South African author ZP Dala joins Pontas

It’s the first day of September and we are delighted to welcome a new author to the Pontas Agency catalogue! It’s South African author ZP Dala, who has just published her debut novel in English, What About Meera, with Umuzi/Penguin Random House South Africa (English language outside South Africa and all translation and adaptation rights are available).

Born in Durban in 1974, ZP Dala is a freelance writer and a psychologist at a school for autistic children. She has been the runner-up in several short story competitions, including an Elle short story contest in 2012, the sa Writers’ College Short Fiction Contest in 2013, and the Woman & Home Short Story Contest in 1999 and 2012. She was awarded second prize in the Witness True Stories of KwaZulu-Natal competition and was long-listed for the Orange Prize for short fiction. She has lived and worked in Dublin (Ireland), and currently lives in Durban (South Africa).

ZP-Dala_portrait_web_bw What about Meera_Cover_Umuzi RHSouthAfrica

What About Meera is her first novel, and it has been described as an «uncomfortable story thought-provoking and beautifully done» by Margaret von Klemperer at Books Live South Africa.

What About Meera is a novel about the diaspora in South Africa. Meera is a twenty-two-year-old woman from Durban who escapes her abusive arranged marriage to run away to Dublin, where she takes up a job as a care-giver at a school for autistic children. After years of abuse at the hands of her doctor husband, Meera’s fractured and damaged psyche sends her spiralling into a doomed relationship with Ian Gallagher, the father of one of her autistic patients.

The obsessive affair uncovers frightening truths about Meera’s childhood on a sugar cane plantation in rural KwaZulu-Natal, setting her on a destructive path of alcoholism and hallucinations. It is in this dangerous state that Meera commits a horrifying act and is ostracized from the world where she thought she would find happiness.

Vibrant, lyrical, and also pulsating with life and colour, mixed with a considerable amount of black humour,  ZP Dala’s debut novel What About Meera is the gripping story of a woman’s attempts to rise above her circumstances and take control of her fate.

For more information, please contact Maria Cardona.

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