The two Zimbabwean writers featured in this collection of stories and poems could not be more different. John Eppel is an English literature teacher in Bulawayo; Julius Chingono, from Norton, near Harare, was a rockblaster in mines for many years. Eppel is a deliberate stylist, while Chingono is a deliberate antistylist.
The western literary tradition is pervasive in Eppel’s writing; Chingono is his own tradition. In another sense, however, they could not be more similar. Both share an aversion for those in power who exploit it to the detriment of all but their cronies and themselves; both feel a deep compassion for the poor and the marginalized of Zimbabwe. And they are both very funny.
Julius Chingono spent most of his working life as a rock blaster in the mines. He wrote in both Shona and English, and won awards for poems written in both languages. He had five books published: one play, Ruvimbo; one novel, Chipo Changu; two poetry collections, Flag of Rags and Kazwi; and one collection of short stories and poetry, Not Another Day. He died in January 2011, after a short illness.
John Eppel, born in South Africa, was raised in Zimbabwe, where he still lives, teaching English at Christian Brothers College in Bulawayo. His first novel, D G G Berry’s The Great North Road, won the M-Net prize. His poetry collections include Spoils of War, which won the Ingrid Jonker Prize. Aside from five other novels and three poetry collections, he has written two collections of poetry and short stories.