The judges of the 2011 Orange Prize, yesterday, announced the shortlist for the prize. Although we are unhappy that Lola Shoneyin didn’t make the shortlist, we congratulate Aminatta Forna, the only African who did.
Aminatta Forna was born in Scotland in 1964 to a Scottish mother and a Sierra Leonean doctor father. Her first book, The Devil that Danced on the Water, a critically acclaimed memoir that describes her search for his father’s killers, was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize 2003. Her novel, Ancestor Stones was winner of the 2008 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, the Liberaturpreis in Germany, nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and selected by the Washington Post as one of the most important books of 2006. In 2007, Vanity Fair named Aminatta as one of Africa’s most promising new writers. A broadcast journalist with vast experience, Aminatta insists that she isn’t a ‘mixed-race writer’.
Her novel, The Memory of Love, which was shortlisted for this prize, recently won the Africa Best Book category of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize.
Other writers who made the shortlist are
- Emma Donoghue (Irish) – Room; Picador
- Emma Henderson (British) – Grace Williams Says it Loud; Sceptre
- Nicole Krauss (American) – Great House; Viking
- Téa Obreht (Serbian/American) – The Tiger’s Wife; Weidenfeld & Nicolson
- Kathleen Winter (Canadian) – Annabel; Jonathan Cape
You can read an excerpt of Aminatta’s The Memory of Love here.
We wish them all the best and we hope Africa gets the prize!