Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

Introduction by Aaron Bady

Winner of the Windham-Campbell Prize

Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2017
Winner of the Kwani? Manuscript Project
Longlisted for the Etisalat Prize for Debut African Fiction
Winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize

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First published in Kenya in 2014 to critical and popular acclaim, Kintu is a modern classic, a multilayered narrative that reimagines the history of Uganda through the cursed bloodline of the Kintu clan. Divided into six sections, the novel begins in 1750, when Kintu Kidda sets out for the capital to pledge allegiance to the new leader of the Buganda Kingdom. Along the way, he unleashes a curse that will plague his family for generations. In an ambitious tale of a clan and a nation, Makumbi weaves together the stories of Kintu’s descendants as they seek to break from the burden of their shared past and reconcile the inheritance of tradition and the modern world that is their future. 


"Magisterial."The New York Review of Books

"Ancestral curses often ‘explain’ a group’s essential character. But Makumbi inverts that conceit: What if a curse expressed all the ways that families, cities and nations fail to cohere?”—The New York Times

"A soaring and sublime epic. One of those great stories that was just waiting to be told."—Marlon James, Man Booker Prize-winning author of A Brief History of Seven Killings

"With a novel that is inventive in scope, masterful in execution, she does for Ugandan literature what Chinua Achebe did for Nigerian writing."—Lesley Nneka Arimah, The Guardian

"A masterpiece of cultural memory, Kintu is elegantly poised on the crossroads of tradition and modernity."—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

"Reminiscent of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, this work will appeal to lovers of African literature."—Library Journal (Starred Review)

"Makumbi takes a sniper’s aim at the themes of virility and power across time. Over the course of six rich sections, she fires not a single gratuitous shot."—Public Books

"Postcolonial literature is often thought of as a conversation between a native culture and a Western power that sought to dominate it . . . Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi’s marvelous Ugandan epic, Kintu, explodes such chauvinism."—Guernica

"Passionate, original, and sharply observed, the novel decenters colonialism and makes Ugandan experience primary."—Book Riot

"Kintu is a masterpiece, an absolute gem, the great Ugandan novel you didn’t know you were waiting for."—Aaron Bady, The New Inquiry

"With crisp details and precise prose, Makumbi draws us into the dynamic and vast world of Uganda—its rich history, its people’s intricate beliefs, and the collective weight of their steadfast customs."—World Literature Today

"Jennifer Makumbi’s Kintu is a charming fable, a wide-ranging historical fiction, and a critical historiography . . . fresh, intelligent, critical, and ambitious."—Bookwitty

"Makumbi’s characters are compelling as individuals, but it is their shared past and journey toward a shared future that elevate the novel to an epic and enigmatic masterpiece."—The Riveter

"An extraordinary novel about a family bound together by love, betrayal, and an age-old curse, told in gripping language that continually surprises. A literary triumph.”—Maaza Mengiste, author of Beneath the Lion's Gaze

"A work of bold imagination and clear talent."—Ellah Allfrey, editor of Africa 39

"An ambitious modern epic that takes in family saga and the history of Uganda, fusing the urgency of the present with the timelessness of myth."—Jamal Mahjoub, author of The Drift Latitudes

"Our histories and our names have stories that we cannot afford to keep quiet about."—Nyana Kakoma, Africa In Words

"Makumbi is clearly a creative genius."—Tope Salaudeen-Adegoke, Wawa Book Review


First Published: May 16, 2017
5.25 x 8 | 446 pages
Rights: NA
978-1-945492-01-3 (paperback)
978-1-945492-03-7 (ebook)