Zakes Mda, poet, playwright, and novelist, is also Associate Professor of African & World Literature at Ohio University. He was born in the Eastern Cape, spent his early childhood in Soweto, and earned his Ph.D. at the University of Cape Town. His dissertation was later published as When People Play People. He has won many awards, including the Best Book: Africa-Commonwealth Writers Prize. His works include The Madonna of Excelsior, The Heart of Redness, and She Plays with the Darkness.