English PEN has awarded Tsitsi Dangarembga the 2021 PEN Pinter Prize, which honors the author of a significant body of literary work who, in the words of Harold Pinter’s Nobel speech, casts an “unflinching, unswerving” gaze upon the world, and shows a “fierce intellectual determination . . . to define the real truth of our lives and societies.” Dangarembga joins previous winners like Tom Stoppard, Margaret Atwood and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Judge Claire Armitstead, an English PEN trustee, lauded Dangaremga’s “unusual and exemplary career as a writer, filmmaker and activist.” Said Armitstead, “Through her trilogy of novels, starting with Nervous Conditions in 1988 and culminating 30 years later in her fine, Booker-shortlisted This Mournable Body, she has charted the development of Zimbabwe from a British colony to an autocratic and trouble-free state. In doing so, she has held a magnifying glass up to the struggles of ordinary people, in so many parts of the world, to lead good lives in the increasingly corrupt and fractured new world order. Hers is a voice we all need to hear and heed.”
Said Dangarembga, “I am grateful that my casting—in the word of Harold Pinter—an ‘unflinching, unswerving gaze’ upon my country and its society has resonated with many people across the globe and this year with the jury of the PEN Pinter Prize 2021. I believe that the positive reception of literary works like mine helps to prove that we can unite around that which is positively human.”
Dangarembga will receive her award at a ceremony on October 11th, where she will deliver a keynote address.
[via The Bookseller]