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Two African writers make prestigious literary award shortlist

Thursday September 16, 2021

Somali novelist Nadifa Mohamed and South African author Damon Galgut are among the six shortlisted authors for the 2021 Booker Prize - a top literary award.

Mohamed's book, The Fortune Men, is set in the docks of the Welsh capital, Cardiff, in the aftermath of World War Two.

It fictionalises the story of Mahmood Mattan, a real Somali sailor who was wrongly accused of murder.

"This is a story about the past that has great significance for the present," said judging chair Maya Jasanoff.

The Promise, by Galgut, follows a white family over the decades from pre- to post-Apartheid.

"The ultimate question that the novel asks is, is justice - true justice - possible in this world?" Booker panelist Chigozie Obioma said.

If it is, then what might that look like?"

This is the second year that two African authors made the shortlist.

In 2020 works by Zimbabwean Tsitsi Dangarembga and Ethiopian-American Maaza Mengiste were nominated. But the prize was won by British writer Douglas Stuart.


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