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Check out a Guide to the Best Stargazing Spots in the Southern Hemisphere (Excerpt from Offbeat SA) @PRHSouthAfrica…

Archive for the ‘Nigeria’ Category

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Chinua Achebe and Ben Okri Feature on The Simpsons

Things Fall ApartThe Famished RoadHome and ExileThe Thing Around Your Neck

In a recent episode of The Simpsons, entitled “The Princess Guide”, a Nigerian princess comes to Springfield, and shares some of her favourite Nigerian literature with Moe.

nullPrincess Kemi, whose father is negotiating a business deal with Mr Burns, is entrusted into the care of Homer Simpson. He predictably fails to look out for her, and she gets stuck at Moe’s Bar instead.

At the end of the episode, Kemi gives Moe four books: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, The Famished Road by Ben Okri, Home and Exile by Chinua Achebe and The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Jennifer Sefa-Boakye wrote an article for OkayAfrica about the episode.

Read the article:

As a token of Princess Kemi’s gratitude to Moe for serving as her guide during a tour of Springfield (soundtracked by King Sunny Ade’s “Eni Binu Wa“) she gifts him with, as she describes it, some of Nigeria’s “most beloved, albeit depressing literature.”

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Images courtesy of OkayAfrica

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Man Booker International Prize Finalists Announced in Cape Town, Including Marlene van Niekerk, Alain Mabanckou and Mia Couto

2015 Man Booker International Prize Panel

Alert! The Man Booker International Prize 2015 nominees were announced in Cape Town at the University of Cape Town today.

In the past the finalists have been announced in Toronto, New York and Sydney and this is the first time the announcement was made on the African continent – the home continent of two-time Booker Prize winner and Nobel Laureate JM Coetzee, who is an Emeritus Professor in the Department of English at UCT.

The Man Booker International Prize differs from the Man Booker Prize as it honours a writer’s body of work and their contribution to international fiction, as opposed to focusing on a single publication.

The Collected Stories of Lydia DavisPhilip RothNew Selected StoriesThings Fall ApartTwilight of the Eastern Gods

The £60 000 is awarded every second year and was won in 2013 by American author Lydia Davis, American novelist Philip Roth in 2011, Nobel laureate Alice Munro in 2009 and by the late Nigerian author Chinua Achebe in 2007. Albanian novelist Ismail Kadare won the inaugural prize in 2005.

The 2015 judging panel, who selected the finalists at their own discretion, includes South African born, UK-based novelist and critic Elleke Boehmer. British novelist Marina Warner chaired the panel made up of Boehmer, British Pakistani novelist Nadeem Aslam, American editorial director Edwin Frank and literature professor Wen-chin Ouyang, who was born in Taiwan, raised in Libya and is now based in the UK.

Marina Warner

Without further ado, the finalists for the 2015 Man Booker International Prize are:

César Aira, Hoda Barakat, Maryse Condé, Mia Couto, Amitav Ghosh, Fanny Howe, Ibrahim al-Koni, László Krasznahorkai, Alain Mabanckou and Marlene van Niekerk.


The ConversationsThe Tiller of WatersSeguA River Called TimeThe Shadow Lines

Second ChildhoodThe Seven Veils of SethSeiobo There BelowAfrican Psycho

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Helené Prinsloo (@helenayp) tweeted live from the announcement, using the hasthtag #MBI15:


Facebook gallery:

Press release

Ten writers are on the judges’ list of finalists under serious consideration for the sixth Man Booker International Prize, the £60,000 award which recognises one writer for his or her achievement in fiction.

The authors come from ten countries with six new nationalities included on the list for the first time. They are from Libya, Mozambique, Guadeloupe, Hungary, South Africa and Congo
None of the writers has appeared on a previous Man Booker International Prize list of finalists
The proportion of writers translated into English is greater than ever before at 80%
The finalists’ list is announced by the chair of judges, Professor Marina Warner, at a press conference hosted at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, today, Tuesday 24 March 2015.

The ten authors on the list are:

César Aira (Argentina)
Hoda Barakat (Lebanon)
Maryse Condé (Guadeloupe)
Mia Couto (Mozambique)
Amitav Ghosh (India)
Fanny Howe (United States of America)
Ibrahim al-Koni (Libya)
László Krasznahorkai (Hungary)
Alain Mabanckou (Republic of Congo)
Marlene van Niekerk (South Africa)
The judging panel for the Man Booker International Prize 2015 consists of writer and academic, Professor Marina Warner (Chair); novelist Nadeem Aslam; novelist, critic and Professor of World Literature in English at Oxford University, Elleke Boehmer; Editorial Director of the New York Review Classics series, Edwin Frank, and Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at SOAS, University of London, Wen-chin Ouyang.

