The First Woman


Author: Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

9780861540266 | PB | pp. 448 | 2020 | Oneworld Publications

This is a coming-of-age feminist novel set in Uganda. Kirabo is an inquisitive child, who troubled by the absence of her mother seeks the help of a local witch.

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The First Woman is a sweeping tale of longing. An intoxicating blend of Ugandan
folklore and modern feminsm.

Kirabo is an inquisitive child. She has even more unanswered questions than other girls in the run-up to puberty, the greatest and most mysterious of which is: “Who is my mother?” In the small Ugandan village of Nattetta, nobody seems to want to tell her, least of all the grandparents who have loved and protected her throughout her life; fleeting visits from her father, Tom, who is busy making his mark in Kampala, yield no further insight. So Kirabo, already unsettled by her ability to depart her body and soar above her neighbourhood, decides to consult the village witch, Nsuuta.

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Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi







Year of Publication:



Oneworld Publications





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About the Author

The author is a Ugandan novelist and short story writer. She has a PhD from Lancaster University. Her first novel, Kintu (Oneworld, 2018), won the Kwani? Manuscript Project in 2013 and was longlisted for the Etisalat Prize in 2014. She was awarded the 2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for ‘Let’s Tell This Story Properly’, which featured in her first collection, Manchester Happened (Oneworld, 2019). She was awarded the prestigious Windham-Campbell Prize for Fiction 2018 and lives in Manchester, where she lectures in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University. In 2020, she was selected as one of 100 Most Influential Africans of 2020 by New African magazine.


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