A story from Zimbabwe
In December 2021, Denzel (Zimbabwe / Class of 2019) self-published his first novel, Shame and Anger (left picture in the hands of his History teacher Ms. Hasham). It is the second volume of a trilogy called “Fine Margins” and is set in his hometown of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. The second volume, Redeemer Death part 1, is soon to be completed, while Denzel is now working on the third volume, Fine Margins, of which he is most proud.
A life-long passion
Denzel has always been writing. As a kid, he won prizes for both poetry and art but never considered these to be anything but hobbies. Instead, Denzel always knew his future was in writing or maybe medicine. So, after UWC ISAK Japan, he enrolled at Lake Forest University near Chicago in the US to double major in Psychology and Politics to become a clinical psychologist. “But sciences are just so cold,” Denzel expressed.
Meeting an English teacher at Lake Forest gave him the boost of confidence he needed to pursue his real passion for literature. So he switched to a double major in English and Philosophy. And this same teacher also motivated him to start publishing now.
The publishing process
Denzel self-published his first novel, Shame & Anger, with Xlibris publishers. “Because I was inexperienced, he says, I found that it was best to publish first to attract more prominent publishers and literary agents, so I published with that in mind. It also took much less time to do this. In the future, I hope to have a literary agent who can help market my work to major publishers.”
Inspired by ideas
“I would say that my work should resonate more with those who engage in philosophical discourse, especially in the Existentialist domain,” thinks Denzel. UWC ISAK Japan is where he read most of the philosophers who inspire his work today. “I just picked up the hardest books I could find, he recalls. I am naturally curious and make it through every book I start reading.” That is how he came across philosophers like Machiavelli and Nietzsche, among others.
These readings significantly influenced his own trilogy, as did XIXth century authors, including his personal favorite—Dostoevsky. Denzel wants to tackle the disillusionment with modern life, and the void people can feel in how we live today.
“At first, I was afraid.”
When Denzel learned that the Zimbabwe National Committee had chosen him to study on the other side of the world, in Japan, he was terrified. Japan intimated him. And although his sister went to UWC Dilijan, he always felt they were very different, and he was not academically oriented enough. “My parents were strict, but I wasn’t taking academics seriously, and things like scheduling and sitting in class were just not natural to me.”
“IB, though, is my ideal form of education. It is so expansive and lets our minds a lot of freedom to develop.” At UWC ISAK Japan, his favorite subjects were History and Global Politics. “I still use what I learned from History class today. Further than opening my mind, it taught me how to think.”
You can purchase Denzel’s first novel, Shame & Anger, from Amazon or Xlibris.
Read other alumni stories on our Leaders Beacon Blog.