Thursday, February 14, 2008

2008 Commonwealth Writers Prize: Regional Shortlists

THE REGIONAL SHORTLISTS for the 2008 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (for Best Book and Best First Book) was announced on Friday, February 13, 2008. And as always, there were a lot of surprises; this year there were many lesser-known authors who made the cut. From a longlist of some 320 books, the following books have been shortlisted according to region:

Best Book
1. End (Jacana Media) / Barbara Adair (South Africa)
2. Waiting for Maria (Spectrum Books) / Ifeoma Chinwuba (Nigeria)
3. Flyleaf (Penguin Books SA) / Finuala Dowling (South Africa)
4. The Hangman’s Game (Peepal Tree Press) / Karen King-Aribisala (Nigeria) (my choice)
5. Quarter Tones (Harvill Secker) / Susan Mann (South Africa)
6. Cion (Penguin Books SA) / Zakes Mda (South Africa)

Best First Book
1. Imagine (This SW Books) / Sade Adeniran (Nigeria) (my choice)
2. Blood Kin (Penguin Books SA) / Ceridwen Dovey (South Africa)
3. Reading the Ceiling (Simon & Schuster) / Dayo Forster (Gambia)
4. A Fragile Hope (Salt Publishing) / Ken Kamoche (Kenya)
5. The Story of Maha (South Africa Kwela Books) / Sumayya Lee (South Africa)
6. No Man’s Land (Umuzi) / Carel van der Merwe (South Africa)

Best Book
1. The Outlander (House of Anansi Press) / Gil Adamson (Canada)
2. The Rainmaker’s Mistake (New Beacon Books) / Erna Brodber (Jamaica)
3. The Book of Negroes (HarperCollins) / Lawrence Hill (Canada) (my choice)
4. The Culprits (Random House Canada) / Robert Hough (Canada)
5. Remembering the Bones (HarperCollins) / Frances Itani (Canada)
6. Divisadero (Bloomsbury) / Michael Ondaatje (Canada)

Best First Book
1. Soucouyant (Arsenal Pulp Press) / David Chariandy (Canada)
2. Town House (HarperCollins) / Tish Cohen (Canada)
3. Post (Thistledown Press) / Arley McNeney (Canada)
4. The Silent Raga (Douglas & McIntyre) / Ameen Merchant (Canada)
5. The End of the Alphabet (Doubleday Canada) / C.S. Richardson (Canada) (my choice)
6. Bang Crunch (Knopf Canada) / Neil Smith (Canada)

Best Book
1. The Solitude of Emperors (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) / David Davidar (India)
2. The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Penguin Viking) / Mohsin Hamid (Pakistan)
3. Girl and a River (Penguin Books India) / Usha K.R. (India)
4. My Revolutions (Hamish Hamilton) / Hari Kunzru (U.K.)
5. Secrets of the Sea (Harvill Secker) / Nicholas Shakespeare (U.K.)
6. Animal’s People (Simon & Schuster) / Indra Sinha (India) (my choice)

Best First Book
1. A Golden Age (John Murray) / Tahmima Anam (Bangladesh) (my choice)
2. Ishq and Mushq (Transworld) / Priya Basil (U.K.)
3. Tunnel Vision (Roli Books) / Shandana Minhas (U.K.)
4. What Was Lost (Tindal Street Press) / Catherine O’Flynn (U.K.)
5. Salt (Penguin Viking) / Jeremy Page (U.K.)
6. The Illumination of Merton Browne (Sceptre) / J.M. Shaw (U.K.)

Best Book Award
1. The Time We Have Taken (HarperCollins) / Steven Carroll (Australia) (my choice)
2. The Ghosts Child (Penguin Australia) / Sonya Hartnett (Australia)
3. The Crimes of Billy Fish (ABC Books) / Sarah Hopkins (Australia)
4. Burning In (Giramondo) / Mireille Juchau (Australia)
5. The Lost Dog (Allen & Unwin) / Michelle De Kretser (Australia)
6. Landscape of Farewell (Allen & Unwin) / Alex Miller (Australia)

Best First Book Award
1. The Zookeepers War (HarperCollins Australia) / Steven Conte (Australia)
2. The Anatomy of Wings (University of Queensland Press) / Karen Foxlee (Australia) (my choice)
3. The Orphan Gunner (Giramondo) / Sara Knox (Australia)
4. Nights in the Asylum (Picador) / Carol Lefevre (Australia)
5. The Edge of the World (Fremantle Press) / Marcella Polain (Australia)
6. Other Country (Allen & Unwin) / Stephen Scourfield (Australia)

The two regional winners will be announced on March 13, 2008 and will enter the final stage of the 2008 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize where they will compete with the six other regional winners


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