Brian Chikwava after a reading in NUI Maynooth, 2012, BlindArchangel (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons

Brian Chikwava: Further Reading

—Josh Jewell

Brian Chikwava’s writing has attracted a small but diverse critical following. Grace Musila’s 2007 article remains the most thorough investigation of Chikwava’s early short fictions, and echoing the ideas of Paul Gilroy, considers Chikwava in terms of musicality and rhythm. This strand of critique is continued in Christopher N. Okonkwo’s 2017 article in Research in African Literatures. By situating Chikwava in debates about rhythm and migration, and alongside articles about authors such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Okonkwo’s piece suggests Chikwava’s work is becoming increasingly significant in African and diasporic writing. Since the publication of Harare North in 2009, however, Chikwava’s work has been discussed increasingly within the field of world-literature. This marked a shift in the debate about Chikwava’s fiction, which up until that point had largely been viewed in terms of diaspora and cultural hybridity. World-Literature critics, however, have argued that Harare North reveals the structural asymmetry and violence of the modern world-system. Madhu Krishnan, Irikidzayi Manase, and Elleke Boehmer and Dominic Davies all consider how Harare North tells us as much about the brutal legacies of empire as they play out in and between Zimbabwe and Britain, as about those postcolonial subjects who consequently vacillate between ‘Zimbabweanness’ and ‘Britishness’. Chikwava’s work, it would seem, sits on the fault-line between postcolonial and world-system critical paradigms. Bringing these paradigms together, future research might consider how Chikwava’s visceral representations of manual work show how a postcolonial Britain remains dependent on a colonial-era exploitation of labour.

 

Primary

Fiction

Chikwava, Brian. ‘Seventh Street Alchemy’. Writing Still: New Stories from Zimbabwe, edited by Irene Stanton, Weaver Press, 2003, 17–30.

–––. ‘ZESA Moto Muzhinji’. Writing Now: More Stories from Zimbabwe, edited by Irene Stanton, Weaver Press, 2005, 41–51.

–––. ‘Dancing to the Jazz Goblin & his Rhythm’. The Literary Magazine, vol. 1, no. 1, 2005, n.p.

–––. Harare North. 2009. Vintage, 2010.

Non-Fiction

Brian Chikwava ‘One Dandelion Seed-head’. Zimbabwe’s New Diaspora: Displacement and the Cultural Politics of Survival, edited by JoAnn McGregor and Ranka Primorac, Berghahn Books, 2010, pp. 246–54.

–––. ‘Mia Couto talks to Brian Chikwava’. Wasafiri, n.d., n.p.

Secondary

Boehmer, Elleke, and Dominic Davies. ‘Literature, Planning and Infrastructure: Investigating the Southern City through Postcolonial Texts’. Journal of Postcolonial Writing, vol. 51, no. 4, 2015, pp. 1–15.

Krishnan, Madhu. ‘Race, Class and Performativity’. Contemporary African Literature in English: Global Locations, Postcolonial Identifications, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

Manase, Irikidzayi. ‘Representations of the Post-2000 Zimbabwean Economic Migrancy in Petina Grappah’s “An Elegy for Easterly” and Brian Chikwava’s “Harare North”’. Journal of Black Studies, vol. 45, no. 1, 2014, pp. 59–76.

Musila, Grace. ‘Between Seventh Street, Goblins and Ordinary People: Textures of Resilience in Brian Chikwava’s Short Fiction’. English Studies in Africa, vol. 50, no. 2, 2007, pp. 133–49.

Okonkwo, Christopher N. ‘Migration Blues in Jazz Styling: Spinning Them Overlooked Jazz and Blues Numbers in Brian Chikwava’s Fiction’. Research in African Literatures, vol. 47, Number 4, 2017, pp. 152–70.

Primorac, Ranka, and Brian Chikwava. ‘“Making New Connections”: An Interview with Brian Chikwava’. Zimbabwe’s New Diaspora: Displacement and the Cultural Politics of Survival, edited by JoAnn McGregor and Ranka Primorac, Berghahn Books, 2010, pp. 255–60.