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).
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.