Namwali Serpell biography

Author Biography  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Namwali Serpell
Photo: © Peg Skorpinksi

Namwali Serpell

Namwali Serpell Biography

Namwali Serpell was born in Lusaka. Her first novel, The Old Drift (Hogarth, 2019), won the Anisfield-Wolf Book prize for fiction "that confronts racism and explores diversity," the Arthur C. Clarke Award for science fiction, the Grand Prix des Associations Littéraires Prize for Belles-Lettres, and the L.A. Times' Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. It was short listed for the L.A. Times' Ray Bradbury Prize for Science Fiction, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction and long listed for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the Nommo Award for Best African Speculative Novel, and the Historical Writers' Association Debut Crown. It was named one of the 100 Notable Books of 2019 by the New York Times Book Review, one of Time Magazine's 100 Must-Read Books of the Year, and a book of the year by New York Times Critics, The Atlantic, NPR, and BuzzFeed.

She is a co-recipient of a 2020 Windham-Campbell Prize for fiction (with Yiyun Li). Her short story, "Take It," was a finalist for the 2020 Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award. In 2014, she was chosen as one of the Africa 39, a Hay Festival project to identify the most promising African writers under 40. In 2011, she received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award. Her first published short story, "Muzungu," was selected for The Best American Short Stories 2009 and short listed for the 2010 Caine Prize; she went on to win the 2015 Caine Prize for "The Sack."

She is a Professor of English at Harvard University. She was Assistant, then Associate, Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley from 2008-2020. Her first book of literary criticism, Seven Modes of Uncertainty, was published in 2014 by Harvard University Press. Her second book of essays, Stranger Faces, came out with Transit Books in Fall 2020. Her nonfiction book, American Psycho Analysis, is forthcoming with Columbia University Press.

From the author's website, December 2020

Namwali Serpell's website

This bio was last updated on 12/02/2020. In a perfect world, we would like to keep all of BookBrowse's biographies up to date, but with many thousands of lives to keep track of it's simply impossible to do. So, if the date of this bio is not recent, you may wish to do an internet search for a more current source, such as the author's website or social media presence. If you are the author or publisher and would like us to update this biography, send the complete text and we will replace the old with the new.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Books by this Author

Books by Namwali Serpell at BookBrowse
The Old Drift jacket
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Namwali Serpell but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born in Nigeria in 1977. She is from Abba, in Anambra State, but grew up in the university town of Nsukka where she attended primary and secondary schools and briefly studied Medicine and ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Old Drift

    Try:
    The Thing Around Your Neck
    by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

  • David Brookshaw

    David Brookshaw

    Born in London, David Brookshaw is an emeritus professor at the School of Modern Languages at the University of Bristol. He specialises in comparative literature, translation, and postcolonial Portuguese literature. He has ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Old Drift

    Try:
    Woman of the Ashes
    by David Brookshaw

We recommend 6 similar authors

View all 6 Readalikes

Non-members can see 2 results. Become a member
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more


Today's Top Picks


Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
In Every Mirror She's Black
by Lola Akinmade Akerstrom
An arresting debut for anyone looking for insight into what it means to be a Black woman in the world.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Never Saw Me Coming
    by Vera Kurian

    "Fun, entertaining and hard to put down."
    The New York Journal of Books

  • Book Jacket

    The Lost Notebook of Edouard Manet
    by Maureen Gibbon

    A sensual portrait of Manet's last years, and a vibrant testament of the artistic spirit.

Win This Book!
Win A Most Clever Girl

A Most Clever Girl by Stephanie Marie Thornton

A thrilling novel of love and espionage, based on the incredible true story of a Cold War double agent.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

Run T G

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.