The shortlist for the Etisalat Prize came out. Founded in 2013, this prize celebrates debut novelists of African citizenship. The winner will be announced later this month and all three books on the shortlist were written by female authors.
Bom Boy by Yewande Omotoso
Set in South Africa, about a boy who stalks and steals as a way to connect with others. It is noted for, its “complex narrative written with a sensitive understanding of both the smallness and magnitude of a single life.”
Finding Soutbek by Karen Jennings
Also set in South Africa, this book tells the story of a divided town, focusing on the life of the first black mayor and his wife.
We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo
This book has been up for a lot of prizes, including the Booker. It’s a remarkable debut and one I will write about in more detail later this month. It’s a voice driven story of a Zimbabwean girl.
It’s wonderful to see this prize and to celebrate writers from Africa. It is also a way for those of us in the US to learn more about voices we might not read about in other venues.
The next two books I review are set in Africa…Stringer, by Anjan Sundaram, is a memoir about a young man who moves to the Congo to be a journalist. And then I will write about NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names.