Announcing the list, Professor Warner comments:

‘The judges have had an exhilarating experience reading for this prize; we have ranged across the world and entered the vision of writers who offer an extraordinary variety of experiences. Fiction can enlarge the world for us all and stretch our understanding and our sympathy. The novel today is in fine form: as a field of inquiry, a tribunal of history, a map of the heart, a probe of the psyche, a stimulus to thought, a well of pleasure and a laboratory of language. Truly, we feel closer to the tree of knowledge.’

Manny Roman, CEO of Man Group, comments:

‘We are very proud to sponsor the Man Booker International Prize, recognising the hard work and creativity of these talented authors and translators. The prize underscores Man Group’s charitable focus on literacy and education, as well as our commitment to excellence and entrepreneurship. Together with the wider charitable activities of the Booker Prize Foundation, the prize plays a very important role in promoting literary excellence that we are honoured to support. It’s exciting to see finalists from ten countries, with six nationalities included on the list for the first time, further broadening Man Booker’s international reach. Many congratulations to all the finalists.’

Jonathan Taylor, Chair of the Booker Prize Foundation, comments:

‘This is a most interesting and enlightening list of finalists. It brings attention to writers from far and wide, so many of whom are in translation. As a result our reading lists will surely be hugely expanded.’

The Man Booker International Prize is awarded every two years to a living author who has published fiction either originally in English or whose work is generally available in translation in the English language.

The winner is chosen solely at the discretion of the judging panel; there are no submissions from publishers. Lydia Davis won the prize in 2013, Philip Roth in 2011, Alice Munro in 2009, Chinua Achebe in 2007 and Ismail Kadaré won the inaugural prize in 2005. In addition, there is a separate award for translation and, if applicable, the winner may choose a translator of his or her work into English to receive a prize of £15,000.

The 2015 Man Booker International Prize winner will be announced at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London on 19 May.

Man Group sponsors both the Man Booker International Prize and the annual Man Booker Prize. The Man Booker International Prize is significantly different from the annual Man Booker in that it highlights one writer’s overall contribution to fiction on the world stage. In seeking out literary excellence the judges consider a writer’s body of work rather than a single novel. Both prizes strive to recognise and reward the finest modern literature.

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Chinua Achebe’s Death Reported as News Two Years Later

Things Fall ApartA Man of the PeopleAnthills of the Savannah No Longer at Ease
Arrow of GodThe Trouble with NigeriaGirls at WarThe Education of a British-Protected ChildChike and the River

It is unclear how it started, but Chinua Achebe’s death is being mourned widely on Twitter and Facebook, despite the Nigerian author having passed away in 2013.

Achebe died on 22 March, 2013.

In particular, it is The New York Times obituary of Achebe that seems to be going viral, without posters realising that it was published two years ago.

Some news sites were even taken in by the wave of reposts.

As Firstpost points out, similar trends occurred when Steve Jobs and Maya Angelou died, making this quote from Achebe particularly prescient for a digital age: “The only thing we have learnt from experience is that we learn nothing from experience.”

United States Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice tweeted to her 456 000 followers that “his works leave a lasting impression on me and my gen.”:

Institutions and fans continue to tweet the “news”:

Power FM, meanwhile, commemorated Achebe’s life on the two-year anniversary of his death:

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Image courtesy of Ebony

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I Felt Violated: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Reveals Her Anger at The Guardian Over Article on Depression

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has spoken out about her article on depression, which was prematurely published by The Guardian in early February.

nullAmericanahHalf of a Yellow Sun Purple Hibiscus

In an extensive and revealing interview with Olisa, Adichie says: “I felt violated. It felt like a horrible violation.”

Adichie takes strong exception to The Guardian’s choice of words, particularly the phrase “struggling with depression”.

“I would never have agreed to that caption,” she says. “I do not think of the article as being about my ‘struggle’ with depression, but about my journey to accepting something I have had since I was born, and my choosing to ‘come out’ about it.”

She adds: “I was angry with The Guardian.”

The piece in question was published by The Guardian on Saturday, 2 February, and then removed on Sunday. At first, The Guardian displayed a message that stated that the story had been “launched in error, without the permission of the author following a technical error” and the site “apologised unreservedly” to Adichie. Later, the page changed to show a more generic message: “Sorry – the page you are looking for has been removed”.

A few days later, in its corrections and clarifications section, The Guardian published a longer apology, again apologising “unreservedly” and adding that “new training procedures” were in place “to ensure that such errors do not happen again”.

“There is something predatory about Big Journalism,” Adichie adds. “Big Journalism doesn’t care about the humanity of it subjects.”

