THE READER: Pumla Dineo Gqola — academic

BY ALEXANDER MATTHEWS

Pumla Dineo Gqola joined the University of Witwatersrand in 2007 and is currently an associate professor in its Department of African Literature. She has worked at the Meraka Institute, the HSRC, the University of the Free State and elsewhere. Her research interests include slave memory, sexuality and feminism.

What are you reading at the moment?

Bom Boy by Yewande Omotoso.

What book has had the greatest impact on you?

That’s hard to say. It would have to be a cross between Mirriam Tlali’s short story collection, Footprints in the Quag, and filmmaker Trinh T Minha’s book of essays, Woman, Native, Other.

What is your favourite novel of all-time?

The Temple of My Familiar by Alice Walker.

What were your favourite books as a child?

I loved Roald Dahl.

What’s the last book you gave as a gift?

NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names.

Which book have you never been able to finish?

Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses.

What book do you turn to for advice?

It really depends on what advice I am looking for. There isn’t one book that works for all situations.

What is the best inscription anyone has written in a book for you?

Most writers who don’t simply write “best wishes” make me quite happy, so I am quite pleased by most inscriptions in my books.

If you could have dinner with a dead writer, who would you dine with and where?

Oscar Wilde. Where? At a restaurant that feels like it sits on top of the world.

What book would you give to the President of South Africa to read?

Kagiso Lesego Molope’s masterful novel, This Book Betrays My Brother, because he needs to read it.

Renegade Called Simphiwe by Pumla Dineo GqolaPumla Dineo Gqola’s new book, A Renegade called Simphiwe, is published by Jacana, and is available from Kalahari.

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