Creative Writing Ph.D. Candidate Publishes Debut Novel


Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, a doctoral student in the Creative Writing Program, had her debut novel, “House of Stone,” published by W.W. Norton & Company in January 2019. Tshuma has been recognized as one of the most promising writers from Africa under the age of 40.

“House of Stone” won the 2019 Edward Stanford Travel Writing Award in the fiction category. Judges described the novel as “impressive, evocative, and highly unusual.” Tshuma’s previous work, a collection of short stories titled “Shadows,” was published in 2013 and won the Herman Charles Bosman Prize


“Novuyo Rosa Tshuma has written a towering and multilayered gem. House of Stone is one of the greatest-ever novels about Zimbabwe. What a timely, resonant gift.” - NoViolet Bulawayo, author of "We Need New Names"

"With luminous language, Novuyo Rosa Tshuma explores the treacherous terrain of colonization and decolonization, remembering and forgetting, and love and betrayal. The result is a gripping account of revolution and its aftermath, both for a country and for one man.” - Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "The Sympathizer"

“'House of Stone' is a novel of such maturity, such linguistic agility and scope that you’ll scarcely believe it’s a debut. Tshuma has set her formidable talents to no less a subject than the emergence of Zimbabwe from the darkness and tumult of colonialism. It’s fierce and energetic right to the end, and whip smart to boot.” - Ayana Mathis, author of "The Twelve Tribes of Hattie"

“To call ["House of Stone"] clever or ambitious is to do it a disservice – it is both, but also more than that...Tshuma is incapable of writing a boring sentence...She has managed to not only sum up Zimbabwean history, but also all of African colonial history: from devastating colonialism to the bitter wars of independence to the euphoria of self-rule and the disillusionment of the present. It is an extraordinary achievement for a first novel.” - Helon Habila, author of "Oil on Water", for the Guardian

“In this strong first novel for Zimbabwe-born Tshuma, narrator Zamani possesses many qualities of the classically defined unreliable narrator, particularly deception…A fascinating, often disturbing metaphor for Zimbabwe’s struggle to emerge from its colonial past and remember rather than erase its history; highly recommended.” - Library Journal, starred review

Easily the best debut I’ve read this year, Tshuma’s novel is both hilarious and horrifying, filled with compassion, anger and despair.. (Zamani) is an unreliable narrator of the kind that deserves to be remembered up there with Humbert Humbert—a more recent comparison of a similarly playful, amoral narrator would be from Viet Thanh Nguyen’s 'The Sympathiser'” - Kim Evans, Culture Fly