Read the article:

I was certainly the author. I have actually always been quite open about having depression. By depression, I don’t mean being sad. I mean a health condition that comes from time to time and has different symptoms and is very debilitating. I’ve mentioned it publicly in the past, but I have always wanted to write about it. I was meeting many people who I could tell were also depressive, and I was noticing how hush-hush it all was, how there was often a veil of silence over it, and I think the terrible consequence of silence is shame.

Depression is difficult. It is difficult to experience, difficult to write about, difficult to be open about. But I wanted to do it. For myself, in a way, because it forced me to tell myself my own story, which can be helpful. But also for other possible sufferers, especially fellow Africans, because there is something very powerful about knowing that you are not alone, and that what happens to you also happens to other people.

Depression is something I have recognized since I was a child. It is something I have accepted. It is something I will have to find ways to manage for the rest of my life. Many creative people have depression. I wonder if I would be so drawn to storytelling if I were not also a person who suffers from depression.

But I am very interested in de-mystifying it. Young creative people, especially on our continent, have enough to deal with without thinking – as I did for so long – that something is fundamentally wrong with feeling this strange thing from time to time. Our African societies are not very knowledgeable or open or supportive about depression. People who don’t have depression have a lot of difficulty understanding it, but people who have it are also often befuddled by it.

I wanted to make sure I was emotionally ready to write the piece. I don’t usually write about myself and certainly not very personally. I wanted it to be honest and true. The only way to write about a subject like that is to be honest.

    Related stories

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Image courtesy of BBC

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2015 Man Booker International Finalists Announcement – to be Held at UCT – Approaches (Plus: Calendar of Associated Events)

Man Booker International Cape TownThe 2015 Man Booker International Prize finalists will be announced in Cape Town, in partnership with the University of Cape Town, on 24 March, and there is a full calendar of Man Booker-related events to look forward to.

The news of the announcement first broke a year ago. Over the years, the event has taken place in Toronto, New York and Sydney, but this a first for Africa.

The Man Booker International Prize, sometimes referred to as an “alternative Nobel”, differs from the Man Booker Prize in that it honours a body of work, as well as the writer’s contribution to international fiction.

The £60 000-prize was first awarded in 2005, and is given out every second year.

Nigeria’s Chinua Achebe, who won the 2007 Man Booker International Prize, is the only African to have won the award so far, in a year that Nadine Gordimer was one of the judges. Kenyan author Ngugi wa Thiong’o was shortlisted for the prize in 2009 (the award that year ultimately went to Canadian author Alice Munro).

South African-born author Justin Cartwright was on the judging panel in 2011, and Marie NDiaye, of French and Senegalese parentage, was one of the 10 finalists in 2013.

Albania Ismail Kadare was the inaugural winner, followed by Achebe, Munro, Philip Roth (United States, 2011) and Lydia Davis (United States, 2013).

Twilight of the Eastern GodsThings Fall ApartWho Do You Think You Are?The Human StainThe Collected Stories of Lydia Davis

The 2015 judging panel includes South African-born, UK-based novelist and critic Elleke Boehmer. British novelist Marina Warner will be chairing the panel, which includes British Pakistani novelist Nadeem Aslam, American editorial director Edwin Frank and literature professor Wen-chin Ouyang, who was born in Taiwan, raised in Libya and is now based in the UK.

In celebration of the announcement, UCT will be hosting a series of associated events (note: some require an RSVP):

Public seminar

Reading the Booker: Reflections from Southern Africa

  • Date: Wednesday, 11 March 2015
  • Time: 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM
  • Venue: Arts Block
    Upper Campus
  • Participants: Sarah Nuttall and Percy Zvomuya conversation with Imraan Coovadia
  • Refreshments: Refreshments will be served
  • More information:
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Announcement of the Man Booker International Prize 2015 finalists

Chair of the 2015 judging panel Dame Marina Warner announces the Man Booker International finalists at a press conference opened by the dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Sakhela Buhlungu.

  • Date: Tuesday, 24 March 2015
  • Time: 11:00 AM
  • Venue: UCT
  • More information: UCT website
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Graduate workshop

The cultural industry and literary value

This UCT graduate workshop with Elleke Boehmer and Edwin Frank is open to limited numbers of graduate students from other programmes or universities on a pre-booked basis.

  • Date: Tuesday, 24 March 2015
  • Venue: UCT
  • More information: UCT website
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Public seminar

Arabian Nights and Indian Ocean World Literatures

  • Date: Wednesday, 25 March 2015
  • Time: 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM
  • Venue: Room 116, Arts Block
    Upper Campus
  • Participants: Elleke Boehmer, Wen-Chin Ouyang and Marina Warner in conversation
  • Refreshments: Refreshments will be served
  • More information:
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Creative writing workshop

Postcolonial Style

This MA in Creative Writing workshop with Nadeem Aslam and Elleke Boehmer is open to limited numbers of graduate student fiction writers from other programmes or universities on a pre-booked basis.

