By Kenechi Uzor—
The literary scene was abuzz last week with the release of The Man Booker Prize 2015 long list. We are particularly happy that Chigozie Obioma’s novel, The Fishermen made the list. A reminder from The Man Booker website: “The Man Booker Prize promotes the finest in fiction by rewarding the very best book of the year. The prize is the world’s most important literary award and has the power to transform the fortunes of authors and publishers.” For balance, read Thomas Flynn’s 2013 article on the 12 Biggest Booker Prize controversies.
Why are literary awards important? If this 2011 article doesn’t suffice, support it with this and this or this. Still on the significance of literary awards, Chigozie Obioma just made the shortlist of the FT/OppenheimerFunds Emerging Voices Awards, an award Ishtiyaq Shukri had rejected here as an insult because it depicts African writers/writing as “fledgling”, “embryonic” in comparison with writers/writing from the “developed” world.
The Fishermen is Obioma’s debut. Read the book’s review here and here or here, and enjoy his interviews here and here. But if you read anything from this writer, make it his excellent essay on The Millions, the Audacity of Prose. Obioma, quoting Achebe in the essay writes that “no one be fooled by the fact that we write in English, for we intend to do unheard-of things with it.” Great unheard-of things are expected from Chigozie Obioma.
Kenechi Uzor is Saraba Magazine’s Web Editor
Photo credit: HamiltonStyle.org