I learnt a lot from Doris Lessing, others– Wanner | Independent Newspapers Limited
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I learnt a lot from Doris Lessing, others– Wanner

Posted: Apr 12, 2015 at 12:43 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Yemi Adebisi

South African writer and journalist, Zukiswa Wanner has said that reading stories of experienced politicians, fictions and novels of great African writers have played immeasurable role in moulding her career.



Described as a true pan-African at heart in a write-up, she was born in Zambia to South African father and a Zimbabwean mother but currently residing in Kenya. Her debut novel, The Madam (2006) tackles racism in post-apartheid South Africa. Behind Every Successful Man (2008) is a controversial depiction of a reversal of the balance of power in relationship.

Her third novel, Men of the South, was shortlisted for Commonwealth Prize Africa Region for Best Book in 2010.

She has a unique perception about nations and writers.

“I always deceive myself that I can learn a lot about a nation through how its writers perceive it. If I am in Accra, Ghana for instance, with my writer’s limited resources, it’s cheaper to buy a book and read about the Cape Coast or Kumasi than travel there. But added to that, if I should be able to travel to the different places, it is quite interesting to compare another writer’s viewpoints with mine. Oh, and finally I look for a bookstore because I am truly and honestly just a bibliophile,” she said.

Wanner, who claimed to read at least two books per week, said she works with books the same way she works with money. In a nutshell, she said she becomes much happier when she has both at her disposal.

Which genre does she really read most? Wanner said: “I read both fiction and non-fiction, depending on my mood. I am obsessed with writers and politicians’ biographies – what they both seem to have in common is a God-complex. I read all the time. I am the woman who reads in the street while walking from one place to another, goes to bed with a book and generally sleep with the light on in case I wake up and have to continue so that I don’t stand up to switch on the light. My putting energy saver lights in my bedroom may have been a good idea for this reason if no other.”

She has catalogue of great books on her shelf.

“I am currently reading The Cleft by Doris Lessing. I just finished Ronald Suresh Robert’s unauthorised biography of Nadine Gordimer. I don’t think I can point out to one book and call it my favourite. I learn a lot from each book I read and I tend to revisit many of them depending on my mood,” she said.