  • Date: Thursday, 26 March 2015
  • Venue: UCT
  • More information: UCT website
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Public panel discussion

The Man Booker International Prize 2015 and World Literature from the Global South

In recognition of Man Booker’s first partnership on the African continent and the global scope of the International Prize, the 2015 judging panel will discuss world literature from the perspective of the south and the role of the Man Booker International Prize in shaping the global literary field.

  • Date: Thursday, 26 March 2015
  • Time: 5:00 PM for 6 PM
  • Venue: Jameson Hall
    Upper Campus
  • Participants: Marina Warner, Nadeem Aslam, Elleke Boehmer, Edwin Frank, Wen-Chin Ouyang, Max Price
  • More information: For any enquiries, contact Megan White-Galant at 021 650 3730 or
  • RSVP: for admission to this event please book at

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Sylt Foundation Calls for Applications for 2015 African Writer’s Residency Award

The Sylt Foundation is calling for contemporary, published, African writers to apply for the annual African Writer’s Residency Award.

The award offers a two-month residency on the island of Sylt, off the coast of Hamburg in Germany, and is open to published writers of poetry, prose, plays and novels, whose work is either written or translated in English.

Ghanaian writer Nii Parkes won the 2014 award, and will take up his residency in October. Nigerian author Chika Unigwe won the 2013 edition of the award.

Tail of the Blue BirdThe Makings of YouNight DancerOn Black Sisters' Street

Indra Wussow, director of the Sylt Foundation, says: “We are looking for a writer who engages with contemporary themes that relate to Africa and the African diaspora, in a particularly powerful and original way and then to give them the luxury of escaping into a creative space where they can explore and research their thoughts fully.

“Ultimately Sylt Foundation’s Residency Programme wishes to see a considerable growth in the narratives that can tell the story of this continent.”

The deadline for submissions is 29 May, 2015. The winner will be announced on 15 July, and the residency can be taken any time from November to October 2016.

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2015 Franschhoek Literary Festival: Confirmed International Authors

FLF 2015

Alert! The Franschhoek Literary Festival organisers have allowed Books LIVE to share a sneak preview of the updated list of international authors confirmed to attend this year’s event.

The 2015 Franschhoek Literary Festival takes place from Friday, 15 May, to Sunday, 17 May, and there are a number of big names to look forward to.

Books LIVE revealed the provisional list of authors for FLF 2015 in December last year, but we can now share a more complete list of authors from overseas.

The list includes Nigerian writer Helon Habila, who was announced last night as a winner of this year’s Windham Campbell Literature Prize for Fiction, along with Ivan Vladislavić, who will also be at the festival to talk about his new book of short stories, 101 Detectives.

Keep an eye on Books LIVE over the next few weeks for the full list of local authors!

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Updated list of international authors for Franschhoek Literary Festival 2015

David Attwell, University of York academic, whose critical biography JM Coetzee and the life of writing, face to face with time is to be published in April.

JM Coetzee
Belinda Bauer, a British crime writer who grew up in South Africa and England. Her debut novel Blacklands won the British Crime Writers’ Association’s Gold Dagger award for the best crime novel of 2010. Read an interview with Bauer here.

The Facts of Life and DeathRubberneckerFinders KeepersBlacklands
Martin Bossenbroek, Dutch historian whose book De Boerenoorlog has been translated into English and Afrikaans by Jacana Media.

Die BoereoorlogThe Boer War
Chris Bradford, English author, professional musician and black belt martial artist, here for the Book Week for Young Readers programme, and an event for schools at the main festival, on Friday.

GamerBodyguardThe Way of the Warrior
Tim Butcher, English journalist and war-correspondent, and author of the critically acclaimed Blood River, Chasing the Devil and, most recently, The Trigger.

Blood RiverChasing the DevilThe Trigger
Mark Connelly, Professor of Modern British Military History, based at Stellenbosch University, from the University of Kent.

Dorothy Driver, born in South Africa and now Professor of English at the University of Adelaide, Australia. She is also Emerita Professor at the University of Cape Town, where she retains an Honorary Research Associateship. Driver will be visiting as part of a focus on the 150th anniversary of Olive Schreiner’s birth.

Gavin Evans, born in London but grew up in Cape Town. Returned to London in 1993, where he worked as a freelance journalist (for The Guardian, Esquire, Men’s Health). His memoir Dancing Shoes is Dead was shortlisted for the Alan Paton Prize. His latest book is Black Brain, White Brain.

