Short story writer Sandisile Tshuma has had her short story, Arrested Development, short-listed for the Thomas Pringle Award, meant for the best story published in a newspaper, journal or periodical in southern Africa.
Tshuma’s story was first appeared in Long Time Coming: Short Writings from Zimbabwe; an anthology published by amaBooks in Bulawayo, and was subsequently reproduced in the Longhorn collection When the Sun Goes Down for Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, and in the South African literary journal Wordsetc.
The award is organised by the English Academy of Southern Africa. According to amaBooks’ Brian Jones, Tshuma’s short-listing “drew attention to the magnitude” of her achievement, primarily because Arrested Development was her first ever story.
He added that Tshuma was up against tried and tested writers in the mould of Stephen Watson, a professor in English and director of the Creative Writing Centre at the University of Cape Town, Liesl Jobson, a South African poet and musician, editor of the magazine Mad Hatters’ Review and winner of the Inglis House Poetry Contest, Arja Salafranca, another South African writer and poet, editor of the Life supplement of The Sunday Independent, and winner of the Sanlam Award for Poetry (1994), among others, and Gail Dendy, a South African poet with six published collections and five university degrees to her name.
Tshuma is the only non-South African finalist this year.
She was born and raised in Bulawayo, studied Chemical, Molecular and Cellular Sciences at the University of Cape Town and is currently studying Development and Disaster Management at the National University of Science and Technology.
Jones said Tshuma had a keen interest in human rights and was currently engaged as a Programme Associate for the Unesco East and Southern Africa Educaids programme.
“Her story Arrested Development looks with humour at the struggle to survive in Zimbabwe during the period of rampant inflation in 2007 through the eyes of a student researching an essay on cross-border trading,” he added.