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writer wins 2007 Noma Award for brilliant novel
NOMA Award for Publishing in Africa
October 27, 2007
The Noma Award for Publishing
in Africa announces that Shimmer Chinodya has won the Noma Award
for Publishing in Africa in 2007 for his novel Strife. The book
was published in 2006 by Weaver Press, Zimbabwe.
The Jury's citation
of this powerful and haunting story, in notably innovative form,
brings a new dimension to African writing. The novelist reverses
the traditional relationship between family and nation, concentrating
on the social energies in an African family, rather than the individual
or the nation. Powerful and haunting, with memorable portraits of
individuals, the story is driven by a deep and distinctive sense
of the tragic. The novelist's psychological sensitivity illuminates
the dominant themes of disease and death; and the constant tension
between the pull of the past and the aspiration of modernity is
expressed in a prose that makes everything original and new, recasting
Shimmer Chinodya is a
Zimbabwean writer, who has published eight novels, children's
books, educational texts, radio and film scripts, and has contributed
to numerous anthologies. He has won many awards, including the Commonwealth
Writers' Prize (Africa region). He seeks primarily to present
an African worldview, but wants his literature to speak to the world
as a whole. He describes his works as "experiments on the
effects of time and change on humans, and human relationships tangled
in the eternal quest for happiness and fulfilment".
The Noma Award, under
the auspices of UNESCO, will be presented to Shimmer Chinodya at
a special ceremony details of which will be announced later.
from 66 African publishers, in 12 countries, in 5 languages, were
submitted for the 2007 competition. The Jury singled out a further
four titles for Honourable Mention.
The Noma Award Jury is
chaired by Walter Bgoya from Tanzania, one of Africa's most
distinguished publishers, with wide knowledge of both African and
international publishing. The other members of the Jury in 2007
were: Professor Simon Gikandi, Professor of English at Princeton
University; Professor Peter Katjavivi, Ambassador of the Republic
of Namibia to the Federal Republic of Germany and former Vice-Chancellor
of the University of Namibia; and Mary Jay, Secretary to the Managing
Committee (the Jury). The Award is sponsored by Kodansha Ltd, Japan.
(alphabetical by publisher):
et la Pintade by Gina Dick
Illustrated by Mossoun Ernest Teki
Abidjan: CEDA & Les Nouvelles Editions Ivoiriennes, 2006
An enchanting children's story, beautifully illustrated in
colour, and published to a high standard in hardback. The story
tells how the animals lived in harmony, until the drought struck.
The wicked hare breaks ranks and behaves selfishly, until he is
finally outwitted by the guinea fowl. Rich in language, the story
illustrates the importance and values of loyalty.
by Kgebetli Moele
Cape Town: Kwela Books, 2006
Set in a dilapidated building in Hillbrow, the notorious suburb
of Johannesburg, this novel is preoccupied with the theme of a new
South Africa trying to cope with the burden of its past and its
ambivalent presence in Africa. The tone is of celebration and mourning,
and the writing is very strong, poetic, vivid, and often moving.
Theatre: Twelve Plays for Young People by Mabel Segun
(Lagos: Maybelline Publications, 2006)
Twelve short plays for children, with clear objectives and excellent
presentation, both educational and entertaining. The plays for the
youngest are based on folktales, and for the older children on heroes
and heroines, both legendary and historical. Some clever narrative
devices are employed, with a real awareness of the voice of children
and their skill as performers.
At Her Feet
by Nadia Davids
(Johannesburg: Oshun Books, 2006)
Created for a one-woman performance, the play is an exceptional
piece of work: probing, acutely perceptive, with a superb ear for
individual characters' speech patterns. Dealing with the relationship
between women and Islam specifically in the South African context,
the material is thought provoking and moving, and the writing distinctive
and often poetic.
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