Zoë Wicomb & the Translocal : Writing Scotland & South Africa book cover
1st Edition

Zoë Wicomb & the Translocal
Writing Scotland & South Africa

ISBN 9781138237414
Published October 9, 2017 by Routledge
244 Pages

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Book Description

This is the first book on the fiction of Zoë Wicomb, a writer long at the forefront of the South African canon and whose international stature was firmly secured with the award of an inaugural Windham Campbell prize at Yale in 2013. It brings together interdisciplinary essays from the UK, USA, South Africa, and Australia, demonstrating Wicomb’s importance as a novelist, short-story writer, and critic. The central focus of the volume is the translocal, a term that navigates the complex and shifting relations between disparate localities, respecting the situatedness of each locality within its immediate geopolitical context, while investigating the connections and contrasts that operate between them. In Wicomb’s case, her work stems from a dual allegiance to two localities, both in her fiction as in her life: South Africa’s Western Cape and the west of Scotland. In tracking the relations, contemporary and historical, between these sites, her fiction reveals a consistent interest in and interrogation of home and belonging, space and place; it also offers telling insights into questions of race and gender. The historical processes of colonization and migration that have produced translocal connections of this kind are central to postcolonial studies, to which this book makes a significant contribution. Exploring the visual and cartographical, and extending debates on the transnational and cosmopolitan that are currently taking place across disciplines, including literary studies, geography, history, politics, and anthropology, the collection covers the range of Wicomb’s work. It also features an unanthologised essay by Wicomb herself, an interview, and a suite of photographs by Sophia Klaase, whose images of Namaqualand inspired Wicomb’s most recent novel, October.

Table of Contents

List of Figures



Chapter 1. Introduction

Derek Attridge

Chapter 2. Zoë Wicomb’s Translocal: Troubling the Politics of Location

Dorothy Driver

Chapter 3. The Urge to Nowhere: Wicomb and Cosmopolitanism

Abdulrazak Gurnah

Chapter 4. ‘No Escape from Home’: History, Affect and Art in Zoë Wicomb’s Translocal Coincidences

Derek Attridge

Chapter 5. ‘Travelling Light’: Images (via Wicomb) from the Gifberge to Glasgow

Kai Easton

Chapter 6. Zoë Wicomb’s Telescopic Visions: You Can’t Get Lost in Cape Town & October

Cóilín Parsons

Chapter 7. Roamin’ the Gloamin’: Scottish Ghosts of Griqualand in Zoë Wicomb’s David’s Story

Shaun Irlam

Chapter 8. History, Critical Cosmopolitanism and Translocal Mobility in the Fiction of Zoë Wicomb

Pamela Scully

Chapter 9. Lost and Found: Zoë Wicomb, Thomas Pringle and the Translocal in

Scottish–South African Literary Relations

David Attwell

Chapter 10. Glasgow’s Empire Exhibition and the Interspatial Imagination in ‘There’s the Bird That Never Flew’

John Miller and Mariangela Palladino

Chapter 11. Scenes from Namaqualand

Sophia Klaase

Introduction by Rick Rohde

Chapter 12. Unsettling Homes and the Provincial-cosmopolitan Point of View in Zoë Wicomb’s October

Meg Samuelson

Chapter 13. My Name is HannaH: Arthur Nortje Memorial Lecture

Zoë Wicomb

Chapter 14. Zoë Wicomb in Conversation with Derek Attridge

Notes on Contributors


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Kai Easton is Senior Lecturer in English at SOAS University of London, UK.

Derek Attridge is Professor Emeritus in the Department of English and Related Literature at the University of York, UK.