In 2010, Irene Sabatini shot to international fame, when she won the Orange Award for New Writers for her first book, The Boy Next Door. Sabatini, who spent her childhood in the laid back city of Bulawayo in Zimbabwe, studied psychology at the University of Zimbabwe and then took a Masters at the Institute of Education in London. She has lived and worked in several countries: teaching in Colombia, conducting research work in Barbadian schools and writing environmental science books for Zimbabwean primary schools. She currently lives in Geneva with her husband and two sons.In November this year, she released follow-on novel, Peace and Conflict: A Boy’s Tale. She talked to Africa Book Club about how she got into writing, life after winning the Orange Award, and her most recent book.
Our March book giveaway is The Boy Next Door, the award winning book by Irene Sabatini. Published in 2009 by Little, Brown and Company, the book won the 2010 Orange Award for New Writers.
Set in the 80s and 90s, in Bulawayo, the story starts with the house next door burning down in a blaze of fire which results in the death of Mrs McKenzie. Ian McKenzie, her stepson is held responsible and imprisoned but released after two years. This is where the fascination begins and Lindiwe Bishop is hypnotised by her white neighbour. The two strike an unusual relationship that will take them on a roller-coaster of emotions. Though Ian did not cast a spell on the impressionable Lindiwe, she is addicted to him.