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Sugar Town Queens

Malla Nunn

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Allen & Unwin
03 August 2021
Fifteen-year-old Amandla's mother has always been strange. For starters, she's a white woman living in Sugar Town, one of South Africa's infamous shanty towns. She won't tell anyone, not even Amandla, about her past. And she has visions, including ones that promise the return of Amandla's father as if he were a prince in a fairytale, but their hardscrabble life is no fairytale.

Amandla knows her father is long gone - since before Amandla was born - and she's pretty sure he's not a prince. He's just another mystery and missing piece of her mother's past, and one of the many reasons people in Sugar Town give them strange looks - that and the fact that Amandla is black and her mother is not.

Lately, her mother has been acting even more strangely, so when Amandla finds a mysterious address at the bottom of her mother's purse along with a large amount of cash, she decides it's finally time to get answers about her mother's life. With her best friends by her side, Amandla is ready to take on the devil himself, and as she confronts devastating family secrets and pain that has lasted a generation, taking on the devil is exactly what she must do.
By:   Malla Nunn
Imprint:   Allen & Unwin
Country of Publication:   Australia
Dimensions:   Height: 198mm,  Width: 128mm, 
Weight:   273g
ISBN:   9781760526832
ISBN 10:   1760526835
Pages:   304
Publication Date:   03 August 2021
Recommended Age:   From 13 to 18 years
Audience:   Young adult ,  Preschool (0-5)
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Born and raised in Swaziland on the far edges of the British Empire, Malla Nunn attended a boarding school specially set up for 'mixed race' children. The students at the school spent their time learning the Bible, breaking the rules, and then lying about it. In common with most colonial institutions, stealing, fighting, and violence were common. It was in this charged atmosphere that Nunn developed a fascination with bad behaviour, risk and punishment. After her family migrated to Australia to escape apartheid, Nunn graduated with a double degree in English and History and then earned a Master of Arts in Theater Studies from Villanova University. Faced with a life of chronic under-employment, she dabbled in acting and screenwriting. She wrote and directed three award-winning films, including Servant of the Ancestors, which won Best Documentary awards at film festivals in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Zanzibar, and was shown on national television in Australia. She married in a traditional Swazi ceremony. Her bride price was eighteen cows. She now lives and works in a weatherboard house with a tin roof and an olive tree in the garden in Sydney, Australia.

Reviews for Sugar Town Queens

'Beautiful writing, great characterisation. A complex examination of race, class, family and patriarchy in modern South Africa. Anyone who thinks YA is a lesser genre needs to read this.' Maxine Beneba Clarke, The Hate Race and When We Say Black Lives Matter 'Sugar Town Queens is the story of a place and a family divided. It is the story of friendship and first love. Most of all, it is a powerful tale of three generations of women who join forces to fight against prejudice and violence.' Erin Gough, Flywheel and Amelia Westlake 'Sugar Town Queens gives voice to the new generation who push back for change in the world. A story of fierce girls, lost-and-found family, and friendship - I loved it.' Vikki Wakefield, This is How We Change the Ending 'Sugar Town Queens strikes the perfect balance between character- and plot-driven story ... Nunn does a phenomenal job at incorporating Zulu culture, tradition and language into the novel ... and makes a point to talk about South Africa post-Mandela and the difficulties of bringing together a nation so divided by race and wealth. Like recent similarly politically charged YA novels The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and I Am Change by Suzy Zail, context is given for these topics so they're easy to understand but never feel separate to the main story. In Sugar Town Queens Amandla's South Africa is both beautiful and deeply flawed, much like those she loves.' Tracy-Kate Simambo, Books + Publishing Praise for When the Ground Is Hard: 'Excellent writing and an evocative setting make this novel a standout.' Booklist,?starred review 'Nunn's captivating first novel for young readers has all the hallmarks of a beloved classic.'?Adelaide Advertiser 'An engrossing narrative that gently but directly explores complex relationships.'?Kirkus Reviews


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