga Wainaina.
On her experience writing the novel, Owuor said an interview with Guernica, “Novel-writing is a settling, lovely space. I call it self-indulgent—I feel mildly guilty about it. But in the seven years of writing this novel, we were close to a divorce, Dust and I. We didn’t talk to one another. I had to go to Brisbane to find Dust again.”
Owuor was born in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1968. She studied English at Jomo Kenyatta University, and holds an MA in TV/Video development at Reading University. She has worked as a screenwriter and as Executive Director of the Zanzibar International Film Festival.
She will make appearances at four events at the Open Book Festival. At the event, Sowing the Seeds, Owuor will talk about researching place/time with Nancy Richards. At Sins of our Parents, she will, among other writers, discuss how the actions of the previous generation impact on their protagonists. At Writers and Readers, she will discuss the challenges of writing about landscapes and events that may be alien to prospective readers. Meanwhile, at the event, Blood on the Land, she will discuss the soiled history that informs her novel.
For more information, visit OpenBookFestival.co.za
Yvonne Owuor will join Okey Ndibe, Saskia Goldschmidt and Nakhane Touré at the Meet & Read on 11 September. Proudly presented by This Is Africa and #cocreateSA.