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South African novelist and playwright to speak at Drake

August 31, 2009
CONTACT: Tory Olson, 515-271-1834, tory.olson@drake.edu

Zakes Mda, a novelist and playwright from South Africa, will speak and read from his work on Tuesday, Sept. 15, at 7:30 p.m. at Drake University.

The talk is part of Drake's Writers and Critics Series, which is free and open to the public. It will take place in the Cowles Library Reading Room, 2725 University Avenue.

According to the New York Times Magazine, Mda "may have a more central place in South Africa's literary and political spheres than any other novelist today."

Mda is the author of six novels and has won every major South African literary prize.

His works include:
  • "Ways of Dying," winner of the M-Net Award for best novel and the Olive Schreiner Prize

  • "The Heart of Redness," winner of the Hurston/Wright LEGACY Award for Fiction, a New York Times notable book, winner of the Sunday Times Fiction Award and named Best Book by the Africa Regional Commonwealth Writers' Prize

  • "The Madonna of Excelsior," a New York Times Book Review Summer reading selection and American Library Association Notable Book
Mda is a professor of creative writing at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. He divides his time between South Africa and Ohio.

The Writers and Critics Series, which is sponsored by Drake's English Department and its Center for the Humanities, will continue throughout the year. 

The next presentation in the series will be a reading by novelist Maxine Case at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24. The event will be held in the Cowles Library Reading Room. 

For a complete list of upcoming events in the series, visit the Web site

For more information on the series, contact Jennifer Perrine at 515-271-4161 or Jennifer.perrine@drake.edu.