Our Early Bird tickets are now on sale and the first round of speakers has been revealed. In this series we chat to these authors, artists and activists to get to know them a little better before they join us in October. This week we speak to Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, whose House of Stone won the 2019 Edward Stanford Travel Writing Fiction with a Sense of Place Award, and was longlisted for the 2019 Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize.
When and why did you start writing?
I wrote stories as a child, inspired by the stories I read. I think I was filled with childlike wonder, and was trying to figure out the magic of stories through imitation, in the way children learn.
What’s the most extraordinary place your writing has taken you?
The Bellagio Literary Arts Residency run by The Rockefeller Foundation by Lake Como, in Italy.
What’s your favorite part of the writing process, and least favorite?
There is nothing more pleasurable than losing yourself in a story, grappling with words and sentences and trying to get at something substantial. My least favorite part is starting, because that’s when writing feels tenuous.
“There is nothing more pleasurable than losing yourself in a story, grappling with words and sentences and trying to get at something substantial.”
What issues and ideas are you hoping to explore during UWRF19?
How can we learn to live together better, and dream better dreams collectively? The earth is dying, people are fracturing into pockets of communities clustered around toxicity and political depravity — we are facing so many fundamental shifts that require our collective brilliance to get us through. Also, let’s find reasons to laugh more, together. Joy is an essential part of problem solving.
Who do you hope will be in the audience?
I look forward to interacting with the people of Bali and Indonesia in all their diverse beauty! I enjoy frank and honest discussions with all audiences, and am never afraid to speak my mind and think fruitfully with others.
What’s your advice for aspiring writers?
Read, read, read. And write with bravery and boldness and care. And know that every writer experiences failure and rejection and it’s a necessary part of the journey to writing your best work.
For readers unfamiliar with your work, what do you suggest they start with?
I would recommend my recently published short story A Lesson in Englishness, which is the first story in the Atlantic Shorts Series. For readers who love the long form, I recommend my novel House of Stone.
What are you working on now? Where to next for your writing?
A new novel.
novuyotshuma.com | Twitter: @NovuyoRTshuma | Instagram: @_novuyorosatshuma
Eager to hear more from Novuyo Rosa Tshuma? Pick up your Early Bird ticket now, saving you 20% on the regular price of a 4-Day Pass. Stay tuned for our full lineup announcement in mid-August.