Namwali Serpell spoke to Efemia Chela recently for a Short Story Day Africa interview.
Serpell teaches at UC, Berkeley, and has won a number of awards for her short stories. Her first novel, The Old Drift, will be published by Penguin Random House in 2018. She calls it, with her ‘tongue firmly in her cheek’, ‘the Great Zambian Novel you didn’t know you were waiting for’.
Are you allowed to tell us a little a bit more about your forthcoming book, The Old Drift?
NAMWALI: Yes! This will be my debut novel and it should be coming out in 2018. It spans two centuries–1850 to 2050–and multiple genres, including the Gothic and sci-fi. It tells the story of three multicultural Zambian families over three generations, spiraling down to a love triangle and a political movement. I use the saga of these families to pose some rather grandiose questions: How do you live a life or forge a politics that can skirt the dual pitfalls of fixity (authoritarianism) and freedom (neoliberalism)? And what happens if you treat error not as something to avoid but as the very basis for human creativity and community?
To read the full interview, click on the link above.