10 Writers, 4 From Africa, Finalists For Man Booker Prize

10 Writers, 4 From Africa, Finalists For Man Booker Prize

Fiction writers from Mozambique, South Africa, Congo-Brazzaville and Libya are among the 10 finalists in the running to win the Man Booker International Prize, worth $89,316 USD, BBCNews reports.

The award recognizes an author’s continued overall contribution to literature, creativity, and continued development rather than a single work.

The list features six people making a first-ever appearance on the Booker list, including all four Africans, Guadeloupe and Hungary.

The prize is awarded every two years to an author who has published fiction originally in English or has been translated into English. The winner will be announced in London on 19 May, according to BBCNews.

The authors on the list are:

  • Alain Mabanckou (Congo-Brazzaville): Born in 1966 in the Republic of the Congo, he is a professor of literature in the U.S. best known for novels and non-fiction writing about contemporary Africa and the African diaspora in France. He one of the best known and most successful writers in French language and one of the best known African writers in France. He is also controversial. Some African and diaspora writers criticize him for saying Africans are responsible for their own misfortune.
  • Marlene van Niekerk (South Africa): Born in 1954, she was awarded South Africa’s high honor, the Order of Ikhamanga, in 2011 for her outstanding intellectual contribution to literary arts and culture through poetry, literature and philosophical works. She is professor of Afrikaans and Dutch literature and creative writing at Stellenbosch University. The film adaptation of her debut novel “Triomf” won Best South African Film at the Durban International Film Festival in 2008. As an Afrikaner lesbian, she said her writing reflects being “outside the main arena.” Her novel “Agaat” topped the Swedish bestseller list for five weeks in 2012.

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  • Ibrahim al-Koni (Libya): One of the most prolific Arabic novelists, he was born in 1948 in the Fezzan Region, and brought up in the tradition of the Tuareg, known as “the veiled men” or “the blue men.” With more than 80 books, his writing style has been described as magical realist, Sufi fabulist and poetic novelist. Al-Koni spent his childhood in the desert.
  • Mia Couto (Mozambique): Born in Beira, Mozambique, in 1955, he’s among the most prominent writers in Portuguese-speaking Africa, according to Mertin-Litag. After studying medicine and biology in Maputo, he worked as a journalist and headed the AIM news agency, daily newspaper Notícias de Maputo, and the weekly Tempo. In 2013, he won the Camões Prize for Literature 2013 and the Neustadt International Prize for Literature 2014. His novels include “Jesusalém,” and “Confession of the Lioness.”

Other Booker Prize finalists include:

– Amitav Ghosh (India)
– Fanny Howe (U.S.)
– Laszlo Krasznahorkai (Hungary)
– Cesar Aira (Argentina)

– Hoda Barakat (Lebanon)

– Maryse Conde (Guadeloupe).

None of the writers has been up for the prize before, according to BBCNews.

Past African Man Booker Prize Award winners have included Nigerian Chinua Achebe in 2007. South African Nadine Gordimer in 1974; South African J. M. Coetzee in 1983; Nigerian Ben Okri won in 1991; and South African J. M. Coetzee in 1999.