ISBN 9780797442283
Pages 176
Dimensions 216 x 140 mm
Published 2011
Publisher amabooks Publishers, Zimbabwe
Format Paperback

Together

by John Eppel, Julius Chingono

THE TWO ZIMBABWEAN WRITERS featured in this collection of stories and poems could not be more different. John Eppel is an English literature teacher in Bulawayo; Julius Chingono, from Norton, near Harare, was a rock-blaster in mines for many years. Eppel is a deliberate stylist, while Chingono is a deliberate anti-stylist. The western literary tradition is pervasive in Eppel's writing; Chingono is his own tradition. In another sense, however, they could not be more similar. Both share an aversion for those in power who exploit it to the detriment of all but their cronies and themselves; both feel a deep compassion for the poor and the marginalized of Zimbabwe. And they are both very funny.

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Reviews

"A jewel-filled collection of stories and poems."

Philo Ikonya, Kenyan writer and activist

"A distinctive and distinguished addition to a burgeoning literature of response to human rights abuses in Zimbabwe."

Dan Wylie, Rhodes University, South Africa

"Together, in their ‘double act’, these ‘clever clowns’ have a large arsenal of highly creative critical commentary and are a formidable pair."

Drew Shaw, Midlands State University, Zimbabwe

"Together is a delightful – sometimes painfully delightful – read worth every penny that reflects on some of Zimbabwe’s most pressing contemporary issues in surprising ways. It also is a volume that begs one to rethink how Zimbabwean literature has been read and theorized over the years."

Joseph Chikowero, University of Wisconsin-Madison

"In a fractured nation, Together puts forth a coalescence of satire, sobriety, hope and sorrow. Careful scrutiny abuts simple observation as the authors weave their way through issues of race, violence, politics and religion. Eppel’s short stories are as esoteric as they are universal, colorfully describing a nosy neighbor or the farce of corrupt politics. Chingono’s economy of language constructs a heartbreaking image in a few poetic lines pleading with the reader to feel, to think. Together is a synthesis of deep sadness, sagacious humor and concentrated introspection of a society whose peoples are simultaneously drawn together and torn apart."

Lauren Schroff, University of Science and Technology, Bulawayo

"In a country that is ruled through fundamentalist narratives along racial, tribal, political and property ownership lines, Together is not only refreshing but highly symbolic. The book brings into conversation, Julius Chingono and John Eppel, a black and white Zimbabwean respectively. Through their poetry and short fiction, both writers strike the pose of a jester in their views of what has come to be known as the Zimbabwean “crisis”.

Thabs Ndlovu Review.pdf — PDF document, 570Kb
Thabisani Ndlovu, English Department, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

"Readers across the continent will relate to the characters and imagery conjured up in a jewel-filled collection of stories and poems by Zimbabwean writers John Eppel and the late Julius Chingono, writes Philo Ikonya."

"For those that enjoy the simple wisdom of Chinua Acbebe, you will find it in Together. There are those who realize the cultural candor to be found in Langston Hughes and his ‘Simple’ short stories. You will find it in Together too. Sadly, Julius Chingono died too soon. There is much I would have asked him about his work and his life. But, Together will have to answer those questions…for now. I truly recommend this work."

"This is southern African satirical writing at its best and despite this situations, it describes much to be enjoyed."

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The Witness, South Africa

"Modern African writers and poets, like the griots or praise poets in earlier times, hold a special place in society. While the job of the griot was to give praise to the traditional chief of the tribe, by virtue of his important position, the griot was able to throw in a fair amount of criticism, without being called to task. Today's African writers have a similar function: by telling it like it is, they are able to preserve the memory of the nation, while acting simultaneously as a collective conscience."

Fingaz review.pdf — PDF document, 99Kb
The Financial Gazette, Zimbabwe

"Together, John Eppel and Julius Chingono chronicle the lives of Zimbabweans going through a difficult decade. In their unique ways, these authors bring the reader closer to what was happening in the country, and their collaborative voice is a courageous plunge into subjects many artists often dread."

Wealth of Ideas review.pdf — PDF document, 382Kb
Emmanuel Sigauke, Wealth of Ideas

"Harrowing and haunting, but also beautiful and most surprisingly tender, ‘Together’ offers the reader a chance to hold on to hope when everything seems to be most horribly undone."

Liesl Jobson, Fine Music Radio

"In a groundbreaking joint publication project involving two Zimbabwean writers (one black and the other white), as well as three publishers, Together reflects the innovation that went into this collaboration, emerging as a refreshing and highly symbolic text."

Thabisani Ndlovu, WordsEtc, South Africa

"This is a must-read for people who have a good sense of humour and a no-go-area for those whose humour wires take long to heat up."

"I am really impressed with the stories and poems and any reader who picks up this book is likely to be surprised with the power behind the words; for the stories and poems leave much to think about."

"With nothing in common, they find they have everything in common. "Together" is a collection of short fiction from Julius Chingono & John Eppel, two writers in Zimbabwe who come together to share different world perspectives, united in their disgust at the abuse of power for greed and hopes for their people. A fine assortment of fiction and poetry, "Together" is an excellent assortment of Zimbabwean perspective, highly recommended."

"Taken together, Chingono and Eppel’s writings complement each other beautifully. They challenge the reader to reflect on Zimbabwe’s lost decade. Together is a delightful – sometimes painfully delightful – read worth every penny that reflects on some of Zimbabwe’s most pressing contemporary issues in surprising ways. It also is a volume that begs one to rethink how Zimbabwean literature has been read and theorized over the years."

About the Authors

John Eppel

In addition to writing short stories, John Eppel is also an award-winning poet and novelist. His first novel, D.G.G. Berry’s The Great North Road (1992), won the M-Net Prize in South Africa. His second novel, Hatchings (1993), was short-listed for the M-Net Prize and his third novel, The Giraffe Man (1994), has been translated into French.

His first poetry collection, Spoils of War (1989), won the Ingrid Jonker Prize. Other poems have been featured in anthologies that include The Heart in Exile South African Poetry in English 1990-1995 (1996) and Intwasa Poetry (2008) while his short stories have appeared in anthologies that include Short Writings from Bulawayo (2003), Short Writings from Bulawayo II (2005). Writing Now: More Stories from Zimbabwe (2005), Short Writings from Bulawayo III (2006), Laughing Now (2008), and Long Time Coming: Short Writings from Zimbabwe (2008). His latest published novel is Absent: The English Teacher.

Read an interview with John Eppel here: http://conversationswithwriters.blogspot.com/2007/02/interview-with-poet-novelist-and.html

Julius Chingono

The late Julius Chingono, who was born on a commercial farm in 1946, worked for most of his life on the mines. As a poet, he has had his work published in several anthologies of Shona poetry including Nhetembo, Mabvumira eNhetembo and Gwenyambira between 1968 and 1980. His only novel, Chipo Changu was published in 1978 and an award-winning play, Ruvimbo, was published in 1980. His poetry in English has also been published in several South African and Zimbabwean anthologies: Flags of Love (Mireza yerudo) (1983) and Flag of Rags (1996) and Intwasa Poetry (2008). He has a short story in each of the collections Writing Still (2003) and Writing Now (2005) and Long Time Coming: Short Writings from Zimbabwe (2008). Weaver Press published his own collection of short stories, Not Another Day in 2006. 

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