Manchester Happened

Pages: 320
Subject: Fiction
Imprint: Oneworld

Manchester Happened

From the winner of the Jhalak Prize, 2021

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

A stunning new story collection from Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, acclaimed author of Kintu and winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2014 and the Windham-Campbell Prize for Fiction 2018 

The Book



If there's one thing the characters in Jennifer Makumbi's stories know, it's how to field an uncomfortable question.

'Let me buy you a cup of tea...what are you doing in England?'

'Do these children of yours speak any Luganda?'

'Did you know that man Idi Amin?'

But perhaps the most difficult question of all is the one they ask themselves: 'You mean this is England?'

As hilarious as they are compassionate, these vibrant stories re-imagine the journey of Ugandans who choose to make England their home. Weaving between Manchester and Kampala, this dazzling collection will captivate anyone who has ever wondered what it means to truly belong. 

Additional Information

Subject Fiction
Pages 320
Imprint Oneworld


About the Author

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, a Ugandan novelist and short story writer, has a PhD from Lancaster University. Her first novel, Kintu (Oneworld, 2018), won the Kwani? Manuscript Project in 2013 and was longlisted for the Etisalat Prize in 2014. She was awarded the 2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for her story Manchester Happened, and her first full story collection, Manchester Happened, will be published by Oneworld in 2019. Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi was awarded the prestigious Windham-Campbell Prize for Fiction 2018 to support her writing. She lives in Manchester with her husband and son, and lectures in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University.


'A thoughtful writer who quietly, engagingly, pierces the reality of relocating to Britain. Manchester Happened explores the emotional nuance of the immigrant experience.'

- Observer

'Majestic...exactly the stories we all need.'

- Los Angeles Times

'Written with energy, passion and conviction, each one of the 12 stories is a jewel in its own right; collectively, they are a fascinating interrogation of the nature of identity and the pressing need for greater cultural integration.'

- Harper's Bazaar

'A masterpiece. This collection of short stories will resonate...with those who know intimately that the space between "here and back home" is more than just distance.'

- African Arguments, Best books by African writers, 2019

'Manchester Happened glitters with… Makumbi's terrific turn of phrase… Dedicated to the 'fearless Ugandans in the diaspora' [Manchester Happened] provides an entertaining insight into their lives. It is a fascinating collection and confirms Makumbi as an exciting new voice.'

- New Humanist

'These short stories span generations who experienced migration from Uganda to Britain and back again. They explore harsh realities such as racism, domestic abuse, sexual abuse, family break-ups, alcoholism and the lingering effects of colonialism. But there is humour among the cultural misunderstandings, petty snobberies and petty jealousies.'

- Irish Times

'In her latest collection of short stories, Jennifer Makumbi speaks to the struggles of immigration... As much as their tone is light...they are also evidently indirectly political. You cannot run away from the searing undertones of alienation, struggle with identity, and finding a home away from home.'

- The Star, (Kenya)

'The poorest Ugandan migrant returns home to the family for ceremonies and it's at these awesome occasions that Makumbi's storytelling reaches its zenith. Humour ripples through even the most dire adventure… A treasure to be savoured.'

- Country Style (Australia)

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