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Namwali Serpell is a Zambian writer who teaches at the University of California, Berkeley. She won the 2015 Caine Prize for African Writing, and her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, and The Best American Short Stories. Her first novel, The Old Drift, which Salman Rushdie calls a “dazzling debut,” tells the stories of three Zambian families across three generations, from the precolonial past into the near future. It was listed as one of The New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2019.
In 2018, the New York Times named Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties one of “15 remarkable books by women that are shaping the way we read and write fiction in the 21st century.” Machado’s most recent publication, the memoir of trauma and abuse, In The Dream House, has garnered further acclaim. “Machado has already dazzled us with her brilliant fiction writing and she exceeds all expectations as she breaks new ground in what memoir can do.” — Roxanne Gay.
Photograph credit: Peg Skorpinski (left) & Art Streiber (right)