Khadija Abdalla Bajaber won the inaugural Graywolf Press Africa Prize, which is awarded for a first novel manuscript by an African author primarily residing in Africa. Her book, The House of Rust, was chosen from nearly 200 submissions by judge author A. Igoni Barrett in conjunction with the Graywolf editors. Bajaber, who lives in Mombasa, Kenya, will receive a $12,000 advance. In addition, 66th&2nd will publish The House of Rust in Italy, a partnership that will continue with the Graywolf Press Africa Prize. Publication is scheduled for 2020.
In his judge's statement, Barrett praised The House of Rust as "an exhilarating journey into the imagination of an author for whom the fantastic is not only written about, it is performed on the page. Khadija Abdalla Bajaber has infused new life into the age-old story of adventure on the high seas--with this heroic first novel she has struck deep into that mythic realm explored by everyone from Homer to Hemingway.... Everything in this story sparkles: the fierceness of the narrative voice, the unimpeachable dramatic timing, the sumptuous imagery, the insightful characterization, the spirited wordplay, the honed wisdom of the dialogue, the bold imagination. Everywhere in this story is evidence of a mind that understands that we read not only to see other worlds or lives, but to feel them."
Finalists have been unveiled for this year's €100,000 (about $122,415) International Dublin Literary Award, which "aims to promote excellence in world literature" by honoring a novel written in English or translated into English. The prize is sponsored by Dublin City Council and managed by Dublin City Libraries. The winner will be named June 13. The shortlisted titles are:
Baba Dunja's Last Love by Alina Bronsky (Ukrainian/German), translated from the German by Tim Mohr
The Transmigration of Bodies by Yuri Herrera (Mexican), translated from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman
The Unseen by Roy Jacobsen (Norwegian), translated from Norwegian by Don Bartlett and Don Shaw
Human Acts by Han Kang (South Korean), translated from Korean by Deborah Smith
The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride (Irish)
Solar Bones by Mike McCormack (Irish)
Distant Light by Antonio Moresco (Italian), translated from Italian by Richard Dixon
Ladivine by Marie Ndiaye (French), translated from French by Jordan Stump
The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso (South African/Nigerian/Barbadian)
My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout (American)