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A Girl is a Body of Water: Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi in conversation with Novuyo Tshuma

Event date: 
Tuesday, June 22, 2021 - 7:30pm to 9:00pm

Charis welcomes Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi in conversation with Novuyo Tshuma for a celebration of A Girl is a Body of Water an unforgettable, sweeping testament to the true and lasting connections between history, tradition, family, friends, and the promise of a different future. This event is co-hosted by the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History. This event takes place on crowdcast, Charis' virtual event platform. Register here

In her thirteenth year, Kirabo confronts a piercing question: who is my mother? Kirabo has been raised by women in the small Ugandan village of Nattetta—her grandmother, her best friend, and her many aunts—but the absence of her mother follows her like a shadow. Seeking answers from Nsuuta, the local witch, Kirabo learns about the woman who birthed her, who she discovers is alive but not ready to meet. Nsuuta also helps Kirabo understand the emergence of a mysterious second self, a headstrong and confusing force inside her—this, says Nsuuta, is a streak of the “first woman”: an independent, original state that has been all but lost to women.

Kirabo’s journey to reconcile these feelings, alongside her desire to reconnect with her mother and to honor her family’s expectations, is rich in the folklore of Uganda and an arresting exploration of what it means to be a modern girl in a world that seems determined to silence women. 

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi is a Ugandan fiction writer. Jennifer is a recipient of the Windham-Campbell Literature Prize 2018.  Her first novel, Kintu, won the Kwani? Manuscript Project in 2013. She has a PhD from Lancaster University and is a senior lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Novuyo Rosa Tshuma is the author of the novel House of Stone, winner of the 2019 Edward Stanford Travel Writing Award for Fiction with a Sense of Place and the 2019 Bulawayo Arts Award for Outstanding Fiction. A native of Zimbabwe, she holds a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston, an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, and a BComm in Economics and Finance from the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa.

This event is free and open to all people, especially to those who have no income or low income right now, but we encourage and appreciate a solidarity donation in support of the work of Charis Circle, our programming non-profit. Charis Circle's mission is to foster sustainable feminist communities, work for social justice, and encourage the expression of diverse and marginalized voices.

We will be archiving this event and adding closed captioning as soon as possible after airing so that it will be accessible to deaf and HOH people. If you have other accessibility needs or if you are someone who has skills in making digital events more accessible please don't hesitate to reach out to We are actively learning the best practices for this technology and we welcome your feedback as we begin this new way of connecting across distances.

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Event address: 
A Girl Is A Body of Water Cover Image
ISBN: 9781951142551
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Tin House Books - June 15th, 2021

“Makumbi is such an honest, truthful writer. . . . I loved every single page.” —Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage

A Best Book of the Year at TIMEThe Washington PostO, the Oprah Magazine; BBC

Winner of the Jhalak Prize

Kintu Cover Image
By Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, Aaron Bady (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9781945492013
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Transit Books - May 16th, 2017

Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2017

Winner of the Windham-Campbell Prize

Winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize

A soaring and sublime epic. One of those great stories that was just waiting to be told.--Marlon James, Man Booker Prize-winning author of A Brief History of Seven Killings

Event Summary: 
Charis welcomes Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi in conversation with Novuyo Tshuma for a celebration of A Girl is a Body of Water an unforgettable, sweeping testament to the true and lasting connections between history, tradition, family, friends.