Two African authors shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize

Two African authors including Zimbabwean Tsitsi Dangarembga and Ethiopian-American Maaza Mengiste have both made the six-book shortlist for the prestigious Booker Prize.

The development was announced on Tuesday, September 15, via the organisation’s Twitter account.


According to the announcement, the winner, who will receive $64,000 (£50,000), will be announced on 17 November.


Dangarembga’s novel, This Mournable Body is a sequel to her 1988 book Nervous Conditions, which has since become a classic, and continues the story of Tambu.


Goodreads describes this book as a searing novel about the obstacles facing women in Zimbabwe, by one of the country’s most notable authors.

Anxious about her prospects after leaving a stagnant job, Tambudzai finds herself living in a run-down youth hostel in downtown Harare. For reasons that include her grim financial prospects and her age, she moves to a widow’s boarding house and eventually finds work as a biology teacher.

But at every turn in her attempt to make a life for herself, she is faced with a fresh humiliation, until the painful contrast between the future she imagined and her daily reality ultimately drives her to a breaking point.

In the wake of the noble recognition, Dangarembga, on her Twitter page said she was "overwhelmed and delighted" by the nomination:

Also shortlisted is Mengiste’s The Shadow King which focuses on the life of an orphan as Italy's wartime fascist dictator Benito Mussolini's forces threaten to invade Ethiopia.

"I don't know what to say. OH MY GOD!" she tweeted in response to the news that she was shortlisted.

Last year, British-Nigerian writer Bernadine Evaristo became the first black woman to win the prize for her book Girl, Woman, Other.

Previous African winners include Nadine Gordimer, JM Coetzee and Ben Okri.

The other books shortlisted for this year's award are: The New Wilderness by Diane Cook, Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi, Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart, Real Life by Brandon Taylor.

Any book written in English and published in Britain is eligible for the award.

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