Tsitsi Dangarembga

Tsitsi Dangarembga’s This Mournable Body is on the shortlist for the St Francis College Literary Prize 2019 announced on August 15, 2019.

The St Francis College Literary Prize is a biennial award recognising outstanding fiction by writers in the middle stages of their careers. The prize worth US$50,000 has been won by Aleksandar Hemon (2009), Jonathan Dee (2011), David Vann (2013), Maud Casey (2015), and Dana Spiotta (2017). It was founded by professors Dr Ian Maloney and Dr Timothy Houlihan at the Brooklyn, USA based St Francis College in 2009.

The prize this year is being judged by a three-person panel of its founder Dr Ian Maloney, writer and publisher Chris Abani, and novelist Kate Christensen. The finalists from the 184 entries submitted are;

  • Gun Love by Jennifer Clement.
  • This Mournable Body by Tsitsi Dangarembga.
  • Where The Dead Sit Talking by Brandon Hobson.
  • The Dark Dark by Samantha Hunt.
  • The Line That Held Us by David Joy.
  • New People by Danzy Senna.

Speaking about the finalists, Dr Ian Maloney said, “we had quite a number of worthy candidates in the submissions we received. I commend this excellent and engaged jury for selecting a diverse, innovative, and powerful group of finalists, who are all worthy of this recognition. I can’t wait to see who the jury finally decides upon because each one of these books packs a punch and is worthy of the award.”

This Mournable Body by Tsitsi Dangarembga is the third in the novel trilogy that started with the universally acclaimed Nervous Conditions in 1988 followed by The Book of Note in 2006. The book which launched last year follows Tambudzai the protagonist we have been following since the 1980s.

Tsitsi Dangarembga on learning of her nomination tweeted, “it’s an honour to be a finalist in this competition. I’m so grateful to the judges and all the people who gave so much to make THIS MOURNABLE BODY what it is. Wish me good fortune, folks!”

Update: The winner announced on September 21 was Samantha Hunt.