Novuyo Rosa Tshuma at Harvard Book Store


Digging Stars:
A Novel 

in conversation with NOVIOLET BULAWAYO


September 29, 2023
7:00 PM ET


Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138


This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store welcomes NOVUYO ROSA TSHUMA—author of the award-winning novel House of Stone—for a discussion of her new novel Digging Stars. She will be joined in conversation by award-winning author of the novels Glory and We Need New Names, NOVIOLET BULAWAYO.

About Digging Stars

With admission to The Program, an elite interdisciplinary graduate cohort at the forefront of astronomy and technology, Rosa’s dreams are finally within reach. Her research into the cosmos follows in the footsteps of her astronomer father’s revolutionary work in Bantu geometries and Indigenous astronomies. A bona fide genius, he transformed the scientific landscape by fusing the best of Western and Indigenous scientific thought. Yet since his death during her childhood, Rosa has been plagued by anxiety attacks she dubs “The Terrors”—and by unresolved questions about her father’s life. Who is his mysterious friend Mr. C? Who was her father, really?

Ambitious, hungry for success, and determined to soar, Rosa joins the ranks of America’s smartest. Her cohort of talented Fellows includes Shaniqua, her roommate, who is analyzing melanin molecules and their capacity to conduct electricity; Richard, an expert in quantum mechanics; Mausi, studying Indigenous American scientific thought; and Péralte, Rosa’s estranged stepbrother whose obsessive videogaming has inspired him to become a programmer. Her classmates challenge Rosa’s understanding of identity, personhood, the ethics of technology, and, most painfully, her adulation of her father, whose legacy is more complicated than it appears.

Digging Stars is a paean to the cosmos and a celebration of the democratic spirit of knowledge. Novuyo Rosa Tshuma’s characters explode the rigid matrices of the academy to prove that science, art, technology, and history are all planets orbiting the same sun.

Praise for Digging Stars

"Sumptuous, propulsive, and radiant. Novuyo Rosa Tshuma is unafraid to scale the stars. What a liberating thrill to read this book!" —NoViolet Bulawayo, author of Glory

"Novuyo Rosa Tshuma’s virtuosic, word-drunk sentences cast bridges across the abysses of history and the gaps between the stars. In Digging Stars, she chronicles a family’s fractures and a young woman’s determination to conquer the terrors of both outer and inner space. This is a brave and moving book." —Garth Greenwell, author of Cleanness

"Digging Stars is an extraordinarily unique portrait. The real stars of this canny undoing of the hubris of settler futurism are Novuyo Rosa Tshuma’s disarmingly brilliant words." —Namwali Serpell, author of The Furrows

"An utterly remarkable novel of real ambition and heft by a truly significant young writer." —Chigozie Obioma, author of An Orchestra of Minorities

"How to write a deeply felt, vividly imagined page-turner about Afrofuturism, astronomy, and astrobiology? Ask Novuyo Rosa Tshuma. Digging Stars is vital, ambitious, and reaches high as the cosmos that inspire its characters’ lives and journeys. Pulsing with energy and mystery, this is a novel you won't soon forget." —Ayana Mathis, author of The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

Mask Policy

Masks are encouraged but not required for this event.

NoViolet Bulawayo
NoViolet Bulawayo

NoViolet Bulawayo

NoViolet Bulawayo NoViolet Bulawayo is the author of the novels Glory and We Need New Names, which was recognized with the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, the Pen/Hemingway Award, the LA Times Book Prize Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, the Etisalat Prize for Literature, the Fred Brown Literary Award, the Betty Trask Award, the Barnes and Noble Discover Award (second place), and the National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” Fiction Selection. We Need New Names was also shortlisted for the International Literature Award, the Man Booker Prize, and the Guardian First Book Award. Glory was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Rathbones Folio Prize, and longlisted for the Dublin Literary Award, the Women’s Prize for Fiction, and the Aspen Words Literary Prize. Bulawayo grew up in Zimbabwe and earned her MFA from Cornell University, where she was a recipient of the Truman Capote Fellowship. She has also held fellowships at Princeton, Harvard, Stanford, Stellenbosch, and the University of Johannesburg.

Novuyo Rosa Tshuma
Novuyo Rosa Tshuma

Novuyo Rosa Tshuma

Novuyo Rosa Tshuma is the author of the award-winning novel House of Stone and a professor of fiction at Emerson College. A native of Zimbabwe, she lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

Photo credit: Cynthia Ayeza

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