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Weaver rules roost on book awards night
Stanley Kwenda, The Finacial Gazette

August 04, 2005

LOCAL Publishing house Weaver Press ruled the roost at the literary awards ceremony held on Tuesday night at the official opening of the Zimbabwe International Book Fair.

A number of emerging writers also scooped some awards at this year's ceremony but the spotlight was on the publishing category in which Weaver Press claimed the lion's share.
"It was a battle of the publishers though we were very happy to have some new writers winning prizes in different categories, unlike in the past when we had the same faces gracing the podium," said Jairos Kangira, chief judge of the Zimbabwe Book Publishers Association (ZBPA) literary awards 2005.

Weaver Press received nine awards for the different books it has published. Among the books is Sketches Of The High-Density Life written by journalist Wonder Guchu, which won the second prize in the fiction-writing category. Weaver also won in the best fiction writing, children's literature, non-fiction and educational books categories.

Publishing giant ZPH was also a contender, garnering the second highest number of awards after Weaver.

"It was not easy to come up with the winners, we were looking at things like the quality of editing, picture relevance to the story in the book and printing quality of the book," said Kangira.

A total of 15 categories were featured. There were no entries in the children's literature for ages three to seven. This category was usually dominated by the late Gweru writer, Stephen Alumenda. Last year the Book Fair Trust honoured leading local writers in the 75 best books project where UK-based writer Chenjerai Hove hogged the limelight with a hat trick of awards. Other publishing houses such as Longman Zimbabwe, Mambo Press, University of Zimbabwe and College Press also took part.

The fair was officially opened by South Africa's first speaker of parliament, Dr Frene Gwinala, who gave a moving lecture on operation Murambatsvina in her opening remarks. In her speech she commented extensively on the clean-up campaign and the subsequent report over it, which was compiled by the highest-ranking African female diplomat at the UN, Anna Kajumulo Tabaijuka. Her speech was in line with this year's indaba theme "African Rights." Dub-poet Albert Nyati also gave a brave performance, paying tribute to some of the country's late writers.

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