Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Tale of Child Soldiers Wins Llewellyn Rhys Award

The John Llewellyn Rhys award for debut writers was won by Uzodinma Iweala's for his Beasts of No Nation, described by Michelle Pauli in the Guardian as:
a brutal but surprisingly poetic novel about an African child soldier ... an intensely moving story, as well as a horrifying one, all the more so for tackling an issue of our time ...
The issue of course being child soldiers and as the Pauli points, Save the Children estimates that around 300,000 children around the world are currently fighting in wars.

Nigerian born Iweala is just 23. He grew up in the US and studied at Harvard where his novel grew out of the thesis he was writing. His mum Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is Nigeria's finance minister (and hailed as "a great reformer").

You can read with him about his writing and about his views on Africa in this very interesting interview from the Morning News.

And as this article from the Herald Tribune points out, there is a whole new generation of Nigerian writers taking the literary world by storm. Some names to watch out for Sefi Atta, Helen Oyeyemi, Chris Abani, Segun Afolabi, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

All of which makes me very happy. Not least because a part of my heart still lives in Nigeria.

Related Posts:

Shakespeare the African (15/3/05)
Read and Become Wise (11/5/05)

11 comments:

Burhan said...

This recent interview on Leonard Lopate (probably one of the best radio podcast shows around, he also interviews a lot of writers) about the legality of recruiting child soldiers for war might be relevant:

http://www.wnyc.org/shows/lopate/episodes/2006/10/17

lil ms d said...

i have that book!!! now am waiting for dave eggers what is the what. same topic but diff angle.

sorry. premenstrual today. had to brag that i have the book. i lead a pitiful life.

lainieyeoh said...

ahhh. very very interesting. but, probably wont be able to afford books for months, and with that, probably have to avoid warehouse sales too (those kill me more than a quick pop into kino) :/

bibliobibuli said...

ms d - you can brag. you were the first person to tell me how good this is.

lainie - if i can find this and buy this and read this, i'll lend it to you.

Anonymous said...

Blah.. PMS is an excuse to be mean :) Right lend it to her and not to me :P LOL :) anyway doesn't it seem that all children (male children anyway) fight ? school is a battleground. I think there's nothing more inclined to casual violence than your average teenager :)

bibliobibuli said...

anon - you're just jealous that you can't claim pms every time you feel grouchy :-P

Anonymous said...

Ha.. I don't need PMS to be grouchy :P

Anonymous said...

Oh, and hey, why doesn't anyone write about the "Nigerian scam" issue ? seems to me that they're well-placed enough to write about it.

bibliobibuli said...

you got pms? haha

i feel sad that nigerians are only really known here as scammers. maybe there's a need to redress the balance with some literature ...

Lotus Reads said...

Fantastic news and a well deserved award, too ! I have "Beasts of No Nation" here, I'm going to get to it just as soon as I finish "Poets and Pahlevans" by Canadian author Marcello Di Cintio.

Anonymous said...

Well.. they're known all over the world principally as scammers because of the emails. Yeah, why aren't they writing about it ? what causes it, why does it happen ? or even use it as a base for a story ? guy sends scam email, girl responds, guy wants to scam girl but falls in love with her instead, insert moral and ethical dilemma (plus added love interest) here. Might work too.

Adults want children to "fight their wars" all the time. No one cares about the wars where you can't see the wounds.