Period Pain / Evening Primrose

Author: Kopano Matlwa

In compelling, heart-wrenching prose, Evening Primrose explores issues of race, poverty and gender, drawing on the author’s unique insight into post-apartheid South African healthcare.

Told in the first person, Evening Primrose is the story of Masechaba, a young woman who achieves her childhood dream of becoming a doctor, yet soon faces the stark reality of working in an under-resourced state hospital. As Masechaba leaves her deeply religious mother she tries to come to terms with the death of her brother and the suffering she witnesses every day as a medical professional.

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Original Language

ENGLISH (UK & Commonwealth) | Sceptre / Hodder & Stoughton
ENGLISH (North America) | Quercus Books
ENGLISH (SA) | Jacana Media

Translation Rights

CATALAN | Sembra Llibres
FRENCH | Le serpent à plumes
GALICIAN | Rinoceronte
GERMAN | btb Verlag
GREEK | Ikaros
ITALIAN | Bompiani
NORWEGIAN | Solum Bokvennen
POLISH | Czarna Owca
SPANISH | Alpha Decay


«A must read.» Stylist

«Easily one of my favourite books that I’ve read this year…. ultimately life-affirming and full of optimism. A stunning read for anyone who wants to get first-hand insight into present day South Africa.» Book Riot

«A harrowing and vital novel exploring issues of race and gender through the eyes of a young doctor in South Africa's public healthcare system. I read it in one sitting and was totally overwhelmed.» London Review Bookshop

«Matlwa takes on themes of gender, race and national identity with a distinctive and engaging voice, pinwheeling from humorous to heart-stabbing and (almost) back again in a mere 150 pages.» AnOther Magazine

«Evening Primrose’s turns of emotion are virtuosic. The novel dances from satire to slapstick to stabbing pain to tentative hope. Matlwa’s voice is one we need.» Rowan Hisayo-Buchanan, award winning author of Harmless Like You

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