The National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35, 2017
What We Lose
(Viking / Penguin Random House)
Selected by Angela Flournoy, 2015 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction and 5 Under 35 honoree
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Zinzi Clemmons was raised in Philadelphia by a South African mother and an American father. She is a graduate of Brown and Columbia universities, and her writing has appeared in Zoetrope: All-Story, The Paris Review Daily, Transition, and elsewhere. She is a cofounder and former publisher of Apogee Journal and a contributing editor to Literary Hub. She has been in residence at the MacDowell Colony, Bread Loaf, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and Dar al-Ma’mûn in Marrakech, Morocco. Clemmons lives in Los Angeles with her husband.
Photo credit: Nina Subin
About the book (FROM THE PUBLISHER)
Raised in Pennsylvania, Thandi views the world of her mother’s childhood in Johannesburg as both impossibly distant and ever present. She is an outsider wherever she goes, caught between being black and white, American and not. She tries to connect these dislocated pieces of her life, and as her mother succumbs to cancer, Thandi searches for an anchor—someone, or something, to love.
In arresting and unsettling prose, we watch Thandi’s life unfold, from losing her mother and learning to live without the person who has most profoundly shaped her existence, to her own encounters with romance and unexpected motherhood. Through exquisite and emotional vignettes, Clemmons creates a stunning portrayal of what it means to choose to live, after loss. An elegiac distillation, at once intellectual and visceral, of a young woman’s understanding of absence and identity that spans continents and decades, What We Lose heralds the arrival of a virtuosic new voice in fiction.
- WEBSITE: zinziclemmons.com
- TWITTER: @zinziclemmons
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About the Selecting author
Angela Flournoy is the author of The Turner House, which was a Finalist for the National Book Award and a New York Times notable book of the year. The novel was also a finalist for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and an NAACP Image Award. She is a National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" Honoree for 2015. Her fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, and she has written for The New York Times, The Nation, The Los Angeles Times, and elsewhere. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Flournoy received her undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California. She has taught at the University of Iowa, The New School and Columbia University.