Saturday, February 20, 2010


Seven UK titles make Commonwealth list

19.02.10 | Katie Allen in The Bookseller

Seven British titles have made the 12-strong South Asia and Europe category for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize regional winners shortlist.

Three titles were up for Best Book and four for Best First Book in the division including Solo by Rana Dasgupta (Fourth Estate); Heartland by Anthony Cartwright (Tindal Street Press) and Orange Prize for New Writers winner Francesca Kay for An Equal Stillness (Phoenix). The titles will battle against offerings from three regions: South East Asia and Pacific, Africa and the Caribbean and Canada.

The Prize is presented by the Commonwealth Foundation with support from the Macquarie Group Foundation.

The finalists from the different regions of the Commonwealth will be brought together in Delhi from 7th April, and two overall winners will be announced on 12th April.

Director of the Commonwealth Foundation, Mark Collins, said: "The Commonwealth Writers' Prize is distinct and unique in that the books that win often have strong insight, spirit and voice about the incredible diversity, history and society of the Commonwealth. The Prize aims to reward the best of Commonwealth fiction written in English and in doing so, spots rising talent and creates new literary figures from the Commonwealth.

"This is the Prize to watch for tomorrow's bestsellers."

The shortlists in full:

Best Book:
Trespass by Dawn Garisch (South Africa)
The Double Crown by Marié Heese (South Africa)
The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria)
Eyo by Abidemi Sanusi (Nigeria)
Tsamma Season by Rosemund Handler (South Africa)
Refuge by Andrew Brown (South Africa)
Kings of the Water by Mark Behr (South Africa)

Best First Book:
I Do Not Come to You by Chance by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani (Nigeria)
The Shape of Him by Gill Schierhout (South Africa)
The Shadow of a Smile by Kachi Ozumba (Nigeria)
Come Sunday by Isla Morley (South Africa)
Sleepers Wake by Alistair Morgan (South Africa)
Jelly Dog Days by Erica Emdon (South Africa)
Harmattan Rain by Aysha Harunna Attah (Ghana)

Caribbean and Canada
Best Book:
The Winter Vault by Anne Michaels (Canada)
February by Lisa Moore (Canada)
Euphoria by Connie Gault (Canada)
Goya's Dog by Damian Tarnopolsky (Canada)
Galore by Michael Crummey (Canada)
The Golden Mean by Annabel Lyon (Canada)

Best First Book:
Under this Unbroken Sky by Shandi Mitchell (Canada)
Daniel O'Thunder by Ian Weir (Canada)
The Island Quintet: Five Stories by Raymond Ramchartiar (Trinidad)
Diary of Interrupted Days by Dragan Todorovic (Canada)
The Briss by Michael Tregebov (Canada)
Amphibian by Carla Gunn (Canada)

South Asia and Europe
Best Book:
Solo by Rana Dasgupta (Fourth Esta(Britain)
For Pepper and Christ: A Novel by Keki Daruwalla (India)
The Beijing of Possibilities by Jonathan Tel (Britain)
Heartland by Anthony Catwright (Britain)
Another Gulmohar Tree by Aamer Hussein (Pakistan)
The Immortals by Amit Chaudhuri (India)

Best First Book:
The Hungry Ghosts by Anne Berry (Britain)
Arzee the Dwarf by Chandrahas Choudhury (India)
In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin (Pakistan)
Among Thieves by Mez Packer (Britain)
An Equal Stillness by Francesca Kay (Britain)
Tail of the Blue Bird by Nii Parkes (Britain)

South East Asia and Pacific
Best Book:
Summertime by J M Coetzee (Australia)
A Good Land by Nada Awar Jarrar (Australia)
The Adventures of Vela by Albert Wendt (Samoa)
Singularity by Charlotte Grimshaw (New Zealand)
The People's Train by Thomas Keneally (Australia)
Parrot and Oliver in America by Peter Carey (Australia)

Best First Book:
The Ice Age by Kirsten Reed (Australia)
After the fire, a still small voice by Evie Wyld (Australia)
Look Who's Morphing by Tom Cho (Australia)
Document Z by Andrew Croome (Australia)
Come Inside by Glenys Osborne (Australia)
Siddon Rock by Glenda Guest (Australia)


Andrew said...

Good to see Charlotte Grimshaw's "Singularity" nominated for Best Book in the South East Asia & Pacific section. I am a huge fan of her writing.

But very interesting to see the clean sweep by Australia for the shortlist for Best First Book for the region. For me, this underlines the mistake that the NZ Post Awards' organisers are making in not having a shortlist for the NZSA Best First Book and Best First Collection of Poetry categories of award--for if we do not take notice of and celebrate our own emerging writers, can we be surprised if the Commonwealth does not either? The decision to do away with a shortlist for these awards seems more than ever retrograde and shortsighted.

Doris Mousdale said...

I loved An Equal Stillness it was one of my favourite books from last year, life of  two painters who marry, the husband sells out for fame, glory and an extramarital affair but the wife struggles with form amd content of her painting to go on to become the better artist. Francesca Kay captures the situation and characters in a spare but descriptive novel.
February by Lisa Moore read this last week and it is marvellous shades of Shipping News a tale of tragedy and grieving, sounds dull but it is an uplifting story.