Zambian feminist academic and writer
Namwali Serpell (born 1980) is a Zambian writer who teaches in the United States.
- …partly because I’m perceived as black…the idea I could look at my mother and say to her that I’m not black makes no sense. To me, blackness is just part of what the family is.
- On how the binary system of race differs in Zambia from the United States in “Namwali Serpell: 'As a young woman I wasn’t very nice to myself'” in The Guardian (2019 Apr 30)
- I probably seem quite at ease now saying I’m mixed race, I’m black, I’m Zambian, but for a while that was quite torturous, quite angsty. As a young woman I wasn’t very tender or nice to myself…Now I’m older, I’m much more able to be tender and kind to the younger me that I see in the book.
- On coming to terms with her mixed race identity in “Namwali Serpell: 'As a young woman I wasn’t very nice to myself'” in The Guardian (2019 Apr 30)
- …It's a very interesting position to be in as an immigrant to the United States - now a citizen - who grew up in a country where the word immigrant meant people who were coming into Zambia, not people who were leaving, fleeing as refugees to go to the West…
- On the immigration destination being Zambia instead of the United States in “Namwali Serpell On 'The Old Drift'” in NPR (2019 Mar 30)
- I think there was an impulse in me to write women as central to the text. Part of that is my own limitations as a writer: being able to delineate the varieties of female experience is clearly easier for someone who’s lived as a woman, and projecting myself into male characters is harder for me. It’s something I have to really work on…
- On her penchant for writing female characters in “When They Blur: A Conversation with Namwali Serpell, Author of ‘The Old Drift’” in Los Angeles Review of Books (2019 Apr 13)