The Malta Independent 3 October 2022, Monday
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Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Won by Andrea Levy

Malta Independent Monday, 11 April 2005, 00:00 Last update: about 18 years ago

Prof. Guido de Marco, chairman of the Commonwealth Foundation, declared the winners of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize 2005 during the European Aclals Triennial Conference dinner held at the SAS Radisson.

The Best Book Award has been won for Britain by Andrea Levy who will receive a prize cheque for Lm10,000. Andrea Levy, who lives and works in London, was born in England to Jamaican parents. She is the author of a number of critically acclaimed novels.

The chairperson of the five-person pan-Commonwealth judging panel, poet and literary critic, Prof. Daniel Massa said on behalf of the jury, “this book brilliantly juxtaposes the problems of cultural locations that are inextricably enmeshed in the history and politics of the colonial and post-colonial experiences of the West Indies, England and even India. Andrea Levy’s novel skillfully depicts the politics and stresses of race relations in a global environment of shrinking borders an developing cultural identities.

However, the excellence of Small Island lies not only with its thematic issues that are represented with insight and sensitivity, but also in Andrea Levy’s consummate narrative skills in blending multiple voices in a framework resonant with humour, irony, understanding and a lot of fun”.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, from Nigeria, won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize 2005 First Book prize worth Lm3,000 for Purple Hibiscus (Fourth Estate, London, UK). Describing the book, Daniel Massa said, “Chimamanda Adichie’s work effectively portrays the cutting effect of the twin legacy of colonialism, evangelical Catholicism and a weak political infrastructure, at a time when Nigeria seemed to be falling apart under the pressures of a military coup.

The novel moves smoothly and fluently to depict the sensibilities of young Kambili and her brother as they react to love, cultural dislocation, political oppression and domestic violence in their search for personal freedom. This is an impressive first novel that transcends national relevance”.

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