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2011 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Shortlists

Commonwealth Foundation

Alert! The shortlists for the 2011 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize – Africa Region have been announced, and, as in years past, books from South African pens make up the bulk of them. The CWPs honour “the best of Commonwealth fiction written in English” and are given every year.

The Memory of LoveMen of the SouthThe Unseen LeopardOil on WaterBlood at BayBanquet at Brabazan

BOOK SA is particularly pleased to see members Zukiswa Wanner, Sue Rabie and Patricia Schonstein on the “best book” list. Bridget Pitt rounds out the South African contingent, Helon Habila represents for Nigeria and Aminatta Forna – who was actually born in Scotland, and is surely a frontrunner at this stage, given how well her novel has been received – flies the flag for Sierra Leone.

Happiness is a Four-Letter WordBitter LeafThe Fossil ArtistColourblindVoice of AmericaWall of Days

The “best first book” shortlist, meanwhile, comprises South Africans and Nigerians in equal measure. BOOK SA members Cynthia Jele and Alastair Bruce join Graeme Friedman on the SA side, while Chioma Okereke, Uzoma Uponi and EC Osondu forward Nigeria’s name.

Amongst the publishers, Human & Rousseau, Kwela Books (both imprints of the NB group) and Jacana Media score the most number of shortlistees, at two apiece.

The writers on each shortlist are competing for regional prizes of £1 000; whoever wins goes on to compete against writers from other Commonwealth regions for the “overall best book” and “overall best first book” prizes of £10 000 and £5 000, respectively. Last year’s Africa winners were South Africa’s Marie Heese and Nigeria’s Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani.

Regional winners will be announced on 3 March this year, with the overall winners named at the Sydney Writers’ Festival on 21 May. The Africa region judges are Ajoa Yeboah-Afari (Ghana – chair), Peter Simatei (Kenya) and Beulah Thumbadoo (South Africa).

Best of luck to all – but especially to BOOK SA members!

2011 Commonwealth Writers Prize – Best Book, Africa Region Shortlist

2011 Commonwealth Writers Prize – Best First Book, Africa Region Shortlist


Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    February 12th, 2011 @00:38 #

    Thrilled to see Cynthia, Zooks, Pat and Alistair up there. Congratulations to all the shortlistees.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    February 12th, 2011 @00:41 #

    And I'd like to add that it's the second year in a row that a book impeccably edited by Louise Steyn has been shortlisted -- last year it was Marie Heese's The Double Crown, this year, Cynthia Jele's Happiness. Not to take anything away from Cynthia's lovely writing. But you know how I feel about acknowledging the editor... :)

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Nozizwe Cynthia</a>
    Nozizwe Cynthia
    February 12th, 2011 @10:41 #

    Thanks, Helen. Louise did a great job. What a pleasant surprise for this "chik-lit" :-)


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