Bellagio Publishing Network  

 BPN Newsletter Issue No 25, July 1999 


Awards to African writing

Neustadt Prize 1998

Nuruddin Farah of Somalia has been awarded the Neustadt International Prize for Literature for 1998, widely considered the most prestigious international literary prize after the Nobel. The $40,000 prize is conferred every two years by the University of Oklahoma and its international journal, World Literature Today. Farah, whose novels are written in English, is the first African to win the prize in its 27-year history.

The Voice of Africa 1999

Yvonne Vera, author of Why Don't you Carve Other Animals, Nehanda, Without a Name, Under the Tongue, and Butterfly Burning, published by Baobab Books, Harare, Zimbabwe, has been awarded the Swedish literary award The Voice of Africa 1999. The purpose of the prize is to promote a knowledge of African literature and its many distinguished writers.

The prize was instituted last year by the Swedish publishing houses Ordfront, Norstedis, Raben & Sjogren and the Book-of-the Month Club to honour the Swedish fiction writer Henning Mankell, whose commitment to Africa, its culture and literature, is well known in Sweden.

Swedish interest in Yvonne Vera's work had already been signalled by the Swedish publisher, Ordfront, which is now translating and will shortly publish Under the Tongue, the novel which won the Commonweath Writer's Prize (Africa region) in 1997.

Yvonne Vera will be presented with the award at the Gothenburg Book Fair, Sweden, in September 1999.

UNESCO Prize for children's literature in the service of tolerance

The 1999 UNESCO prize for children's literature in the service of tolerance was awarded at the Bologna Children's Book Fair to Meshack Asare for Sosu's Call, published by Sub Saharan Publishers. The story tells of a disabled boy.

Two of the five honourable mentions were also for books published in Africa: by the International Printing House, Egypt; and Tafelberg, South Africa.

Caine prize for African writing

A new prize for African creative writing in English has been launched in London. The first prize of US$15,000 will be awarded in June 2000, from a shortlist compiled from works published in the preceding 24 months. Thereafter the prize will be awarded annually. All African citizens including those living in the diaspora are eligible. Submissions must be fiction short stories, minimum length 3,000 words (the organisers are still refining the terms, and a maximum length will be set), which are already published in some form of print media - books, journals, newspapers or magazines.

The patrons so far announced are Wole Soyinka and Nadine Gordimer. Ben Okri will chair the first international panel of five judges, which will include at least two Africans.

The prize is in memory of Sir Michael Caine, former chairman of Booker plc, founder of the Booker prize, and patron of the London-based Africa Centre, who died in March 1999. He had begun work on establishing a prize before he died, with the intention to strengthen African writing, publishing and readership. BPN  [end]  [BPN, no 25, 1999, p 11.]

^^Back to top

Return to table of contents for BPN Newsletter 25, 1999>>

home about us news resources subscribe
newsletter forum search

© Bellagio Publishing Network 1999.