Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu Award-winning author • Literary scholar • Filmmaker

Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu is an award-winning Zimbabwean author, literary scholar, and filmmaker. Her first two novels—The Theory of Flight (2018) and The History of Man (2020)—were the recipients of considerable critical acclaim. While fusing together a range of histories and registers, The Theory of Flight, which won the 2019 Barry Ronge Fiction Prize, is the distinctive, moving, and provocative story of Genie, a visionary who flies in both literal and metaphorical senses, and her father, a freedom fighter and eccentric who is trying to build an aeroplane to bring his Dolly Parton-lookalike wife to Nashville. Her debut novel was described as “a sweeping multi-generational family saga” and “a magical realist novel of great wonder.”

Siphiwe’s second novel, The History of Man, explored nationhood and personhood while charting the violently destructive effects of settler-colonialism on both of these states of being. With the novel’s writing, Siphiwe was described as “an artist who dares to imagine her own mysterious realms, while never avoiding the devastating realities of the world in which we live.”

Her third novel, The Quality of Mercy, which acts as a bridge between her first two novels, is now available worldwide, and was shortlisted for the South African Literary Award for Fiction in 2023. It was described as “powerful and thought-provoking, effortlessly capturing the different classes and customs, prejudices and fears as Rhodesia morphed into Zimbabwe.”

Siphiwe holds a PhD in Modern Thought and Literature from Stanford University, as well as master’s degrees in African Studies and Film from Ohio University. She has published research on Saartjie Baartman and wrote, directed, and edited the award-winning short film Graffiti. She is a recipient of a 2018 Miles Morland Writing Scholarship and was a 2020 Writing Fellow at the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study (JIAS). In 2022, she was awarded the prestigious Windham-Campbell Prize and judged the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2024.

More from and about Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu:Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu on The Theory of Flight: ‘Africa exists in the world, and the world has always been in Africa”, “Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovy on The Quality Of Mercy: ‘I choose intersectionality, I choose diversity, I choose multiple perspectives.”, and “Excerpt from The Quality Of Mercy: ‘All an educated African man could be in the City of Kings was a boy.’”—excerpt from The Quality of Mercy (The Johannesburg Review Of Books) • “This Is What We Have Inherited: A Conversation With Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu(The Rumpus)

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