Dancing Shoes is DeadBlack Brain, White Brain
Eshkol Nevo, Israeli author of the Book Publishers Association Gold Prize and FFI-Raymond Wallier Prize-winning novel Homesick, as well as World Cup Wishes, and most recently Neuland.

HomesickWorld Cup WishesNeuland
Fiona Forde, an Irish journalist based in Cape Town who has for a number of years covered politics and current affairs in South Africa and abroad for print and radio media. Her first book on Malema, An Inconvenient Youth: Julius Malema and the ‘New’ ANC, was released in 2011, and an update version, Still an Inconvenient Youth: Julius Malema Carries On, was published last year.

Still an Inconvenient Youth
Helon Habila, Nigerian novelist and poet, and winner of the 2001 Caine Prize for African Writing.

Oil on WaterMeasuring TimeWaiting for an AngelThe Granta Book of the African Short Story
Jackie Kay, Scottish award-winning poet and novelist, with Nigerian heritage, who will judge the Poetry for Life finals at the FLF (see for more information).

Red Dust RoadReality, realityAdoption PapersTrumpet
John Boyne, Irish novelist, whose most recent book A History of Loneliness. Boyne will also be at the Book Week for Young Readers with The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.

A History of LonelinessThe Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Lyndall Gordon, Cape Town-born award-winning biographer of Emily Dickinson, TS Eliot, Charlotte Brontë and Mary Wollstonecraft, among others, has recently published a memoir Divided Lives. (She may also be presenting a life-writing masterclass/workshop.)

Divided Lives: Dreams of a Mother and DaughterTS EliotCharlotte Brontë
Romain Puertolas, a former French border guard, who then wrote the smash hit The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe.

Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe
Morag Styles, Cambridge Professor of Children’s Poetry, who has spent a professional lifetime exploring children’s poetry from every angle.

From the Garden to the StreetBy the Pricking of my ThumbsOpening the Nursery Door
Sarah Waters, bestselling Welsh author of six novels, the most recent of which is The Paying Guests.

Tipping the VelvetThe Night WatchFingersmithThe Paying Guests


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Ivan Vladislavić, Teju Cole and Helon Habila Awarded 2015 Windham Campbell Prizes for Fiction

2015 Windham Campbell Prizes

Alert! The winners of the 2015 Windham Campbell Literature Prizes have just been announced.

The prize, in its third year, is awarded to “honour and support writers anywhere in the world writing in English”, and comes with prize money of $150,000.

There are three categories – fiction, nonfiction, and drama – and three winners in each category.

The FollyFlashback HotelPortrait with KeysDouble Negative

Oil on WaterMeasuring TimeWaiting for an AngelThe Granta Book of the African Short StoryOpen CityEvery Day is for the Thief

The 2015 winners are, in fiction: Teju Cole, Helon Habila, and Ivan Vladislavić; in nonfiction: Edmund de Waal, Geoff Dyer, and John Jeremiah Sullivan; and, in drama: Jackie Sibblies Drury, Helen Edmundson, and Debbie Tucker Green.

The prizes were announced by Peter Salovey, the 23rd president of Yale University, at the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library today.

Winners will receive their prizes at a ceremony and literary festival at Yale from 28 September to 1 October, 2015.

Michael Kelleher, the director of the Windham Campbell Prizes, introduced the prizes, saying: “Today’s recipients did not know they had been nominated. Nominations were solicited confidentially from literary and theatre professionals from across the globe.”

After the announcement, Kelleher explained how he had telephoned all the winners just after the selection process and put them on speakerphone: “The prizes are becoming a bit more well-known now, so I don’t think anybody thought that it was a Nigerian fishing scam this year, which quite a few of them did last year. I think my favourite response this year was when one of the prize winners said, in front of the whole selection committee, ‘You know, if this is a practical joke, this is the meanest practical joke anyone has every played on me!’

“But as ever, nobody had any idea they had been nominated. They were all very surprised and very appreciative. And really touched by the fact that, first of all, they were on the radar, and second of all that their prize nomination went through this very long and rigorous process.”

When asked about the international nature of the prize, Kelleher said: “We have a limited number of nominations that are available each year, only about 20 to 25 in each category, so within that I seek to cast as wide a net as possible while also maintaining the high standards of the nominees that we’ve come to expect every year.

“So not every country in the English-speaking world gets represented every single year, but when they do get represented we try to make sure that there’s a certain amount of saturation, so when judges are looking at their work, they’re seeing other writers from those parts of the world and comparing them to each other, but also comparing them to writers from everywhere else.

