Monday, July 10, 2017

Kirillov across Cultures: The Great Zimbabwean Novel

Tendai Huchu in conversation with Jeanne-Marie Jackson
Durham University, Friday 15 Sep 2017, 17.30
as part of the Transnational Russian Studies seminar programme

Tendai Huchu's second novel, The Maestro, the Magistrate and the Mathematician, channels Dostoevsky’s Demons at key points as it abandons an issues-based linear plot in favour of three zany novellas braided together. The story is in the fabric of the novel itself, as it gets snagged on the vacant opportunities of global downward mobility and flailing diasporic national opposition politics. The Maestro, the Magistrate, and the Mathematician, in its invocation of Russian influence, captures Huchu's propensity for formal experimentalism and philosophical depth. In a conversation with Johns Hopkins professor and literary critic, Jeanne-Marie Jackson, Huchu will discuss his efforts to capture and play with the widespread cynicism of our moment. Jeanne-Marie Jackson writes of the influence of Dostoevsky's Demons on Huchu's novel in a chapter titled 'The Russian Novel of Ideas in Southern Africa' in a forthcoming work.

Dostoevsky’s Demons is, according to Ronald Hingley, scholar and specialist in Russian history and literature, “one of humanitys most impressive achievements—perhaps even its supreme achievement—in the art of prose fiction.”

Huchu’s multi-genre short stories and nonfiction have appeared in the Manchester ReviewInterzoneSpace and Time MagazineEllery Queen Mystery MagazineAfrica ReportWasafiriYear’s Best CrimeMystery Stories 2016, and elsewhere. Between projects, he translates fiction between the Shona and English languages. In 2014 he was shortlisted for the Caine Prize, and in 2017 for the Nommo Awards for Speculative Fiction. Find him @TendaiHuchu.

Huchu has two short stories to be published soon in Zimbabwe by amaBooks, in Moving On and other stories from Zimbabwe and in The Goddess of Mtwara, the 2017 Caine Prize for African Writing anthology.

The Maestro, the Magistrate and the Mathematician is published in Zimbabwe by amaBooks, in the UK by Parthian Books, in North America by Ohio University Press, in Germany by Peter Hammer and in Nigeria by Kachifo.

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