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Right! That's a wrap of our #ManBooker2014 coverage. Congratulations to Richard Flanagan bookslive.co.za/Yq9F

Aminatta Forna and Cynthia Jele Win the 2011 Commonwealth Writers’ Prizes – Africa Region

The Memory of LoveHappiness is a Four-Letter Word

Alert! BOOK SA member Cynthia Jele has won the 2011 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for the Best First Book – Africa Region, for her novel, Happiness is a Four-letter Word. She’s joined on the Africa Region rostrum by Best Book winner Aminatta Forna, who won the prize for her novel, The Memory of Love.

Aminatta Author Photo - Copyright Free - Provided by AFCynthia Jele

Forna flies Sierra Leone’s flag, although she was born in Glasgow, Scotland. BOOK SA tapped her as the frontrunner for this year’s award, and her Bloomsbury-published work duly topped a shortlist that was 2/3 South African. Jele, meanwhile, emerged from a shortlist that included the highly-rated Voice of America by EC Osondu (see fellow shortlistee Helon Habila’s review here). Jele’s novel was published by Kwela Books, an imprint of the NB group.

Chair of the Africa region judges, Ajoa Yeboah-Afari, said of Jele’s novel: “Happiness Is a Four-Letter Word by Cynthia Jele is a tapestry of the diverse lives of four young women who are friends. This book is an enthralling read about human frailties, conflicts and sometimes difficult resolutions in the search for happiness. It is a well-plotted story with all the varied conflicts seeing satisfactory endings. Emerging novelist Cynthia Jele has demonstrated a talent that should take her far.”

The two authors each receive £1 000, plus a trip to the Sydney Writers Festival this May, where the overall Best Book and Best First Book winners – who receive £10 000 and £5 000, respectively – will be announced. For all the winners of the various Commonwealth regions, click here.

Last year’s winners were South African Marie Heese and Nigerian Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani. Congratulations to the 2011 noblewomen of African lit, and best of luck in Sydney!

Book details


Scribd.com book preview:

Happiness is a Four-Letter Word

 

Recent comments:

  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    March 4th, 2011 @09:00 #
     
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    Wowser! What a day! Brilliant news, Cynthia.

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  • <a href="http://sarahlotz.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sarah Lotz</a>
    Sarah Lotz
    March 4th, 2011 @10:24 #
     
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    Yes, it is a crazy day of excellent news. Many congrats, Cynthia.

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  • <a href="http://book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Ben - Editor</a>
    Ben - Editor
    March 4th, 2011 @11:12 #
     
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    Heartiest congratulations, Cynthia! :)

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  • <a href="http://liesljobson.bookslive.co.za" rel="nofollow">Liesl</a>
    Liesl
    March 4th, 2011 @11:38 #
     
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    Wonderful news, Cynthia. Delighted for you getting this terrific accolade.

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  • <a href="http://www.moxyland.com" rel="nofollow">Lauren Beukes</a>
    Lauren Beukes
    March 4th, 2011 @13:49 #
     
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    Brilliant news, Cynthia. Congratulations!

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    March 4th, 2011 @15:50 #
     
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    Doing somersaults of joy here. Congratulations to you (and Louise Steyn, whose record as an editor shines ever brighter -- she edited last year's winner too). You're going to love the Sydney jaunt, meeting fantabulous people and writers. Enjoy every second.

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  • <a href="http://cynthiajele.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Nozizwe Cynthia</a>
    Nozizwe Cynthia
    March 6th, 2011 @10:24 #
     
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    Thanks Lauren. Liesl and Helen I'm wondering if this isn't a product of your early "prompts and predications" - Liesl you wrote something about a "new writer to watch" back in 2008, and Helen your mention in India last year and I wasn't even published yet!

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  • <a href="http://liesljobson.bookslive.co.za" rel="nofollow">Liesl</a>
    Liesl
    March 6th, 2011 @12:31 #
     
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    I remember that well, Cynthia. Extremely delighted to be right in my prediction!

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    March 6th, 2011 @19:51 #
     
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    I can claim no credit -- that is all yours -- but I am very pleased to have seen you sparkling in my crystal ball.

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