Jamaican wins Commonwealth Best Book Award
Accra, March 30, GNA - English-born Jamaican Andrea Levy, has won the Best Book Award of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize 2005 for her book Small Island (Review, UK). Professor Guido de Marco, Chairman of the Commonwealth Foundation, announced the winners. Andrea Levy, who lives and works in London, was born in England to Jamaican parents, a statement issued in Accra on Wednesday said. She is the author of a number of critically acclaimed novels. Her prize is 10,000 pounds. The statement said the Chairperson of the five-person Pan-Commonwealth Judging Panel, Poet and Literary Critic, Professor Daniel Massa was quoted as saying on behalf of the Jury: "This book brilliantly juxtaposes the problems of cultural locations that are inextricably enmeshed in the history and politics of the colonial and post-colonial experiences of the West Indies, England and even India."
He said: "Andrea Levy's novel skilfully depicts the politics and stresses of race relations in a global environment of shrinking borders and developing cultural identities. "However, the excellence of Small Island lies not only with its thematic issues that are represented with insight and sensitivity, but also in Andrea Levy's consummate narrative skills in blending multiple voices in a framework resonant with humour, irony, understanding and a lot of fun." The statement said Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie from Nigeria won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize 2005 Best First Book prize worth 3,000 pounds for Purple Hibiscus (Fourth Estate, UK). Describing the book, Daniel Massa said, "Chimamanda Adichie's work effectively portrays the cutting effect of the twin legacy of Colonialism, Evangelical Catholicism and a weak political infrastructure, at a time when Nigeria seemed to be falling apart under the pressures of a military coup. This is an impressive first novel that transcends national relevance." The Commonwealth Writers' Prize established in 1987 is one of the most important literary prizes in the world. To be eligible, the authors must be citizens of one of the Commonwealth's 53 member countries. It is financed and sponsored by the Commonwealth Foundation, an inter-governmental organisation funded by the Commonwealth governments to support civil society across the Commonwealth.