Loading Programs

« All Programs

  • This Program has passed.

International Reading Series: An Exploration of South African Literature with Zakes Mda

March 20 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT

In this third installment of our International Reading Series curated by Anderson Tepper, City of Asylum welcomes Zakes Mda. This series features an exploration of global perspectives and voices with authors born and raised outside of the United States. In this program Zakes and Anderson will discuss the breadth of Zakes’ work and the ways in which it reflects and relates to the shifting landscape of South African literature. 

Curator’s Note: “In the years following the end of Apartheid in South Africa, there was an outpouring of new writing from all corners of the country. Perhaps no author was more significant—or prolific—than Zakes Mda, whose work took on a thrilling range of themes and subjects, both historical (The Heart of Redness, The Madonna of Excelsior) and contemporary (Ways of Dying, She Plays with Darkness, The Whale Caller). For more than a decade now, he’s been based at Ohio University—and he’s written about there, too (Cion, Rachel’s Blue). It will be an absolute pleasure to finally meet Mda and discuss his work.”

Anderson Tepper, City of Asylum Advisory Board Member & Curator of International Literature

This reading is followed by a moderated conversation, audience Q&A, and a book signing. You can purchase your own copy of one of Zakes’ many works at City of Asylum Bookstore.

About the Author:

Zakes Mda (he/him) is the pen-name of Zanemvula Kizito Gatyeni Mda. He is an American-African writer, painter, and music composer. He holds an MFA (Theater) and an MA (Telecommunications) from Ohio University as well as a PhD from the University of Cape Town. He has been awarded honorary doctorates in literature and technology by several universities. He has published 27 books, 12 of which are novels and the rest collections of plays, poetry, and a monograph on the theory and practice of theater-for-development. His works have been translated into 24 languages, and they have won a number of awards in South Africa, the U.S., and Italy, including the Amstel Playwright of the Year Award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Africa, the M-Net Prize, and Sanlam Prizes (twice), among many others. He has published several articles in refereed academic journals and has participated in many literary festivals, conferences, and book tours in North America, Europe, South America, and Australia. His plays are often performed at theater festivals in various parts of the world, and his paintings are exhibited in the USA, Canada, Sweden, South Africa, Lesotho, and Spain. He lives in Athens, Ohio where he paints and writes full time. He is Professor Emeritus at Ohio University and teaches creative writing at Johns Hopkins University in the summer.  

About the Moderator: 

Anderson Tepper is co-chair of the international committee of the Brooklyn Book Festival and a guest curator of the 2023 PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature. Formerly of Vanity Fair, he writes on books and authors for a variety of publications, including The New York TimesThe Los Angeles Times, and World Literature Today. Anderson also serves on the City of Asylum Advisory Board.

About Your Visit: 

The in-house restaurant 40 North will be closed, but a cash wine bar will be available.

Share this:


March 20
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT
Program Category:


Alphabet City
40 W. North Avenue
Pittsburgh,PA15212United States
+ Google Map

Want to follow news about theExiled Writer and Artist Residency Program at City of Asylum? Sign up for our email list to receive news updates, information about our upcoming programs, and more!