Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Quick Round Up of Literary Awards (#NLNGPrize, #ManBookerPrize, #NobelPrize)

October has seen the announcement of several literature awards: from Nigeria's US$ 100,000 NLNG Prize, to the Pounds 50,000 Man Booker Prize. Overall, 2013 is the year for women writing, both young and old.

NLNG Prize for Literature, Nigeria: An Ibandan, Oyo State-based Lawyer and Poet, Tade Ipadeola, was announced the winner of the the 2013 Nigeria Prize for Literature. Ipadeola, president of PEN Nigeria, won the US$100,000 prize with poetry anthology The Sahara Testaments. The prize is sponsored by Nigeria LNG Limited. 

The Sahara Testaments won the prize ahead of Promise Ogochukwu's Wild Letters and Chidi Amu's Through the Window of a Sandcastle. The three entries were shortlisted from 201 entries received for the prize. The judges described The Sahara Testaments as
a remarkable epic covering the terrain and peopel of Africa from the very dawn of creation, through the present, to the future. The text uses Sahara as a metonym for the problems of Africa and, indeed, the whole of humanity. True to epic tradition, this work encompasses vast stores of knowledge in an encyclopaedic dimension. It also contains potent rhetoric and satire on topical issues and personalities, ranging from Africa's blood diamonds and inflation in Nigeria to 'contrite...Blair'. [Source]
The NLNG prize rotates annually among poetry, fiction, drama and children's literature. Chika Unigwe won the prize last year, for fiction, for her book On Black Sisters' Street.

The Nobel Prize for Literature: The Nobel Prize organisation, on October 10, awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature to Canadian author, Alice Munro as a 
master of the contemporary short story. [Source]
Alice Munro was born on the 10th of July, 1931 in Wingham, which is the Canadian province of Ontario. She is primarily known for her short stories. Her works include Who Do You Think You Are? (1978), The Moons of Jupiter (1982), Runaway (2004), The View from Castle Rock (2006) and Too Much Happiness (2009). The collection Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage (2001) became the basis of the film Away from Her 2006. Her most recent collection is Dear Life (2012). Her short story Runaway appeared in the Best American Short Story 2004.

Munro is acclaimed for her finely tuned storytelling, which is characterised by clarity and psychological realism. Some critics consider her a Canadian Chekov. Her stories are often set in small town environments, where the struggle for a socially acceptable existence often results in strained relationships and moral conflicts - problems that stem from generational differences and colliding life ambitions. Her texts often feature depictions of everyday but decisive events, epiphanies of a kind, that illuminate the surrounding story and let existential questions appear in a flash of lightning. [Source]

The Chinese author, Mo Yan, won the prize in 2012.

The Man Booker Prize: On October 15, Eleanor Catton was announced the winner of the 2013 Man Booker Prize for her 832-page novel The Luminaries. This makes the 28-year old Eleanor, who completed The Luminaries at 27, the youngest winner of this prestigious prize and her book the longest ever to win the award. Catton is just the second New Zealander to win the prize, the first being Keri Hulme with The Bone People in 1985. 

The Luminaries, set in 1866 during the New Zealand gold rush, contains a group of 12 men gathered for a meeting in a hotel and a traveller who stumbles into their midst; the story involves a missing rich man, a dead hermit, a huge sum in gold, and a beaten-up whore. There are sex and seances, opium and lawsuits in the mystery too. The multiple voices take their turns to tell their own stories and gradually what happened in the small town of Hokitika on New Zealand's South Island is revealed.

The Chair of Judges Robert Macfarlane described the book as a 'dazzling work, luminous, vast.' Adding that it is 'a book you sometimes feel lost in, fearing it to be 'a big baggy monster', but it turns out to be as tightly structured as an orrery'. Macfarlane and his fellow judges were impressed by Catton's technique but it was her 'extraordinarily gripping' narrative that enthralled them. 'We read it three times and each time we dug into it the yields were extraordinary, its dividends astronomical.' [Source]

The Man Booker International Prize 2013 This is a bit late though. On May 22, Lydia Davis was announced the winner of the Man Booker International Prize 2013. The Man Booker International Prize 
recognises one writer for his or her achievement in fiction. Worth £60,000, the prize is awarded every two years to a living author who has published fiction either originally in English or whose work is generally available in translation in the English language. The winner is chosen solely at the discretion of the judging panel and there are no submissions form publishers. The Man Booker International Prize is significantly different from the annual Man Booker Prize for Fiction. In seeking out literary excellence, the judges consider a writer's body of work rather than a single novel. [Source]
Lydia Davis is an American writer who was born in Massachusetts in 1947 and is now professor of creative writing at the University of Albany, the capital of New York state. 

She is best known for two contrasting accomplishments: translating from the French, to great acclaim, Marcel Proust's complex Du Côté de Chez Swann (Swann's Way) and Flaubert's Madame Bovary, and writing short stories, a number of them the shortest stories every written. Much of her fiction may be seen under the aspect of philosophy or poetry or short story, and even the longer creations may be as succinct as two or three pages. Previous winners of the Prize include Ismail Kadare, Chinua Achebe, Alice Munro (the 2013 winner of the Nobel Prize), and Philip Roth. [Source]

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