Asked to recommend three titles that would provide greater insight into Zimbabwe today, Brian Chikwava turned to both fiction and nonfiction, listing a novel, a memoir, and a collection of stories. Together they span Zimbabwe's pre-independence through the contemporary moment, including the new diaspora.

Bones A novel by Chenjerai Hove


Chenjerai Hove
(Baobab Books)

A powerful, poetic novel (1998) that more or less captures the entire gamut of the Rhodesian peasant's experience, this story informed and inspired the movements pushing for the birth of the Republic of Zimbabwe.


The Last Resort: A Zimbabwe Memoir by Douglas Rogers

The Last Resort: A Zimbabwe Memoir

Douglas Rogers
(Harmony Books)

While Hove's Bones delves into pre-independence Zimbabwe, Rogers's wry memoir-cum-travelogue is a deft account of the later years of the new republic. The Last Resort (2009) is one of the best books about the Zimbabwe of recent years.






Baghdad Mon Amour

An Elegy for Easterly

Petina Gappah
(Faber & Faber)

An outstanding and eclectic short-story collection (2009) encapsulating contemporary Zimbabwe. Humorous and poignant, the collection touches every level of society as well as the experience of the small nation's newly emergent diaspora.



A Zimbabwean writer, Brian Chikwava is the author of the novel Harare North and winner of the 2004 Caine Prize for African Writing for his story "Seventh Street Alchemy." His essay "Free Speech in Zimbabwe: The Story of the Blue-Stomached Lizard" appeared in the September 2006 issue of WLT.