Place of Birth image
2006 Jonathan Ball Publishers, Johannesburg - longlisted for South Africa's Sunday Times Prize, 2007

Cause and effect. There is always cause, some will argue. But how easily does cruelty born of injustice turn into cruelty born of itself. And how inevitable is the day when effect becomes cause. When new hatreds will need expression ...

When Rhodesian expatriate Vaughn Bourke returns to Zimbabwe to exhume the graves of his family from their farm, Hopelands, he does so to escape the failure of his life in Australia. His marriage and professional life are in tatters: he needs a change of scene. But while he knows the farm is under threat of seizure from a ruthless government-backed militia, Vaughn has no idea of the nightmare that awaits him in a country where violence and anarchy are the order of the day. Together with his siblings, Gus and Angela, he begins the arduous task of removing the remains of their forebears from the contested soil of Hopelands to a church cemetery in the nearby village of Shangani. But the exhumations soon uncover a terrible event of the past that becomes an ominous prelude to a greater tragedy in which loss of life and land is inevitable.

Through the brutal disintegration of a once close-knit family, Place of Birth provides a disturbing and trenchant insight into the violent maelstrom of Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe.

'Graham Lang has produced an intelligent, rugged and courageous book that accurately explores a post-colonial paradise lost and the corruption of a government that ignores the rule of law.' Richard Kunzmann - Sunday Independent, 2006

'Place of Birth is a deceptively simple, funny book with a terrifyingly dark subtext.' Lin Sampson, Sunday Times 2006

'Bleak humour and strong characters... combine with poignant memories to tell, through very readable fiction, a real story of the ambiguous identity of white Africans, post-colonial racial dynamics and the land struggle.' Karen MacGregor, Natal Witness, 2006

'Place of Birth is grounded in meticulously realised detail and written in deceptively plain prose ... suffused with a terrible honesty, his book touches us most deeply.' Anthony Stidolph - Natal Witness, 2008

'Graham Lang taps into the ironies of the white African nightmare with prose as spare and self-deprecating as Coetzee's.' Ann Harries, 2006

Book chapters, articles:

Magdalena Pfalzgraf, Mobility in Contemporary Zimbabwean Literature in English: Crossing Borders, Transcending Boundaries (Chapter 5.3: Traveling Bones, Troubling Pasts: Graham Lang's Place of birth (2006)) Routledge 2021
Irikidzahi Manase, White Narratives: The Depiction of Post-2000 Land Invasions in Zimbabwe, (Chapter 4: Memory-making and the Land in Graham Lang's Place of BirthUnisa Press 2016
Dan Wylie, Dogs in southern African Literatures, Van Schaik Publishers 2018
Terence MusangaGraham Lang's depiction of the Zimbabwean crisis, migration and identity in Place of Birth (2006) Unisa Press 2014
Peter O. Stummer, Zimbabwean Unrest in Graham Lang's Place of Birth, Eclats d'Afrique Du Sud, Volume 24, 2007
Lin Sampson, A country called home, Sunday Times, 2006
Richard Kunzmann, Struggling to come to terms with white African roots, The Sunday Independent, 2006
Julia Paterson, A life left behind, Citizen, 2006
Vivien Horler, Author finds Africa addictive, The Argus, 2006
Karen MacGregor, Home & Away,  Natal Witness, 2006
Anthony Stidolph, A tale of personal risk, Natal Witness, 2006
Thys Human, Verlore vaderland, Beeld, 2006
Marius Crous, Zimbabwe-roman verwoord wit bestaansangs, Die Burger 2006

Conference paper:

Irikidzayi Manase, Re-imagining post-2000 Zimbabwean identities in Catherine Buckle's African Tears: the Zimbabwe Land Invasions and Beyond Tears: Zimbabwe's Tragedy and Graham Lang's Place of Birth - Waterford Institute of Technology, Republic of Ireland, conference 2009: Re-Imagining Identity - New Directions in Postcolonial Studies