Zakes Mda

Born: 1948

Ohio connection: Resident


A novelist and playwright, Zakes Mda has won every major South African literary prize. He is the author of six novels, among them Ways of Dying (winner of the M-Net Award for best novel and the Olive Schreiner Prize), The Heart of Redness (winner of the Hurston/Wright LEGACY Award for Fiction; a New York Times Notable Book; Best Book, Africa Regional Commonwealth Writers’ Prize; winner of the Sunday Times Fiction Award), She Plays with the Darkness (winner of the Sanlam Literary Award for Best Unpublished Novel), The Madonna of Excelsior (a New York Times Book Review Summer Reading Selection and an American Library Association Notable Book), The Whale Caller, and Cion. Currently, Mda is a professor of creative writing at Ohio University and divides his time between South Africa and Athens, Ohio. 

Amstel Merit Award, 1978, for We Shall Sing for the Fatherland; Amstel Playwright of the Year Award, 1979, for The Hill; Sanlam Literary Award, 1995, for She Plays with the Darkness; Olive Schreiner Prize for Prose, and M-NET Book Prize, both 1997, both for Ways of Dying; Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Legacy Award, 2003, for The Heart of Redness; Notable Book selection, American Library Association, 2005, for The Madonna of Excelsior.