Author details

Zoe Wicomb


I was born and raised in South Africa. I have lived in Scotland since 1994. Until December 2008 I worked as Professor in the Department of English Studies at the University of Strathclyde. My works of fiction are: You Can't Get Lost in Cape Town, David's Story, Playing in the Light, and The One That Got Away. These have been translated into German, French, Swedish, Dutch and Italian. Short stories can be found in various anthologies and journals, including The Penguin Book of Contemporary South African Short Stories and The Heinemann Book of South African Short Stories.

About writer's work

I publish fiction as well as critical essays on South African writing and culture. My fictions are set in South Africa, except for the last book, The One That Got Away, a collection of short stories set in both Glasgow and Cape Town. This book and Playing in the Light have been short listed for the Commonwealth Prize; David’s Story won the South African M-Net Fiction Award. My fiction has been translated into German, French, Italian, Swedish, Czech, Japanese and Dutch, and is taught in universities in the USA, Australia, South Africa and England

Current events and projects

I am available for readings and workshops with adults.

Other work

The Penguin Book of Contemporary South African Short Stories, Stephen Gray (ed.)Penguin Books, Johannesburg & London (1994). The Heinemann Book of South African Short Stories, Hirson, D (ed.) Heinemann Books, London (1994). Mohnblumen auf Schwarzem Filz: Autorinnen aus vier Kontinenten , Keil & Bruckner, T. (eds.) Unions verlag, Zurich (1998) Transitions: Half a Century of South African Short Stories, MacKenzie, C. (ed.) Francolin Pub, Cape Town (1999) The Heinemann Book of African Women's Writing, Bruner, C (ed.) New York (1999). The Art of the Story: An International Anthology of Contemporary Short Stories, Daniel Halpern (ed.), Viking, New York & Penguin, London (2000). Stand Magazine Vol 5 (4), University of Leeds (2004). Armada: Tijdschrift voor wereldliteratuur, No 34, Amsterdam (2004). The New Century of South African Short Stories, Chapman, M. (ed.), Jonathan Ball, Johannesburg (2005). Antigonish Review, Canada (2004)


Local authority where they are based


Local authorities where they can work

Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Argyll and Bute, Clackmannanshire, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles), Dumfries and Galloway, Dundee, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Fife, Glasgow, Highland, Inverclyde, Midlothian, Moray, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Orkney, Perth and Kinross, Renfrewshire, Scottish Borders, Shetland, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, West Dunbartonshire, West Lothian, Other

Age groups


LL funded


BRAW network


Author type




Books written

The One That Got Away

Author(s): Zoe Wicomb
<p>A collection of short stories set in both Glasgow and Cape Town. They are connected through characters – often a minor character in one story takes central stage in another.</p>
Book Cover

Playing in the Light

Author(s): Zoe Wicomb
<p>This novel explores the legacy of children born into a life of lies during the apartheid era of complex franchise laws.
Book Cover

David's Story

Author(s): Zoe Wicomb
<p>A self-reflexive novel with a dual time frame: C19 historical events woven into a contemporary story of the dissolved military wing of the ANC.
Book cover

You Can't Get Lost in Cape Town

Author(s): Zoe Wicomb
<p>This is a book of short stories connected by the same central character who grows up as a young ‘coloured’ woman in South Africa.&nbsp; Critics also refer to it as a bildungsroman.</p&