Zinzi Clemmons was raised in Philadelphia by a South African mother and an American father. Her debut novel, What We Lose (Viking 2017), was named “Debut Novel of the Year” by Vogue, and received praise from the Atlantic, the Guardian, the New York Times, The New Yorker, and others. What We Lose was a finalist for the Aspen Words Literary Prize, the California Book Award, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Leonard Prize. It was longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize, and the International Dublin Literary Award. She is a 2017 National Book Award 5 Under 35 Honoree. She wrote the foreword to a new edition of Jean Toomer’s Cane, published by Penguin Classics in 2019.
She is represented by Jin Auh at The Wylie Agency.