Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

One of Jackie Kay’s selected writers for the International Literature Showcase


“Witty as well as deeply affecting, Makumbi is as comfortable in the grand sweep of the epic novel as she is in the powerful shot of the short story.”

Jackie Kay


Ugandan writer keen on folklore, feminisms, masculinities, renergising readerships for African fiction.

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi is a Ugandan fiction writer. Her first novel, Kintu, won the Kwani? Manuscript Project 2013. Her collection of short stories, Manchester Happened, (UK/Commonwealth) and Let’s Tell This Story Properly (US/Canada) was shortlisted for The Big Book Prize: Harper’s Bazaar 2019. The First Woman (2020) for UK/Commonwealth and A Girl is a Body of Water for USA/Canada was longlisted for The Aspen Words Literary Prize 2021, shortlisted for the Jhalak Prize 2021, Encore Prize 2021 and James Tait Black Prize 2021. A recipient of the Windham-Campbell Literature Prize 2018, she won the Global Commonwealth Short story prize 2014.

Currently, she is working on a novel that explores Pan Africanism at a global level and ethnic citizenship at a cultural level.

Read an interview with Jennifer in The Guardian Read an interview with Jennifer in Electric Lit Magazine

‘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 on Kintu, in the Guardian

‘[A] magisterial first novel, Kintu.’ – Namwali Serpell, The New York Review of Books

‘Writing with the assurance and wry omniscience of an easygoing deity.’ – Julian Lucas, New York Times

‘This is a collection to savour in bits and bite-sized portions; there are too many pungencies to swallow in one gulp.’ – Nicholas Delbanco, New York Journal of Books

‘Makumbi Writes with the assurance and wry omniscience of an easy going deity’ – New York Times

Review of A Girl is a Body of Water by Washington Post

This is huge: to be given this opportunity, and, chosen by Jackie Kay is double affirmation.



The First Woman (UK/commonwealth) / A Girl is a Body of Water (US/Canada) 2020

Manchester Happened (UK/commonwealth) / Let’s Tell This Story Properly (US/Canada) (2019)

Kintu (2014)

Let’s Tell The Story Properly (2014)

Contact Jennifer




Anthony Harwood: James Macdonald Lockhart


Oneworld Publications: Margot Weale


Main image (c) Mark Rusher