‘She comes to me in snatches – I remember pieces of her laugh, the look she gave when she was upset. Sometimes I sniff the bottle of perfume of hers that I saved, but it doesn’t come close to the robustness of her smell. It is her, flattened.

This is what it’s really like to lose. It is complete and irreversible.

How pernicious these little things called memories are. They barbed me once, but now that I no longer have many of them, I am devastated.’ — Zinzi Clemmons, What We Lose

Zinzi Clemmons was raised in Philadelphia by a South African mother and an American father. Her debut novel, What We Lose is about a young woman coming of age while navigating loss, difficult relationships and self identity. Written as auto fiction in both emotional and poignant prose.

In this episode, Dr Alma-Nalisha Cele sat down with Zinzi to discuss her novel. Zinzi recalls talking a creative writing class in college and how that sparks her writing journey.

Alma-Nalisha and Zinzi have a frank conversation about writing, literature and her book which Alma-Nalisha describes as ‘a deeply personal meditation on loss is and how we deal with grief’.

The discussion touches of a myriad of topics such as grief, identity, relationships, mental health, displacement, sex, race, mortality and other musings. Both lighthearted and but deeply reflective.
This is a powerful conversation on our interaction with loss, grief and relationships.