Period Pain / Evening Primrose

Author: Kopano Matlwa

With urgency and tenderness Evening Primrose explores issues of race, gender and the medical profession through the eyes of a junior doctor.

When Masechaba finally achieves her childhood dream of becoming a doctor, her ambition is tested as she faces the stark reality of South Africa's public healthcare system.

As she leaves her deeply religious mother and makes friends with the politically-minded Nyasha, Masechaba's eyes are opened to the rising xenophobic tension that carries echoes of apartheid.

Battling her inner demons, she must decide if she should take a stand to help her best friend, even it comes at a high personal cost.

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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 critical exploration of contemporary xenophobia and the lasting socioeconomic effects of apartheid . . . Nuanced and impressive.» Publishers Weekly

«Exploring faith and education, inheritance and renewal, Matlwa's inventions are both human and divine.» Booklist

«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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