Olympics 2024:

Information about Campus Tours, Access and Visits


A Day with Writer-in-Residence Tinashe Mushakavanhu


Tinashe Mushakavanhu

Our 2023 writer in residence, Tinashe Mushakavanhu, spoke with AUP creative writing students about imagination, form, media, the Zimbabwean literary diaspora, and artmaking under the radar of authoritarianism.

Using examples from his recent work, Mushakavanhu discussed printmaking and editing as modes of community building, as well as ways of tracing the movement of Zimbabwean literature across the globe. Zines, pamphlets, anthologies, crowd-sourced “anecdotal” biographies, and speculative book covers (based on Dambudzo Marechera’s unfinished novels) all figure among Mushakavanhu’s projects, which challenge traditional divides between media, forms, and genres.

Mushakavanhu led students through his creative methodology, which “theorizes by doing.” Students were exposed to the ways in which color in printmaking, attention to all five senses in writing, and bookmaking (attending to all parts of the production process) bring people together, making writing collaborative and challenging the notion of reading and literature-making as solitary activities. The pamphlet-as-form, an alternative to the novel, is taken less seriously by authoritarian governments; it playfully averts their gaze. An artist with one foot in the academy, Mushakavanhu also touched on his library of books that never existed, his biography of a Zimbabwean literary giant made of anecdotes collected via Whatsapp, and his work “translating” between different media, modes, and cultures.

Tinashe Mushakavanhu is a Zimbabwe born writer currently based in Oxford, England. He is a Junior Research Fellow in African & Comparative Literature at St Anne’s College, University of Oxford. His short stories and poetry have been anthologised. He is a recipient of the prestigious Miles Morland African Writer’s Scholarship.

He has previously worked in digital media including as inaugural Group Digital Editor at The Financial Gazette, Zimbabwe’s oldest private newspaper, and also participated in a media fellowship at VICE Media. In 2016 he was selected as a CNN Diversity Fellow. For a long time he was a literary columnist for The Standard newspaper. He is a former Executive Secretary of the now defunct Budding Writers Association of Zimbabwe.

His latest nonfiction writing focuses on historical and literary subjects. He is currently working on projects about figures such as Bob MarleyDambudzo Marechera and Yvonne Vera. His recent books include Some Writers Can Give You Two Heartbeats (2019) and This Man is Dangerous: A Writer in Harare (2023).