“I travelled to other countries, I spent two weeks in Australia last summer, meeting a lot of the literary folks from down there, so hopefully they’ll have some solid representation in the coming years, and I continue to do that in different parts of the world.”

Watch the prize announcement:

YouTube Preview Image

Related news:

Press release


Recipients, chosen for fiction, nonfiction, and drama, each receive $150,000 unrestricted grants

NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 24–– The Windham Campbell Prizes announced today its third round of prizewinners, chosen confidentially in three categories –– fiction, nonfiction, and drama ––to honor and support writers anywhere in the world writing in English. The awards, which come with a $150,000 check, can be given for a body of work or extraordinary promise. The 2015 winners are, in fiction: Teju Cole, Helon Habila, and Ivan Vladislavić; in nonfiction: Edmund de Waal, Geoff Dyer, and John Jeremiah Sullivan; and, in drama: Jackie Sibblies Drury, Helen Edmundson, and Debbie Tucker Green. Full bios are just below.

The Windham Campbell Prizes were established by Donald Windham and Sandy M. Campbell to call attention to literary achievement and provide writers with the opportunity to focus on their work independent of financial concerns. The Prizes debuted in 2013. There is no submission process and winners are determined by a global group of invited nominators, a jury in each category, and a selection committee.

In September, the winners will gather from around the world at Yale (where the Prizes are based), for an international literary festival celebrating their work. All events are free and open to the public.

“The Windham Campbell Prizes were created by a writer to support other writers, said Michael Kelleher, director of the program. “Donald Windham recognized that the most significant gift he could give to another writer was time to write. In addition to the recognition prestige it confers, the prize gives them just that — with no strings attached.”


Teju Cole is the author of two works of fiction that radically expand our understanding of diaspora and dislocation in the twenty-first century. Cole was born in the US to Nigerian parents, raised in Lagos, and currently resides in New York City, which serves as both setting and subject of Open City (2011). The novel, which documents the roaming thoughts and encounters of a Nigerian-German psychiatrist, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and earned Cole a PEN/Hemingway Award, the Rosenthal Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and frequent comparisons to W.G. Sebald. In Every Day Is for the Thief, published in 2007 in Nigeria and in 2014 in the US, a dual American and Nigerian citizen travels from his home in New York to Lagos and finds himself a stranger. Every Day features original photographs by the author, and was named a Book of the Year by the New York Times, the Telegraph, the Globe and Mail, and NPR. Cole is the Distinguished Writer in Residence at Bard College, photography critic of the New York Times Magazine, and is currently at work on a nonfiction book about contemporary Lagos.

Helon Habila is the author of three novels. He was Arts Editor of Nigeria’s Vanguard Newspaper when his short story “Love Poems” won the 2001 Caine Prize, garnering him international attention as one of the most exciting new voices in contemporary fiction. The story was excerpted from his first novel, Waiting for an Angel (2002), itself about a Nigerian journalist’s literary ambitions threatened by a repressive military regime. Waiting was awarded the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Novel (Africa Region). That year Habila was also invited to serve as the first African Writing Fellow at the University of East Anglia, and in 2006 he co-edited the British Council’s collection NW14: The Anthology of New Writing. His second novel Measuring Time (2007) won the Library of Virginia Literary Award for Fiction. In 2011, he published his latest novel Oil on Water and edited The Granta Book of the African Short Story. He is currently Associate Professor of Creative Writing at George Mason University and returns to Nigeria each summer to teach a writing workshop.

Ivan Vladislavić is a writer of fiction and non-fiction celebrated in his native South Africa for seeing history in the quotidian and juxtaposing the banal and the bizarre. His debut story collection Missing Persons (1989) mined the dark absurdity of daily life under apartheid and was awarded the Olive Schreiner Prize. Missing Persons was republished in 2010 alongside his second collection Propaganda by Monuments (1996) as the single volume Flashback Hotel: Early Stories. These writings, along with his editorial work at Staffrider Magazine and Ravan Press, made Vladislavic a key figure of literary resistance to “the demented, divided space of apartheid.” In Double Negative (2010), Vladislavic’s protagonist wonders, “How much past can the present bear?” His post-apartheid novels have continued to explore the texture and tensions of the new South Africa with his signature humor and insight. Vladislavić has twice won the University of Johannesburg Prize, first for his nonfiction book Portrait with Keys: The City of Johannesburg Unlocked (2006) and again for Double Negative. His novel Restless Supermarket (2001) was awarded the Sunday Times Prize for Fiction. He was recently appointed a distinguished professor at the University of the Witwatersrand.


