Auxilia Katongomara, Entertainment Correspondent
Chronicle, 7 June 2013
BULAWAYO writer Bryony Rheam’s novel This September Sun this week became the best-selling e-book on Amazon in the United Kingdom in three different categories, literary fiction, historical fiction and in the overall sales category.
Amazon is the biggest bookseller in the world, specialising in physical and e-books. The novel was first published and launched in Bulawayo in 2009 by local publishers ‘amaBooks before the UK rights were sold to Parthian Books. Brian Jones of ‘amaBooks said: “The book has been selling well in Zimbabwe since it was first published in 2009, and particularly well here since it was selected as an “A” Level set book by Zimsec.
It has taken a while for it to be noticed elsewhere in the world and we were surprised, and very pleased for Bryony, that sales of the e-book reached such high levels.” He said it came as a great surprise to them that the little known author’s book sales have soared in the UK.
“It is, apparently, very unusual for a book by a new author to become a best-seller in the United Kingdom, beating nearly two million other titles, including those by well-known writers such as Dan Brown and F Scott Fitzgerald especially as Bryony has not been able to travel there to promote the book because of her work as a teacher.
Bryony is working in her spare time on a book of short stories and on a second novel, and I’m sure those books will prove at least as popular as This September Sun,” said Jones.
This September Sun, which is mostly set in Bulawayo, is a chronicle of the lives of two women, the romantic Evelyn and her granddaughter Ellie, from the time Evelyn arrived in the country at the end of the Second World War to the present day.
Growing up in post-Independence Zimbabwe, Ellie yearns for a life beyond the confines of “small town” Zimbabwe, a wish that eventually comes true when she moves to the United Kingdom.
However, life there is not all she dreamed it to be, but it is the murder of her grandmother that eventually brings her back home and forces her to face some hard home truths. Ellie looks back, through her grandmother’s diary entries and letters, and through her own childhood memories, to the doomed relationship between Evelyn and her mysterious lover and to other long-concealed family secrets.
The author was born in Kadoma in 1974 and lived in Bulawayo from the age of eight until she left school. She studied for a BA and an MA in English Literature in the United Kingdom and then taught in Singapore for a year before returning to teach in Zimbabwe in 2001.