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Commonwealth Writers' Prize 2008 Announcement

Commonwealth Writers' Prize 2008

The two overall winners of the 2008 Commonwealth Writers' Prize will be announced at the Franschhoek Literary Festival, South Africa, on Sunday, 18 May 2008. Prizes of £10,000 will be awarded to the author of Overall Best Book, and £5,000 to the author of Overall Best First Book.

The CWP, an increasingly valued and sought-after award for fiction, is presented annually by the Commonwealth Foundation. Now in its 22nd year, it aims to reward the best of Commonwealth fiction written in English, by both established and new writers, and to take their works to a global audience.

In a unique aspect of the Prize, all eight regional winners, revealed on 13 March 2008, will be invited to take part in a week-long programme of readings, community activities and other public events alongside the final pan-Commonwealth judging. The eight, a mix of established and new voices, come from Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, India and Nigeria. The week's programme will culminate in the announcement of the overall Best Book and Best First Book winners in a special ceremony as part of the 2008 Franschhoek Literary Festival, in the Cape Winelands District, on Sunday 18 May. The final programme is being run in partnership with the Department of Arts and Culture, South Africa, and the Franschhoek Literary Festival.

Synonymous with the CWP's aims of promoting new voices and building understanding between cultures, the Franschhoek Literary Festival, instigated in 2007, promotes dialogue between local and international authors and newly-published and aspiring writers. This happens during three lively days of informal discussions, poetry and classical music events, fundraisers, and literary meals in renowned Franschhoek restaurants. Funds raised from the Festival will go towards establishing first rate libraries in Franschhoek schools that need them.

Mark Collins, Director of the Commonwealth Foundation, comments:
"The Commonwealth Writers' Prize is all about making new connections and fostering the growth of mutual understanding. As the final programme, with its range of public events, comes to South Africa for the first time, it's fitting that to make it happen we are partnering with both the Department of Arts and Culture, which works to promote social cohesion and nation-building, and with the pioneering, community-oriented Franschhoek Literary Festival. It promises to be a week long feast of reading and sharing that reaches many.'

Christopher Hope, the Franschhoek Literary Festival Director, comments:

"It's a great thing for us to play a part, this year, in the Commonwealth Writers' Prize awards. The Franschhoek Literary Festival exists to enable writers to meet and mingle with colleagues from across the continent and around the world. Nothing serves that aim better than the chance of welcoming prize -winning writers from the Commonwealth to Franschhoek, and to South Africa."

David Clarke, Chairman of the Macquarie Group Foundation who is the main sponsor of the CWP, believes the quality of this year's regional winners has set new benchmarks for the Prize.

"The Macquarie Group Foundation has been a close friend of the Commonwealth Foundation for three years now. The Commonwealth Writer's Prize promotes and rewards literary talent which, in 2008, has identified some of the finest writers yet producing outstanding works of fiction.

"We are proud to be associated with such a serious and meticulously judged prize that profoundly enriches the global arts and literary community and look forward to continuing our support across all four regions in 2009 and 2010. I wish the finalists the best of luck," said David Clarke.

The distinguished six person pan-Commonwealth panel of judges who will decide the overall winners is chaired by Hon Justice Nicholas Hasluck AM (Chair of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize), and comprises the four regional chairpersons and South African judge Pumla Dineo Gqola, Associate Professor at University of Witwatersrand. The four regional chairpersons are: Professor Arthur Gakwandi (Africa); Dr. Michael Bucknor (Canada and the Caribbean); Professor Makarand Paranjape (Europe and South Asia); and Dr Christine Prentice (South East Asia and South Pacific).

The Franschhoek Literary Festival runs from 16th to 18th May 2008. This year's line-up of writers includes Pulitzer Prize winning American novelist Richard Ford, celebrated poet Gabeba Baderoon, Mbeki biographer Mark Gevisser, crime writers Deon Meyer and Margie Orford, academic businesswoman Dr Mamphela Ramphele and two 2007 Commonwealth Writers' Prize winners, Shaun Johnson and Maxine Case, among others.

Regional Winners

Africa

Best Book: Karen King-Aribisala (Nigeria) The Hangman's Game Peepal Tree Press
Best First Book: Sade Adeniran (Nigeria) Imagine This SW Books

Canada and Caribbean

Best Book: Lawrence Hill (Canada) The Book of Negroes HarperCollins Publishers
Best First Book: C.S. Richardson (Canada) The End of the Alphabet Doubleday Canada

Europe and South Asia

Best Book: Indra Sinha (India) Animal's People Simon and Schuster
Best First Book: Tahmima Anam (Bangladesh) A Golden Age John Murray Publishers

South East Asia and South Pacific

Best Book: Steven Carroll (Australia) The Time We Have Taken HarperCollins Publishers
Best First Book: Karen Foxlee (Australia) The Anatomy of Wings University of Queensland Press

For further information about the Franschhoek Literary Festival visit http://www.flf.co.za/

****

Notes to Editors

1. The Commonwealth Writers' Prize, established in 1987, is sponsored and administered by the Commonwealth Foundation with the support of the Macquarie Group Foundation. The Commonwealth Foundation is an intergovernmental body working to help civil society organisations promote democracy, development and cultural understanding in Commonwealth countries.

2. The Macquarie Group Foundation is one of Australia's leading philanthropic foundations, contributing approximately A$15 million to more than 500 community organisations in the year to 31 March 2008. It is the philanthropic arm of Macquarie Group Limited, which provides investment banking, commercial banking and selected retail financial services throughout the world.

Every year, prizes are given for the Best Book and Best First Book, valued at £1,000, in each of the four Commonwealth Regions: Africa, Canada and the Caribbean, Europe and South Asia, South East Asia and the South Pacific. From these regions, the overall winner for the Best Book and Best First Book prizes are chosen.

The 2008 judges are:

Africa

Professor Arthur Gakwandi (Uganda) - Chairperson
Dr. Olutoyin Bimpe Jegede (Nigeria)
Maureen Isaacson (South Africa)

Canada and the Caribbean

Dr. Michael Bucknor (Jamaica) - Chairperson
Dr Antonia MacDonald-Smythe (Grenada)
D. Y. Béchard (Canada)

Europe and South Asia

Professor Makarand Paranjape (India) - Chairperson
Professor Neloufer de Mel (Sri Lanka)
Donna Daley-Clarke (UK)

South East Asia and South Pacific

Dr. Christine Prentice (New Zealand) - Chairperson
Professor Dennis Haskell (Australia)
Professor Chitra Sankaran (Singapore)

4. The Franschhoek Literary Festival runs from 16th to 18th May 2008. For further information about the Franschhoek Literary Festival visit http://www.flf.co.za/

5. The Head of the Commonwealth, HM Queen Elizabeth II, has in the past graciously invited the Best Book Winner for an audience in London.

6. The £10,000 Best Book Prize 2007 was awarded to New Zealand writer Lloyd Jones for Mister Pip. The Best First Book Prize 2007 of £5,000 went to Canadian writer D. Y. Béchard for Vandal Love.

For further information about the Prize: http://www.commonwealthfoundation.com/culturediversity/writersprize/

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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