Thursday, March 06, 2008

Commonwealth Writers Prize

From the Commonwealth Foundation website:

The shortlists for the 2008 Commonwealth Writers' Prize Best Book Award and Best First Book Award have been announced (Wednesday 13 February). Four international judging panels in each Commonwealth region; Africa; Canada and the Caribbean, Europe and South Asia; and South East Asia and South Pacific have chosen the following books in each region from an impressive list of 320 entries.


Best Book
Barbara Adair (South Africa) End Jacana Media
Ifeoma Chinwuba (Nigeria) Waiting for Maria Spectrum Books
Finuala Dowling(South Africa) Flyleaf Penguin Books SA
Karen King-Aribisala (Nigeria) The Hangman's Game Peepal Tree Press
Susan Mann (South Africa ) Quarter Tones Harvill Secker
Zakes Mda (South Africa) Cion Penguin Books SA

Best First Book
Sade Adeniran (Nigeria ) Imagine This SW Books
Ceridwen Dovey (South Africa) Blood Kin Penguin Books SA
Dayo Forster (Gambia) Reading the Ceiling Simon and Schuster
Ken Kamoche (Kenya) A Fragile Hope Salt Publishing
Sumayya Lee (South Africa) The Story of Maha South Africa Kwela Books
Carel van der Merwe (South Africa) No Man's Land Umuzi


Best Book
Gil Adamson (Canada) The Outlander House of Anansi Press
Erna Brodber (Jamaica) The Rainmaker's Mistake New Beacon Books
Lawrence Hill (Canada) The Book of Negroes HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
Robert Hough (Canada) The Culprits Canada Random House Canada
Frances Itani (Canada) Remembering the Bones HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
Michael Ondaatje (Canada) Divisadero Bloomsbury Publishing/ McClelland & Stewart

Best First Book
David Chariandy (Canada) Soucouyant Arsenal Pulp Press
Tish Cohen (Canada) Town House HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
Arley McNeney (Canada) Post Thistledown Press
Ameen Merchant (Canada) The Silent Raga Douglas & McIntyre
C.S. Richardson (Canada) The End of the Alphabet Doubleday Canada
Neil Smith (Canada) Bang Crunch Knopf Canada


Best Book
David Davidar (India )The Solitude of Emperors Weidenfeld & Nicholson
Mohsin Hamid (Pakistan)The Reluctant Fundamentalist Viking, Penguin Books India PVT Ltd/Hamish Hamilton
Usha K.R. (India) Girl and a River Penguin Books India PVT Ltd
Hari Kunzru (UK) My Revolutions Hamish Hamilton
Nicholas Shakespeare (UK) Secrets of the Sea Harvill Secker
Indra Sinha (India ) Animal's People Simon and Schuster

Best First Book
Tahmima Anam (Bangladesh) A Golden Age John Murray
Priya Basil (UK) Ishq and Mushq Transworld Publishers
Shandana Minhas (UK) Tunnel Vision Roli Books
Catherine O'Flynn (UK) What was Lost Tindal Street Press
Jeremy Page (UK) Salt Viking, Penguin
JM Shaw (UK) The Illumination of Merton Browne Sceptre


Best Book Award
Steven Carroll (Australia) The Time We Have Taken HarperCollins
Sonya Hartnett (Australia) The Ghosts Child Penguin Australia
Sarah Hopkins (Australia) The Crimes of Billy Fish ABC Books
Mireille Juchau (Australia) Burning In Giramondo
Michelle De Kretser (Australia) The Lost Dog Allen & Unwin
Alex Miller (Australia) Landscape of Farewell Allen & Unwin

Best First Book Award
Steven Conte (Australia) The Zookeepers War Australia Harper Collins
Karen Foxlee (Australia) The Anatomy of Wings Australia UQP
Sara Knox (Australia) The Orphan Gunner Giramondo
Carol Lefevre (Australia) Nights in the Asylum Picador
Marcella Polain (Australia) The Edge of the World Fremantle Press
Stephen Scourfield (Australia) Other Country Allen & Unwin

Of the books on this list I have read precisely one book! I think I have one other book on my TBR list. Next week the regional winner in each category is announced and then the winner will be announced in May.

The interesting thing I find in these lists is the diversity or lack of it in each region. Does the fact that there are only Australian nominations in both categories in the South East Asia and South Pacific regions mean that Australian literature is going through a really good patch. Surely it can't mean that there are no shortlist worthy books from other regions. At least in the Canada and the Carribean category there is one non-Canadian author! There is some diversity at least in the other catergories.

This isn't a prize that I normal follow but when I saw it today, I just found these observations interesting.

1 comment:

  1. Well written article, it will be great if you can publish your content in SiliconIndia also, as I am a member of SiliconIndia, am sure that most of the members will like reading it. They do have a book store section which provides a wide range of collection of books.