Some Writers Can Give You Two Heartbeats has been in my possession since August 22, 2019, which was when co-editor Tinashe Mushakavanhu first handed it to me at a book event.
From initially being struck by the book’s minimalistic colour scheme and evocative design, I was soon floored by its contents, which were largely a careful threading of quotes from many of Zimbabwe’s eminent literary figures, arranged according to theme. In between were recreated interviews, newspaper clippings, handwritten notes and other ephemera that, when put together, built a composite, subjective history of the country’s post-liberation canon.
To borrow from designer Nontsikelelo Mutiti’s quote in a LitHub interview, one can think of the book, and in fact much of Black Chalk and Co’s work, as a response to the question: “If it’s not already important to people, how do you make it irresistible?”
As a tribute to a job well done, we have dedicated this edition of Friday to the book by featuring various excerpted interviews, essays and quotes from the book’s pages and allude to its design sensibility by borrowing from its colour scheme and treatment of images.
As Zimbabwe turns 40, may this book be your guide to the country’s world of letters.