The Etisalat Prize for Literature today announced the three books that made it to it’s 2015 shortlist via twitter.
Glaringly missing from the list is Chigozie Obioma’s ‘The Fishermen’ which was a readers’ favourite to be on the shortlist and was on the Man Booker Prize shortlist earlier this year.
The shortlist for the 2015 Etisalat Prize for Literature:
1. Penny Busetto (South Africa), The Story of Anna P, as Told by Herself
This sparse, disturbing novel reflects the past, present, and future of a woman, Anna P, who lives on an island off the coast of Italy but can no longer remember how she got there. She comes from South Africa but has almost no memories of the place or people there. The only person she has any relationship with is a sex worker whom she pays by the hour. She has abusive encounters with unknown men, and it is not clear whether she occasionally kills these men or not. It is only when she begins to connect emotionally with a young boy in her accidental care that she finds some value in herself, some place which she will not allow to be abused, and her life gradually changes. This meticulously crafted debut asks a number of difficult questions about the nature of memory: Who are we if we lose our memories? What does it mean to have no identity? And if we have no identity, no sense of ourselves, how can we make any ethical choices? The answers may not comfort the reader, but The Story of Anna P, as Told by Herself grounds such existential ponderings in a rich imaginative landscape that will linger with the reader long after the last page is read.
Fiston Mwanza Mujila (Democratic Republic of Congo), Tram 83
Two friends, one a budding writer home from Europe, the other an ambitious racketeer, meet in the only nightclub, the Tram 83, in a war-torn city-state in secession, surrounded by profit-seekers of all languages and nationalities. Tram 83 plunges the reader into the modern African gold rush as cynical as it is comic and colorfully exotic, using jazz rhythms to weave a tale of human relationships in a world that has become a global village.
Rehana Rossouw (South Africa), What Will People Say?
In What Will People Say?, a rich variety of township characters—the preachers, the teachers, the gangsters and the defeated—come to life in vivid language as they eke out their lives in the shadows of gray concrete blocks of flats. It is the story of the Fourie family, residents of Hanover Park in the Cape Flats during the height of the struggle era. Which members of the Fourie family will thrive, which ones will not survive? Generously spiced with Cape Flats slang, the novel features vivid and gritty descriptions of the difficult issues faced by those living in this marginalized and disadvantaged community.