Scholastique Mukasonga

Scholastique Mukasonga’s Cockroaches is the running for the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes 2017. The book has been translated into English from the French by Jordan Stump.

U.S. newspaper the Los Angeles Times has awarded a set of annual book prizes since 1980. They have given prizes in many categories including biography, current interest, fiction, first, history, mystery/thriller, poetry, science and technology (category added in 1989), and young adult fiction. Some previous winners of this prize from Africa include Chigozie Obioma, NoViolet Bulawayo, Dinaw Mengestu, and Uzodinma Iweala. Further afield, the winners are just as impressive with names like Gabriel García Márquez, Milan Kundera, Thomas Keneally, J. K. Rowling writing as Robert Galbraith, and Terry Pratchett getting the nod.

The list for 2017 has been unveiled and it has an impressive list of writers that some might be familiar with in the running for the citation and $1,000 prize money. Some of the more well-known names to our literary scene are like including Zadie Smith for her novel Swing Time and Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich’s Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets.

One name is familiar to readers of this blog on that list; Scholastique Mukasonga. She is in the running for her debut publication Cockroaches a chronicle of the author’s childhood in the years leading up to the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The book which was translated into English by Jordan Stump is in the running for the Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose.

He is not an African but City of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World’s Largest Refugee Camp by Ben Rawlence is in the running Current Interest Category. The book talks about the Daadab camp in Kenya in the eyes of the refugees who live there.

The Los Angeles Times Book Prizes will be awarded on April 21, the evening before the L.A. Times Festival of Books begins on the campus of the University of Southern California.

Good luck Scholastique.