Zambian author Ellen Banda-Aaku won the 2010 Penguin Prize for African Writing for her first novel, Patchwork, which came out in June this year. Born in 1965 in Woking Surrey, UK, Ellen grew up in Zambia and has lived and worked in Ghana, South Africa, the UK and Zambia. She talked to Africa Book Club about her new book, and the relative challenges of writing for children on the one hand and adults on the other.
With Patchwork (published by Penguin in June 2011), her first book for an adult audience, Aaku demonstrates her versatility and talent for telling a good story, even as she tackles serious social themes.
Aaku’s book, which won the 2010 Penguin Prize for African Writing, is set in Zambia. The story, presented in two parts, revolves around the life of Pumpkin, who we first meet as a nine year old growing up with her mother, Totela in Tudu Court, an apartment complex in Zambia’s capital, Lusaka.