Zakes Mda is a professor of creative writing at Ohio University. He has been a visiting professor at both Yale and the University of Vermont. Among his novels, "The Heart of Redness "(FSG, 2002) won the Richard Wright Zora Neale Hurston Legacy Award. He lives in Johannesburg, South Africa, and Athens, Ohio.
"Mda's greatest gift is his Dickensian social range, his ability to generate characters from diverse backgrounds, colluding and colliding across the barriers erected to divide them. Mda's gregarious and transfixing memoir, "Sometimes There Is a Void", chronicles the upheavals that have sharpened his skills as a wide-ranging social observer . . . Mda's autobiographical voice strikes a fine balance between outward engagement and inner exploration . . . To his credit, in a deeply unsettled life, he has nurtured this capacity to find within the creative act itself new, reviving forms of homecoming." --Rob Nixon, "The New York Times Book Review ""A moving, funny, and deeply bawdy book that meanderingly describes the South African writer's coming of age during a period when Nelson Mandela was more well-known for being a lady-killer than a politician, and the Boers of South Africa were boogeymen to young boys all over southern Africa. Into the alphabet soup of political allegiances jumps the young Mda, son of a lawyer--and a lover, not a fighter . . . The alternating warmth and horror of Mda's recollections make "Sometimes There Is a Void'' a strangely gripping book . . . Here is a man looking back on his life and country with joy and sorrow, and all their excessive gestures. He chafes against easy narratives. They were--he was--alive with ideas, growing up at the dawn of South Africa's independence. But they were also alive with so much else: sex and food and booze, family life and music. Lift the lid off this big overstuffed book and all of it - or what feels like all of it - comes tumbling out." --John Freeman, "The Boston Globe""Born into a prominent South African activist family, Mda fled to Lesotho at the age of fifteen to join his father, a radical lawyer living in exile. He went on to become one of the most celebrated playwrights and novelists of the post-apartheid era." --"The New Yorker""Mda's electric honesty is a live current through his remarkably