Edmund de Waal is a British artist and author of the memoir The Hare with Amber Eyes (2010). This moving family history follows the shifting ownership of 264 Japanese netsuke originally acquired in 1870s Paris by the cousin of de Waal’s great-grandfather Viktor Ephrussi. The figurines survived multiple migrations and the horrors of Nazism to reach de Waal, whose book was praised in the Guardian as constituting “a new genre, unnamed and maybe unnameable.” The Hare with Amber Eyes was awarded the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize, the Costa Book Award for Biography, and the Galaxy National Book Award for New Writer of the Year. De Waal’s second book, The White Road, is being published this September. It is a journey through a thousand years of stories about porcelain, from those who first made it in China and its collectors in Europe, to those who were destroyed by it in the darkest moments of twentieth century history. It is de Waal’s memoir of making. His ceramics and installations have been exhibited in museums around the world. In 2011 he was awarded an OBE for his services to art.

Geoff Dyer is the author of eight books of nonfiction and four novels. Whether wrestling with the specter of D.H. Lawrence (Out of Sheer Rage, 1997), “summarizing the action” of a famously slow-moving Tarkovsky film (Zona, 2012), or narrating his stay aboard an aircraft carrier (Another Great Day at Sea, 2014), Dyer’s genre-defying explorations have earned him universal admiration as singularly restless and original in his vision. Writing in the New York Review of Books, Giles Harvey noted approvingly, “This prowling and capricious nature has produced one of the strangest bodies of work in contemporary letters.” In addition to his book-length works, Dyer has written numerous essays and reviews for a variety of publications, a selection of which were collected in Otherwise Known as the Human Condition (2011) and awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism. His most recent novel is Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi (2009). Dyer was born in Cheltenham, England, and currently resides in Los Angeles.

John Jeremiah Sullivan is an essayist of astonishing range, taking up subjects as diverse as Southern Agrarians, Michael Jackson, and MTV’s The Real World. Dwight Garner described Sullivan in the New York Times as “among the best young nonfiction writers in English,” and his empathetic and bracingly intelligent profiles have earned him comparisons to Tom Wolfe and David Foster Wallace. His essays have appeared in The Paris Review, GQ, Harper’s Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, Oxford American, and elsewhere. Reviewing his collection Pulphead (2011) in the New Yorker, James Wood wrote that Sullivan “seems to have in abundance the storyteller’s gifts: he is a fierce noticer, is undauntedly curious, is porous to gossip, and has a memory of childlike tenacity.” Pulphead was preceded by Blood Horses: Notes of a Sportswriter’s Son (2004), an ambitious meditation on horse racing instigated by his father’s fond memory of the Kentucky Derby. Sullivan has been awarded two National Magazine Awards, a Whiting Writers’ Award, and a Pushcart Prize. He lives in Wilmington, North Carolina.


Jackie Sibblies Drury is a playwright whose brilliant, self-reflexive plays elucidate the ways in which social divisions continue to frame and fracture our work and our world. We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as South West Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915 premiered in 2012 to universal acclaim and won an Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award. The meta-theatrical play recreates an acting company’s bumbling and often tense efforts to compose a show about colonialist genocide. Drury’s follow-up production Social Creatures (2013), commissioned by Trinity Repertory Company of Providence, projects her concerns into an apocalyptic future, when a group of survivors hiding from a deadly pandemic quarantine an African-American stranger seeking to share their company. Drury has been the inaugural recipient of the Jerome New York Fellowship, a New Dramatists Van Lier Fellow, and a New York Theater Workshop Emerging Artist of Color Fellow. Her one-act and now I only dance at weddings was staged as part of the 38th Humana Festival’s show “Remix 38” in April 2014.

Helen Edmundson is a British playwright admired for her original work as well as her masterful adaptations of the literary classics Anna Karenina (1992), The Mill on the Floss (1994), and War and Peace (1996). Her plays are simultaneously vast and intimate, at once complicating familiar figures and dexterously illuminating the history they helped shape. “All my plays start with ideas,” Edmundson told The Guardian. “I wouldn’t want someone to leave and not feel they’ve been made to think about the world they’re living in.” The Clearing (1993), one of her earliest original plays, addresses Oliver Cromwell’s devastation of Ireland through the lens of individual characters’ conflicted loyalties. It won a Time Out Theatre Award and a John Whiting Award. The Heresy of Love, a bold take on seventeenth-century Mexican nun and writer Sister Juana Inés de la Cruz, and Mary Shelley, about the eponymous author and her philosopher father, both premiered in 2012. Her new adaptation of Emile Zola’s novel Thérèse Raquin will be staged by New York’s Roundabout Theater this October, featuring Keira Knightly in her Broadway debut.

