Tsitsi Dangarembga, the Zimbabwean author of Nervous Conditions, was awarded the 2021 PEN Pinter prize last week. As a background, Dangarembga’s debut novel, Nervous Conditions, was the first novel published in English by a Black woman from Zimbabwe. Remember that before independence, Zimbabwe was known as Rhodesia, and was under white rule. Coincidentally, I just bought her final book in the trilogy “This Mournable Body” which was a finalist for the Man Booker prize last year. Dangarembga is an author, a playwright, and a filmmaker. She was also arrested last year. Her first novel was named by the BBC in 2018 as one of the top 100 books that have shaped the world. Excerpt below are from the Guardian. Please check out the article also on AfricaNews.
Author, who was arrested last year in Harare while protesting against corruption, is hailed by judges as a ‘voice of hope we all need to hear’
Tsitsi Dangarembga, the Booker-shortlisted Zimbabwean writer who was arrested last year in Harare while protesting against corruption, has been awarded the PEN Pinter prize, praised for her “ability to capture and communicate vital truths even amidst times of upheaval”.
The prize is given by free speech campaigners English PEN in memory of the Nobel laureate Harold Pinter. It goes to a writer of “outstanding literary merit” who, as Pinter put it in his Nobel speech, shows a “fierce intellectual determination … to define the real truth of our lives and our societies”. Previous winners include Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Margaret Atwood and Linton Kwesi Johnson.
Dangarembga is the author of Nervous Conditions, which she wrote when she was 25, and which was described by Doris Lessing as one of the most important novels of the 20th century. The story of a village girl called Tambudzai, it was followed by The Book of Not, about Tambu’s teenage years, and the Booker-shortlisted This Mournable Body, the third part of the trilogy, set in the postcolonial Zimbabwe of the 1990s. …
“I am grateful that my casting – in the words of Harold Pinter – an ‘unflinching, unswerving gaze’ upon my country and its society has resonated with many people across the globe and this year with the jury of the PEN Pinter prize,” said Dangarembga. “I believe that the positive reception of literary works like mine helps to prove that we can unite around that which is positively human.”