ISBN 9781779220417
ePub ISBN 9781779221834
Pages 196
Dimensions 216 x 140 mm
Published 2005
Publisher Weaver Press, Zimbabwe
Formats Paperback, eBook

Chairman of Fools

by Shimmer Chinodya

Chairman of Fools explores the plight of Farai Chari, a supposedly successful writer, professor and self-acclaimed artist, living in an African culture in which tradition weighs heavy and middle class aspirations are crude. Farai yearns for a world in which men and women can freely associate with one another and gratify their passions without moral chastisement.

In the novel told with sympathy and affection, humour and irony, Chinoyda has created a meditation on male chauvinism, moral self- righteousness and mental break-down, continually posing the question: Is the hero an ingenuous and self-indulgent fool, or a deeply self-aware, but misunderstood character, who is pushing at the boundaries of prejudice.

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"While clearly representing an upper-middle class socio-economic status, Chinodya’s character is one that men in general can relate to. Masculinities in Zimbabwe, and indeed, around the globe, are such that men are often put into positions of expected power, success and responsibility. Should they not meet these expectations, their masculinity can be called into question, affecting not only their own identity and self-esteem, but the ways in which they relate to their families and communities. Chairman of Fools is a dark, and at times depressing representation of the despair that can consume, but also demonstrates the very real effects of the pressure often put on male heads of family."

About the Author

Shimmer Chinodya

Shimmer Chinodya was born in 1957 in Gweru, the second child in a large, happy family. He studied English Literature and Education at the University of Zimbabwe. After a spell teaching and with curriculum development, he earned an MA in Creative Writing at the Iowa Writers' Workshop (USA). His first novel, Dew in the Morning, was published in 1982. This was followed by Farai's Girls (1984), Child of War (under the pen name B. Chirasha, 1986), Harvest of Thorns (1989), Can We Talk and other stories (1998), Tale of Tamari (2004), Chairman of Fools (2005), Strife (2006), Tindo's Quest (2011), Chioniso and other stories (2012) and Harvest of Thorns Classic: A Play (2016). His work appears in numerous anthologies. He has also written educational texts, training manuals, radio and film scripts, including the script for the feature film, Everyone's Child. He has won many awards for his work, including the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Africa Region) for Harvest of Thorns, a Caine Prize shortlist for Can we Talk and the NOMA award for publishing in Africa for Strife. He has won awards on many occasions from ZIWU, ZBPA and NAMA. He has also received many fellowships abroad and from 1995 to 1997 was Distinguished Dana Professor in Creative Writing and African Literature at the University of St Lawrence in upstate New York. 

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