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Commonwealth book prize 2013: Regional winners

commonwealth-writers

The Commonwealth Book Prize is one of those interesting literary prizes that does not get a massive amount of publicity and recognition and yet it always features some interesting choices and often it singles out  writers who are definitely not considered main stream. If you are an eclectic reader and especially if you are interested in seeing what happens in English language literature outside of the major literary hubs this selection of five regional winners is definitely an intriguing list to peruse. The 2013 Regional winner of the Commonwealth Prize are:

sterile sky   Regional Winner, Africa Sterile Sky, E.E. Sule (Nigeria) Not much has been written about this novel yet. It is said that the story takes place in Kano, Nigeria and gives a reader a unique insight into modern life in northern Nigeria. Read more     island of the thousand mirrors Regional Winner, Asia Island of a Thousand Mirrors, Nayomi Munaweera (Sri Lanka) is set on the eve of Sri Lankan independence from British colonial rule. A young Sinhala boy, Nishan, enjoys the simple life of a fishing village where the idea of peace stretches infinitely ahead. In Colombo, the girl who will be his wife leads a privileged existence. Read more   death of bees bannerRegional Winner, Canada & Europe The Death of Bees, Lisa O’Donnell (United Kingdom), Today is Christmas Eve. Today is my birthday. Today I am fifteen. Today I buried my parents in the backyard. Neither of them were beloved. Written with fierce sympathy and beautiful precision, and told in alternating voices,The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell is an enchanting, grimly comic tale of lost souls who, unable to answer for themselves, can answer only for each other. Read more disposable peopleRegional Winner, Caribbean Disposable People, Ezekel Alan (Jamaica) This self-published novel was given a great review by The Jamaica Observer Newspaper which said: “The pain and passion in this freewheeling text is so palpable that it is hard to regard it as fiction. It reads like a memoir, a record of hurts and darkly humorous short stories woven together with diary entries and line drawings, redolent with clever raunchiness and with language that rivals a text by Anthony Winkler.” Read more the last thread Regional Winner, Pacific The Last Thread, Michael Sala (Australia)  The Last Thread is Michael Sala’s fascinating life in fiction. Reminiscent of the great autobiographical novels of JM Coetzee and Michael Ondaatje, The Last Thread is a beautifully crafted work from an exceptional new writer. Read more The overall winner, will be announced at Hay Festival UK on 31 May I would love to hear back if any of you have read any of these titles and if so would you recommend them to others? anna@thereadingroom.com