In 2010, Zukiswa Wanner founded ReadSA, a literary initiative in South Africa to make South Africans of all ages aware of the exciting but then little-known post-apartheid South African literature. After moving to Kenya, she founded Artistic Encounters in 2017, a literature-centred event where works of literary art speak to other art forms. She also conceived, coordinated and edited the Afro Young Adult project in 2018 – 2019 resulting in a YA anthology in English, French and Portuguese with books distributed to 20 African countries. She founded, curated and participated in the virtual literary festival in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, Afrolit Sans Frontières.
The author of the novels The Madams (2006), Behind Every Successful Man (2008), Men of the South (2010) and London Cape Town Joburg (2014) has also written the satirical nonfiction title, Maid in SA: 30 Ways to Leave Your Madam (2013), and a literary travel memoir Hardly Working (2018). Her children’s books are Jama Loves Bananas (2011), Refilwe (2014) and Africa: A True Book (2019).
Wanner co-edited Behind The Shadows, an African-Asian anthology with Indian writer Rohini Chowdhury and co-founded a South-South story and literary-sharing platform www.lashamba.wordpress.com with Mexican writer Luis Felipe Lomelí where writers can share their work in English, French, Spanish or Portuguese and translators who like the stories enough can translate for a wider audience.
Her accolades include being shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize Best Book (2011), selection as one of 39 African writers likely to shape the narrative of literature in 2014 and winning the K. Sello Duiker Award for Fiction in 2015 for her last novel. Most recently, she was announced as 2020 Goethe Medal recipient.