New Stories from Zimbabwe
edited by Irene Staunton
Weaver Press's previous collections of short stories, Writing Now and Writing Still, were highly praised for the quality of their prose and the imagination of their writers. They confirmed, for one reviewer, 'the paradoxical truth that troubled societies somehow produce some of the most interesting writing available. Laughing Now goes further, and demonstrates the enduring capacity of Zimbabweans to find humour in even the most difficult of circumstances. The stories embrace funerals, dancing competitions, family tensions, rampant inflation and endless queues for scarce goods. They take a wry look at pompous politicians, foreign filmmakers and the aspirations of the so-called 'new' farmers. Those by Petina Gappah, Chingono and Eppel won the first three prizes in the recent Mukuru.com short story competition.
Zimbabwean fiction in English has become world-renowned in recent decades, but its concerns - war, trauma and the trials of independence - have chronicled the pain of those periods. Laughing Now suggests that we are finding new ways to reflect our reality; that however many zeros we add to the rate of inflation, and however hungry we may become, humour is as good a responce as any.
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"This is yet another landmark contribution to Zimbabwean literature in English from the publishers of best sellers such as Writing Now and Shimmer Chinodya's award-winning novel, Strife...the 14 short stories featured in this anthology are remarkable for the way their authors employ humour and satire to critically appraise life while constructively scoffing at the follies and frailties besetting people. The reader cannot afford but laugh at the jokes that the authors so skilfully use to spotlight on the grim, sad yet truthful ironies of life."
About the Editor
Irene Staunton began work in publishing in London in the 1970s. Returning to Zimbabwe after its independence, she became the editor at the government’s new Curriculum Development Unit. In 1987, she co-established Baobab Books, which rapidly acquired a reputation as an exciting literary publisher. In 1999, she left Baobab to co-found Weaver Press. She was also the editor of the Heinemann African Writers Series for several years. Staunton has also researched and compiled a number of oral histories including Mothers of the Revolution.