Book Title: MANCHESTER HAPPENED
Author: Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
Pages: 320 pages
If there’s one thing the characters in Jennifer Makumbi’s stories know, it’s how to field an uncomfortable question.
‘Let me buy you a cup of tea…what are you doing in England?’
‘Do these children of yours speak any Luganda?’
‘Did you know that man Idi Amin?’
But perhaps the most difficult question of all is the one they ask themselves: ‘You mean this is England?
Told with empathy, humour and compassion, these vibrant, kaleidoscopic stories re-imagine the journey of Ugandans who choose to make England their home. Weaving between Manchester and Kampala, this dazzling collection will captivate anyone who has ever wondered what it means to truly belong.
Manchester Happened is a collection of 12 short stories, set in Manchester and Ugandan (Kampala),that tells the story of African migration and the strives of immigration.
These stories are spiced up with humour, sad concern for someone in misfortune, compassion and pity about Ugandans migrating.
This beautiful collection was able to show us the both sides of the toss; being a Ugandan native, coming to Britain and then, becoming the dreams those in your motherland (Uganda) wish you to be. while trying to still remain Ugandan enough when going back.
It’s a reminder that it’s not always green the way we imagine it to be over there. It reminds me of the fear of been told or called black over there.
This read gave raise to discussion of several topics; tradition, culture, race and been black as an individual.
This was my first time of reading something different, and I must say I wasn’t disappointed. I’m glad I read this; seeing how I was filled with different moods and emotions. I recommend the writing skills of Jennifer Makumbi.
My favourite character at the end, was Poonah (Mpona Watson); in the story titled (something Inside So Strong).
Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, a Ugandan novelist and short story writer, has a PhD from Lancaster University. Her first novel, Kintu [Read Review] Oneworld, 2018, won the Kwani? Manuscript Project in 2013 and was longlisted for the Etisalat Prize in 2014. She was awarded the 2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for her story Let’s Tell This Story Properly, and her first full story collection, Manchester Happened, published by Oneworld in 2019. Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi was awarded the prestigious Windham-Campbell Prize for Fiction 2018 to support her writing. She lives in Manchester with her husband and son, and lectures in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University.