The Old Drift, Namwali Serpell


Winner of the Arthur C.Clarke Award 2020

‘An initmate, brainy, gleaming epic … it made the skin on the back of my neck prickle.’ The New York Times

A novel that satisfies on all levels … My only regret is that once begun, I reached the end all too soon.’ Alice Sebold

‘The great African novel of the twenty-first century’, Tade Thompson, author of Rosewater


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The Old Drift

Winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award 2020

A huge achievement for this bold, epic novel that has been called ‘the great African novel’.

On the banks of the Zambezi River, a few miles from the majestic Victoria Falls, there was once a colonial settlement called The Old Drift.

In 1904, in a smoky room at the hotel across the river, an Old Drifter named Percy M. Clark, foggy with fever, makes a mistake that entangles his fate with those of an Italian hotelier and an African busboy.

So begins a cycle of unwitting retribution between three Zambian families as they collide and converge over the course of the century, into the present and beyond.

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