Friday, March 12, 2010

Two Canadian writers make the final of Commonwealth Writers’ Prize

AFTER MONTHS of anticipation, the winners for best book and first best book from the Caribbean and Canada have been announced and will now go through to the final stage of the 2010 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in April.
Internationally recognized for propelling authors into the literary spotlight, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize offers an exceptional opportunity for new writers to demonstrate their talent and for authors already on the literary scene to enhance their reputation. Next month Michael Crummey with his book Galore and Shandi Mitchell for her book Under this Unbroken Sky will go head to head with regional winners from Africa, South Asia and Europe and South East Asia and Pacific to compete for the global prizes for best book and best first book.
In its 24th year, the critically acclaimed Commonwealth Writers’ Prize has a strong track record of discovering new international stars. The winners of Best First Book and Best Book from the Caribbean and Canada will join some of the biggest names in fiction to have been recognised by the Prize, including Lawrence Hill and Alice Munroe.
Presented by the Commonwealth Foundation with support from the Macquarie Group Foundation, the Prize’s final programme, starting on 7 April in Delhi, India will bring together the finalists from the different regions of the Commonwealth, and the two overall winners will be announced there on 12 April.
Commenting today, The Director of the Commonwealth Foundation, Mark Collins, said: “The level of entries this year has been absolutely outstanding and the competition is fierce. I would like to congratulate Michael Crummey and Shandi Mitchell in getting through to the final stage and I look forward to welcoming them to India. Once again, the Prize is identifying the best of Commonwealth fiction written in English and in doing so, spotting rising talent and creating new literary heroes from the Commonwealth. Taken as a whole, the eight winning books – from Australia, Canada, Nigeria, Pakistan, Samoa, South Africa and the UK – are reaching out to readers across all cultures. These compelling works that have reached the final stage offer strong insight, spirit and voice about the incredible diversity, history and life of the Commonwealth.”
David Clarke, Chairman of the Macquarie Group Foundation, the main sponsor of the Prize, added:
"The Commonwealth Writers’ Prize is unique in giving a voice to authors who throw light on evolving social realities. The Macquarie Group Foundation is delighted to be part of recognising this new literary talent from around the world, and to help support young writers."
Regional Chair Dr Antonia MacDonald-Smythe said:
”Revisiting patriarchal myth of man versus landscape and fight for dominance, Shandi Mitchell in Under This Unbroken Sky evokes with restrained lyricism the survival strategies of a Ukrainian family in the unforgiving prairie of Northern Canada. Mitchell’s own sensuous response to her environment is powerfully reflected in her characters, who are seeking to align themselves with that indifferent world even as the tensions of their past lead them into an intricate, inevitable and entirely convincing tragedy.”
Michael Crummey captures the moral life of a vanished world in which passionate individuals do battle with an unforgiving landscape. He never falters in his rendering of the Newfoundland idiom and in the energy of a story that spans six generations. Etched in wit, raucous and inventive, Crummey’s Galore is a seamless melding of myth and history, a epic masterpiece that is grounded in the folklore of a unique part of Canada.
Both Crummey and Mitchell are first class storytellers. Their narratives grip you by the throat and never let go of you. Long after you put these two books down the memory of that highly charged reading experience stays with you.”

From The Barnacle

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