“Writing is a form of escape for me. My head is a very crowded place but its only when I write that I find calm and solace.” Tendai HuchuTendai Huchu was born in 1982 in a sleepy mining town north of Harare called Bindura, Zimbabwe. He attended Churchill High School in Harare and from there went to the University of Zimbabwe to study a degree in Mining Engineering. He dropped out in the middle of the first semester, worked briefly in a casino and from there drifted from one job to the next, working as a binman at some point. Four years later he returned to university. Huchu started writing while he was in high school; and he was sub-editor of The Churchill Times, the school newspaper. He won a couple of national essay contests for his articles; he only delved into fiction-writing when he was 23 … “because I felt I had a story to tell.” Huchu’s first novel, “The Hairdresser of Harare” – a story of Vimbai, an ambitious young single mother navigating her life through Zimbabwe's social, political and economic decay whilst trying to create a better future for herself and her daughter. Along the way she meets Dumisani, a dashing man from a wealthy family who, unknown to her, carries a dark secret that will shatter her view of the world – explores the great African taboo subject of homosexuality. It was published October 10th, 2010. His second novel, “An Untimely Love”, which begins with the intriguing question: what happens when two suicide bombers meet and fall in love with each other on the day planned for their attacks? The story is told from the perspective of the terrorist Khaled Patel. An Untimely Love was published December 1st, 2010. In 2013, Huchu was awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship (a prestigious international award open to published writers from around the world).
11 FUN FACTS ABOUT TENDAI HUCHU
- After he saw his name on the cover of his first novel – The Hairdresser of Harare –Huchu threw up (vomited) and then went numb.
- While experimenting with Victor Hugo’s technique in The Last Day of a Condemned Man (1829), Huchu wrote his own homage, The Last Day of a Suicide Bomber, which was published on www.bibliotastic.com; and forms the first part of his second novel ‘An Untimely Love’
- His biggest literary influence is Russian novelist, short story writer, essayist and philosopher - - Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
- While he plays a ‘fair bit’ of chess, Huchu’s has confessed to be “irredeemably mediocre” at it.
- Huchu’s first novel “The Hairdresser of Harare” was translated and published in German in 2011.
- He got the idea for The HaHHHairdresser of Harare on Christmas day 2009.
- Huchu has been known to display Luddite tendencies (a person opposed to increased industrialization or new technology), which means you’re not likely to spot him on Twitter or Facebook any time soon.
- The first book he ever loved was A Kiss For Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik; which his mother read to him repeatedly at bedtime.
- Huchu never studied creative writing; rather he learnt through reading writers who he admired … and did a lot of trial and error.
- He wrote The Hairdresser of Harare in Edinburgh.
- Huchu reads a book a week … although, when time allows.