Susi Wyss


Of the more than a dozen African countries I’ve visited, unfortunately for me, Malawi never made it on the list. I never planned to write a story set there, but that changed when a Ghanaian friend who worked in Lilongwe visited me and told me about some of the Malawian names she’d heard. In Ghana, names are considered self-fulfilling, so she was shocked to hear some people called Nobody, Why, and Grief—or, nonsensically, Address, Square, and Tonic. After she left, I couldn’t forget those names; I knew there was a story behind them. Later, a voice finally came to me—a narrator who was even more obsessed with the names than I was—and I began to write the story, “Names.” It wasn’t until I reached the end of the story that I finally understood the reason for the narrator’s obsession.

Malawi Postage Stamp


Map of Africa showing countries where Susi's stories are set. Central African Republic Ethiopia Ghana Malawi Ivory Coast
Malawian Huts