The First Woman (Paperback)
  • The First Woman (Paperback)
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The First Woman (Paperback)

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£9.99
Paperback 448 Pages
Published: 01/07/2021
  • 5+ in stock

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Waterstones Says

Set amidst the brutality of Idi Amin’s Uganda, Makumbi's wise and tender novel is a hymn to survival, rebellion and the enduring power of the female spirit.

Winner of the Jhalak Prize 2021

Shortlisted for the James Tait Black Prize for Fiction 2021

For one young girl, discovering what it means to become a woman in a family, a community and a country determined to silence her will take all the courage she has.

Growing up in a small Ugandan village, Kirabo is surrounded by powerful women. Her grandmother, her aunts, her friends and cousins are all desperate for her to conform, but Kirabo is inquisitive, headstrong and determined. Up until now, she has been perfectly content with her life at the heart of this prosperous extended family, but as she enters her teenage years, she begins to feel the absence of the mother she has never known. The First Woman follows Kirabo on her journey to becoming a young woman and finding her place in the world, as her country is transformed by the bloody dictatorship of Idi Amin.

Jennifer Makumbi has written a sweeping tale of longing and rebellion, at once epic and deeply personal, steeped in an intoxicating mix of ancient Ugandan folklore and modern feminism, that will linger in the memory long after the final page.

Publisher: Oneworld Publications
ISBN: 9781786078582
Number of pages: 448
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 33 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

'The First Woman by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi is the feminist coming-of-age story we've been waiting for. With the timeless quality of a story shared from lips to ears, this novel is a page-turner and a mind-blower.' Tayari Jones, author or An American Marriage

‘Ugandan literature can boast of an international superstar in Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi.’ Economist

'The genius of this novel is in its subtlety: home truths about the treatment of women throughout history are hidden like gems within the utterly engaging tale of a single girl... So, I’m calling it now: The First Woman will soon be considered a coming-of-age classic. And rightly so.' Stylist

'Makumbi balances heartbreak with humour… The novel is also a discourse on power (whether political, social or sexual), but executed with a beautifully light touch.' Daily Telegraph

'A beautiful coming-of-age story...steeped in folklore and feminism, rebellion and longing.' Evening Standard

'Fantastic... Packed with passion and drama — and in possession of sharp political elbows — The First Woman finally becomes a moving and resonant celebration of sisterhood.' Daily Mail

'A novel bursting with resilience and warmth... Mixing the mythic and the modern, happily ignoring formal neatness to encompass Uganda's miscellaneousness, it's an enthralling achievement.' The Sunday Times

'At turns rapturous and devastating... Makumbi's writing uplifts and inspires, evoking the grand tradition of folklore and stories passed down, one woman to the next.' Refinery29

'Superb. An intoxicating tale that combines mythic and modern elements to make the headiest of feminist brews.' Irenosen Okojie, author of Nudibranch  

'A powerful coming-of-age tale… Kirabo is a fantastic character – headstrong and curious – and the way Ugandan myths are woven through the story is mesmerising.' Good Housekeeping

'Kirabo's odyssey makes for a riveting, exuberant novel, a coming-of-age like no other.' O, The Oprah Magazine, 'Best Books of 2020'

'Joyful and intimate... Makumbi revels in the female perspective of this unusual, richly detailed coming-of-age story.' Times Literary Supplement

'Captivating, wise, humorous and tender: Makumbi has come back stronger than ever... A riveting read.' Maaza Mengiste, author of The Shadow King

'A lively, engaging read... Its energy derives from its considerable wit and the charm of its central character.' Guardian

'The First Woman is a wonder... Clear, vivid, moving, powerful, and captivatingly unpredictable... With wry wisdom, great humour, and deep complexity, Makumbi has created a feminist coming-of-age classic for the ages.' Namwali Serpell, author of The Old Drift

'Bursting with resilient humour, the novel is as engaging as it is informative.' The Times, 'Best Books of 2020'

'Makumbi's prose is irresistible and poignant, with remarkable wit, heart and charm... The First Woman rewards the reader with one of the most outstanding heroines.' New York Times

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“Highly recommended”

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi’s The First Woman is a beautiful tale of a girl – Kirabo – growing up in Uganda in the 1970s.
From the beginning, Kirabo reels you in with her warmth, fondness for storytelling, and... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 28

“Compelling read”

The First Woman is an interesting, if sometimes inaccessible, read about the role of women in Ugandan society.

Kirabo, the main character, is a young teenager in the 1970s amid the backdrop of Idi Amin’s rule, and... More

Hardback edition
10 similar books recommended
Helpful? Upvote 27

“At it’s heart, ‘The First Woman’ is a feminist interpretation of these old Ugandan origin tales. An usual and beautiful story.”

‘The First Woman’ by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi is the second novel from the award winning author. The novel tells the story of young Kirabo, who is being raised by her grandparents in rural Uganda. Kirabo is... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 24

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