Byo novelist among Amazon best sellers


BULAWAYO – Bulawayo-bred author Bryony Rheam’s debut novel This September Sun is among United Kingdom-based Amazon Kindle Store’s bestsellers.

The winner of the Best First Book Award at the 2010 Zimbabwe International Book Fair is currently number six in the women’s popular fiction category and position eight in both the literary fiction and historical fiction categories.

Her novel was first published in Zimbabwe in 2009 by AmaBooks, before the rights were sold to the UK based Parthian Books in 2011.

Brian Jones, director of Amabooks most of whose books are available on the Amazon site, told the Daily News that such a feat by the 39-year-old local writer reveals that Zimbabwe has talented writers.

“The book has been selling well in Zimbabwe since it was first published in 2009, and particularly well since it was selected as an “A” Level set book for Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec),” said Jones.

“It has taken a while for it to be noticed elsewhere in the world and we were surprised, and very pleased for Bryony, that sales of the e-book have reached such high levels.”

According to Amazon the book is about “Ellie, a shy girl growing up in post-Independence Zimbabwe, longing for escape from the confines of small-town life. When she eventually moves to Britain, her wish seems to have come true.

But life there is not all she imagined. And when her grandmother Evelyn is brutally murdered, a set of diaries are uncovered spilling out family secrets and recounting a young Evelyn’s passionate and dangerous affair with a powerful married man.

In the light of new discoveries, Ellie begins to re-evaluate her relationship with her grandmother, and must face up to some truths about herself in the process.

Set against the backdrop of a country in change, Ellie burdened by the memories and the misunderstandings of the past must also find a way to move forward in her own romantic endeavours.”

Rheam was born in Kadoma in 1974 and remained in the Mashonaland West town until her family moved to Bulawayo when she was eight.

She left Zimbabwe at the age of 18 for the United Kingdom, where she worked and studied for seven years.

A holder of a Masters of Arts from the University of Kent at Canterbury, Rheam taught in Singapore for a year before returning to Zimbabwe 12 years ago.

Her return to Zimbabwe at the height of her homeland’s political and economic crisis shocked many people.

However, the next few years were to provide inspiration for her debut novel, This September Sun published by the Bulawayo-based amaBooks in 2009.

Rheam currently lives in Ndola, Zambia, where she is a part-time English teacher.

She is currently working on her second novel.

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