GREENEVILLE – A multi-award-winning novelist, short story writer, poet, essayist and filmmaker from Zambia will perform a reading, open to the community, Thursday, Nov. 17, at Tusculum University.
Mubanga Kalimamukwento will take the stage at 7 p.m. in Behan Arena Theatre, located on the lower floor of Annie Hogan Byrd Fine Arts Center, as the winner of the 2022 Poetry Chapbook Prize. This award was recently bestowed by The Tusculum Review, the university’s international literary journal.
Kalimamukwento was honored for her chapbook “unmarked graves.” She describes the collection as “conversations with ghosts,” and she contemplates the loss of her closest family members to the AIDS epidemic in Zambia. She will read from the chapbook during her appearance at Tusculum and answer audience questions. Afterward, attendees will be able to participate in a reception celebrating this publication.
The event is free.
“Mubanga’s poems are courageous in form and content,” said Kelsey Trom, associate professor of English and the Harriet Reaves Neff ’21 Chair of Fine Arts at Tusculum. “She uses indigenous Zambian languages and challenges Zambian proverbs. Her images and scenes have the sharp clarity of a child’s memory and a grown woman’s perspective. These are poems that matter. This is an author who matters. We’re honored to publish her first chapbook.”
Copies of the limited edition chapbook, which includes illustrations by Amiah Brown, will be available for sale at the event and will be signed by Kalimamukwento. In addition, the Tusculum Band will contribute to the ambience of the evening by performing adapted and improvised compositions.
Kalimamukwento pursues other writing genres as well. Her first novel, “The Mourning Bird,” won the Dinaane Debut Fiction Award and was listed among the 15 most notable books of 2019 by Brittle Paper, an online literary magazine. Later that year, she won the Kalemba Short Story Prize.
Her writing has appeared or is about to be published in adda, Aster(ix), Doek!, Overland, The Killens Review of Arts and Letters, The Red Rock Review and elsewhere. She examines the experiences of Zambian women where culture, class, politics and access to justice come together.
She has earned fellowships with the Young African Leadership Initiative in 2017, the Hubert H. Humphrey (Fulbright) Fellowship in 2018, the Voodoonauts Summer Workshop 2020, the Hawkinson Scholarship for Peace and Justice in 2021 and the 1000 Voices Program (Every Woman Treaty) in 2022.
Kalimamukwento is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts at Hamline University.
“Spending this evening with Mubanga will enrich personal lives by hearing how she uses the art of poetry so well to convey the emotions of what she has experienced,” said Wayne Thomas, dean of the College of Civic and Liberal Arts. “This event also continues our tradition of showcasing exceptional writing through The Tusculum Review and enables our students to be inspired by others’ work and pursue their dreams as authors.”