Zukiswa Wanner Award-winning author • Editor • Curator • Publisher


Zukiswa Wanner is an award-winning South African author, curator, editor, and publisher. The Madams, Behind Every Successful Man, Men Of The South, London Cape Town Joburg, and Love Kill Marry are her long-form works of fiction. Her considerable oeuvre also includes two works of nonfiction—Maid in SA and Hardly Working—and four children’s books Jama Loves Bananas, Refilwe, The Seven Continents: Africa, and Black Pimpernel: Nelson Mandela on the Run.

Zukiswa is the recipient of numerous literary accolades. She won the K Sello Duiker Award at the South African Literary Awards for London Cape Town Joburg in 2015; she was shortlisted for the same award in 2007 for her debut novel The Madams. In 2020, she became the first African woman to be awarded the Goethe Medal, a German state award for her contribution to cultural exchange. She was selected among the pan-Africanist New African magazine’s 100 Most Influential Africans and cited by literary blog Brittle Paper as Literary Person of the Year 2020.

Her editorial works include Behind The Shadows: Contemporary Stories from Africa and Asia, co-edited with Rohini Chowdhury; Water Birds On The Lake Shore; and The Heart Is A Bastard.

In 2018, Zukiswa co-founded Paivapo Publishing. Its titles include the children’s anthology Story Story, Story Come edited by Maimouna Jallow; Mukoma Wa Ngugi’s We, The Scarred (originally published by Ohio University Press as Mrs Shaw), Yara Nakahanda Monteiro’s Loose Ties; and The Daughters of Nandi by Nokuthula Mazibuko Msimang.

Wanner is the creator and curator of the arts initiative Artistic Encounters which has been running since 2017 and has had performances in Nairobi, Kenya, Johannesburg, South Africa and in June, Zurich, Switzerland. In 2020, she founded the first pandemic literary festival Afrolit Sans Frontieres which morphed into Virtually Yours.

In July, 2020, Zukiswa became Doek! Literary Magazine’s inaugural Literatea interview with “The Facts Are Cold When The Tea Is Hot” and co-headlined the inaugural Doek Literary Festival in 2022.