Debbie Tucker Green is a British playwright whose poetic and challenging work reinvents the medium with each new production. Tucker Green’s polyvocal plays have been praised in the US and UK as “intense,” “densely lyrical,” and “emotionally charged.” Her early piece born bad (2003), a spare, haunting exhumation of family trauma, won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Newcomer. Writing about Soho Repertory Theater’s recent production of generations (2014) in the New Yorker, Hilton Als marveled, “this miniature spectacle, set in black South Africa, sounds like Gertrude Stein by way of Soweto.” Tucker Green has also written for radio and television, winning a 2012 BAFTA Award for Best Single Drama for her Channel 4 adaptation of her play random. Her feature film debut Second Coming premiered last year at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The Windham Campbell Prizes are administered by Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, which houses the Donald Windham and Sandy M. Campbell Papers. For further information, please visit, or contact Lauren Cerand, (917) 533-0103,


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Fiction Friday: “Forensic Investigation”, From Reward Nsirim’s Etisalat-Longlisted Fresh Air

Fresh Air and Other StoriesRead a short story by Reward Nsirim entitled “Forensic Investigation”, from his book Fresh Air and Other Stories, shared by Su’eddie in Life n Literature.

Nsirim was longlisted for this year’s Etisalat Prize, for Fresh Air and Other Stories, although he missed out on the shortlist (which includes two South Africans, Nadia Davids and Songeziwe Mahlangu, and Chinelo Okparanta – to be announced on 22 February).

Read the story:

Officers Boyd and Fletcher sat in a small briefing room inside the Empress State Building, listening to a really quirky commander. It was meant to be a brief briefing, but the man had spent the better part of half an hour sharing jokes, anecdotes and bits of weird police news. Finally, he got around to the matter.

“An assassination spree is in progress in Africa’s most populous country. As you already know, the bloodshed is something very usual during election periods in those parts. The coming elections are almost a year away, which means the killing season began a little early this time.”

He grinned, took a gulp from his tea cup and dropped the cup on the table beside him. “Thus far nearly fifty prominent souls have perished in cold blood, and it appears the guns are only rehearsing. On Election Day proper in the past the death toll has run into thousands, and in years when ethnic adn religious matters assist politics, the death toll can run into tens of thousands.”

Nsirim, a trained healthcare practitioner and senior programme manager on the Global Fund’s HIV/Aids portfolio in Nigeria, presented a TEDxTalk during the 2014 TEDXPortHarcourt gathering, speaking on the topic, “A healthier world with less medicines”.

He imagines a Nigeria where the health focus is on the things that can prevent the need for healthcare as we know it today:

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The Guardian Explains Error and “Apologises Unreservedly” to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

In its corrections and clarifications section The Guardian has explained how a recent article by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was published in error, and “apologises unreservedly” for the oversight.

Purple HibiscusHalf of a Yellow Sun Americanah

On Saturday, January 31, The Guardian published a non-fiction piece by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie about her struggle with depression, but then removed the article on Sunday, leaving a message on the page which explained that it had been published in error. The page was later altered to a more generic “the page you are looking for has been removed” message.

Now, however, the page redirects to the following message:

The author and the author’s agent did not grant permission to The Guardian to publish the piece. The author was still considering whether, when and which publication to give permission to publish the article, and as such the copyright remains with her. The Guardian publication was due to an error. We apologise to the author and to the readers.

The Guardian has also explained that the error was due to an automatic scheduling system on their website, stressing that “new training procedures in place to ensure that such errors do not happen again”.

Read the apology:

On 1 February 2015 at 1204 am, an error led to the online publication of an article on depression by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie without her approval or permission.

After being alerted by Ms Adichie’s agents, the Guardian removed the story from its website. The Guardian would like to make clear that Ms Adichie stands fully behind the piece that she wrote; she had not yet decided whether to publish the piece when it appeared on the Guardian’s website without notice or permission.

The article had been submitted to the Guardian by Ms Adichie’s agents in September 2014. After it was accepted, the Guardian made plans to publish the article in late September as part of the launch of a new features section in the paper. A mock-up of the layout of the article – with sample headlines and pictures – was prepared for both print and online. The author was not consulted about the headline or images used in these mock-ups, which were not intended for publication.

On 8 September, the Guardian was informed that the author did not wish to publish the article at this time. On 17 September, production staff deleted what were believed to be all of the related files from the Guardian’s system. Unfortunately, a copy of the web mock-up still existed in another content management system. This web file, which was created on 4 September 2014, had been set with a launch date of 1 February 2015, as a precaution to prevent it being accidentally published in September before its scheduled appearance. The automatic publication date was triggered on 1 February because editors were unaware of the existence of this version.

The Guardian apologises unreservedly to the author, and has moved to put new training procedures in place to ensure that such errors do not happen again.

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