The First Woman

Pages: 448
Imprint: Oneworld

The First Woman

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

The stunning second novel from the award-winning author of Kintu is a soulful, fiercely original novel rooted in Ugandan mythology
Hardback
9781786077882 (1 Oct 2020)
RRP £16.99

The Book

The stunning second novel from the award-winning author of Kintu is a soulful, fiercely original novel rooted in Ugandan mythology

Smart, headstrong Kirabo is raised by her grandparents in rural Uganda. But as she enters her teens, she starts to feel overshadowed by the absence of the mother she has never known. 

At once epic and deeply personal, The First Woman is the bold and piercing story of one young girl's discovery of what it means to be a woman in a family, a community and a country that seem determined to silence her. Steeped in the rich folklore of Uganda but with an eye firmly on the future, Jennifer Makumbi has written a sweeping, effervescent tale of longing, femininity, and courage.

Additional Information

Pages 448
Imprint Oneworld

 

About the Author

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi is a Ugandan novelist and short story writer. She 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 'Let's Tell This Story Properly', which featured in her first short story collection, Manchester Happened (Oneworld, 2019). She was awarded the prestigious Windham-Campbell Prize for Fiction 2018, and lives in Manchester with her husband and son, where she lectures in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Reviews

'The First Woman is captivating, wise, humorous and tender: Makumbi has come back stronger than ever. This is a tale about Kirabo and her family, and her place in the world as she searches for her mother and a true sense of belonging. But most of all, this is a book about the stories that define us, and those we tell to redefine ourselves. A riveting read.'

- Maaza Mengiste, author of The Shadow King

'The First Woman is a wonder, as clear, vivid, moving, powerful, and captivatingly unpredictable as water itself... With wry wisdom, great humor, and deep complexity, Makumbi has created a feminist coming-of-age classic for the ages.' 

- Namwali Serpell, author of The Old Drift

‘Ugandan literature can boast of an international superstar in Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi.'

- Economist

‘Makumbi writes with the assurance and wry omniscience of an easygoing deity.'

- New York Times

'The First Woman is a wonder, as clear, vivid, moving, powerful, and captivatingly unpredictable as water itself - from the "irate noises" of Nnankya's stream to the "theatrical" rains of Nattetta with which Makumbi's women wash, delight, and sate themselves. With wry wisdom, great humor, and deep complexity, Makumbi has created a feminist coming-of-age classic for the ages, sure to join the company of Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, Tsitsi Dangarembga's Nervous Conditions, and Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan Quartet. Being surrounded by Makumbi's women - young and old - as they each struggle in different ways to clarify and achieve mwenkanonkano, feels like love, feels like learning - and best of all it often feels, as she puts it, 'like mischief'!' 

- Namwali Serpell, author of The Old Drift

'In her characteristically page-turning and engaging style, Nansubuga lays bare the complex power dynamics of patriarchy, capitalism and neocolonialism, not through academic jargon but via that most effective tool of education - storytelling.  An achingly beautiful tale.'

- Sylvia Tamale, Professor of Law, Makerere University

Also by this author