Mubanga Kalimamukwento

Mubanga Kalimamukwento is a Zambian writer and lawyer. Her first novel, The Mourning Bird (Jacana) won the Dinaane Debut Fiction Award in 2019. She won the Kalemba Short Story Prize and was shortlisted for the Bristol Short Story Prize. She’s been published in many journals worldwide. Mubanga is an alumna of the Hubert H. Humphrey (Fulbright) Fellowship and the Young African Leaders Initiative. She’s a current MFA candidate at Hamline University where she received the Writer of Color Merit Scholarship. She lives in Minnesota, with her husband and two children.
REFLECTIONS sees protagonist Twaambo (which translated literally means talk) the centre of conflict between her parents as they talk about their child’s gender identity.

To find out a little more about her work, we asked Mubanga the following questions…

What inspires your work?

Everything. Sometimes an idea comes to me in a dream and I wake up, groggy, and scribble it if I have paper close by, or just text it to myself. A lot of the time, my stories are built out of random memories from my childhood kind of patched together. Sometimes I lift my head out of a book or look away from the computer, and my kids do something funny, which I think should slip into a story. Bus rides are the best places, just watching people’s movements when they are alone with their thoughts.

Tell us a bit about your writing process…

I write at night when everything is quiet. I think it’s just a byproduct of parenting and life, wanting to be present for everything else important but needing to feed this part of myself. I play music while I write; something Zambian usually.