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
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.]
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