Friday, March 12, 2010

Nwaubani’s win boosts her chances for top Commonwealth honours

NEXT’s Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, who Thursday won this year’s Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for the Best First Book for the Africa Region, is in pole position for the overall award, to be announced next month. The writer beat four other writers, including fellow Nigerian, Kachi A. Ozumba, to scoop the Best First Book category, which comes with a £1,000 cash prize. The other regional winner for Africa, in the Best Book category, is South African Marie Heese. This year’s regional nods were dominated by women, with 10 female authors out of the total 14 shortlisted.
Nwaubani wins the Commonwealth award for her much praised debut novel about Nigerian email scammer, I Do Not Come To You By Chance. The book, already published in Britain and America, is due for release in Nigeria soon. When the news came in from South Africa where the announcement was made, the NEXT copy editor excitedly called up her father to tell him.
Over 50 books were entered for the 2010 awards in the Africa Region, the majority from Nigeria and South Africa, the two leading writing countries on the continent. The judging panel noted that while South African entries were published in that country, the Nigerian entries were dominated by books published abroad, perhaps a pointer to the fact that many Nigerian writers live elsewhere in the world.
Of the four Nigerians originally on the Commonwealth shortlists, Nwaubani is the only writer based at home.
The judging panel praised her novel for using “humour and irony to deal with the difficult moral dilemmas it presents, thus preventing the story from descending into the kind of sermonising and moralising that would deny the humanity of its characters.”

Full report here Next

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