In this reading, we welcome acclaimed Zimbabwean author Novuyo Rosa Tshuma to discuss her latest novel, Digging Stars. The discussion will be moderated by City of Asylum Advisory Board member Anderson Tepper, and will be followed by an audience Q&A and book signing.
Blending drama and satire while examining the complexities of colonialism, racism, and what it means to be American, Digging Stars probes the emotional universes of love, friendship, family, and nationhood. With admission to The Program, an elite interdisciplinary graduate cohort at the forefront of astronomy and technology, Rosa’s dreams are finally within reach. Her research into the cosmos follows in the footsteps of her astronomer father’s revolutionary work in Bantu geometries and Indigenous astronomies. A bona fide genius, he transformed the scientific landscape by fusing the best of Western and Indigenous scientific thought. Yet since his death during her childhood, Rosa has been plagued by anxiety attacks she dubs “The Terrors”—and by unresolved questions about her father’s life. Who is his mysterious friend Mr. C? Who was her father, really?
Ambitious, hungry for success, and determined to soar, Rosa joins the ranks of America’s smartest. Rosa’s cohort of talented Fellows challenge her understanding of identity, personhood, the ethics of technology, and, most painfully, her adulation of her father, whose legacy is more complicated than it appears. Digging Stars is a paean to the cosmos and a celebration of the democratic spirit of knowledge. Novuyo Rosa Tshuma’s characters explode the rigid matrices of the academy to prove that science, art, technology, and history are all planets orbiting the same sun.
You can purchase your own copy of Novuyo’s book, Digging Stars, at City of Asylum Bookstore.
About the Author:
Novuyo Rosa Tshuma (she/her) is the author of House of Stone, which won the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Award and the Bulawayo Arts Award for Outstanding Fiction, and was listed for the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction, the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Balcones Fiction Prize and the Rathbones Folio Prize. Novuyo has lectured on House of Stone at the University of Oxford in England, the Nordic Africa Institute in Sweden, and Vassar College in New York, among others. Shadows, her novella and short story collection (Kwela Books, South Africa 2013) won the Herman Charles Bosman Prize and was listed for the Etisalat Prize. The recipient of the 2009 Yvonne Vera Award, Zimbabwe’s short fiction prize, Novuyo’s writing has appeared most recently in McSweeney’s, Ploughshares, and The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives. The recipient of honors including a 2017 Bellagio Center Literary Arts Residency and a 2020 Lannan Foundation Fiction Fellowship, Tshuma has taught at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is an Assistant Professor of Fiction at Emerson College. Digging Stars (W. W. Norton, Sept. 2023) is her second novel.
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 Times, The Los Angeles Times, and World Literature Today. Anderson Tepper serves on the City of Asylum Advisory Board.
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