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.
'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