Set amidst the brutality of Idi Amin’s Uganda, Makumbi's wise and tender novel is a hymn to survival, rebellion and the enduring power of the female spirit.
Shortlisted for the James Tait Black Prize for Fiction 2021
Shortlisted for the Jhalak Prize 2021
For one young girl, discovering what it means to become a woman in a family, a community and a country determined to silence her will take all the courage she has.
Growing up in a small Ugandan village, Kirabo is surrounded by powerful women. Her grandmother, her aunts, her friends and cousins are all desperate for her to conform, but Kirabo is inquisitive, headstrong and determined. Up until now, she has been perfectly content with her life at the heart of this prosperous extended family, but as she enters her teenage years, she begins to feel the absence of the mother she has never known. The First Womanfollows Kirabo on her journey to becoming a young woman and finding her place in the world, as her country is transformed by the bloody dictatorship of Idi Amin.
Jennifer Makumbi has written a sweeping tale of longing and rebellion, at once epic and deeply personal, steeped in an intoxicating mix of ancient Ugandan folklore and modern feminism, that will linger in the memory long after the final page.
Number of pages: 448
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 33 mm