Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu

Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu is a Zimbabwean filmmaker and scholar, as well as the author of two critically acclaimed novels: The history of man and The theory of flight. The theory of flight, which won the 2019 Barry Ronge Fiction Prize, fuses together a range of histories and registers into a distinctive, moving and provocative whole. The novel tells the 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 airplane to bring his Dolly Parton-lookalike wife to Nashville. A richly textured meditation on colonial history and civil war, The theory of flight is also a magical realist novel of great wonder and a sweeping multigenerational family saga.

In her second novel, The history of man, Ndlovu continues to explore nationhood and personhood, charting the violently destructive effects of settler colonialism on both. She is an artist who dares to imagine her own mysterious realms, while never avoiding the devastating realities of the world in which we live. Ndlovu 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 she wrote, directed and edited the award-winning short film Graffiti. She is the recipient of a 2018 Morland Writing Scholarship and 2020 Writing Fellowship at the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study (JIAS). Her third novel, The quality of mercy, which acts as a bridge between the first two novels, will be published in September 2022 in South Africa and in early 2023 in the United States.

Photo © Joanne Olivier

An interview with Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu, winner of a Windham-Campbell Prize for 2022

Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu, Izak de Vries Interviews 2022-04-20

"I believe that literature, if done right, speaks about much more than just the present moment – it allows us to examine the past and imagine the future."