Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Winners

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On April 12th the winners of the 2010 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize were announced.

Rana Dasgupta won the Best Book prize for Solo and Glenda Guest won the Best First Book prize for Siddon Rock. The Best First Book winner claims £5,000 while the writer of the Best Book wins £10,000.

According to the Commonwealth Foundation judges, Solo was chosen as Best Book for its innovation, ambition, courage and effortlessly elegant prose. “A remarkable novel of two halves, this is a book that takes risks and examines the places where grim reality and fantastical daydreams merge, diverge, and feed off each other. Solo, the judges concluded, is a tour de force, breathtaking in its boldness and narrative panache.”

Rana Dasgupta was born in the UK butnow lives in New Delhi. His first book, Tokyo Cancelled, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize previously.

The judges praised Siddon Rock and awarded it the Best First Book prize for its rich cast of odd characters and blending of the everyday with fantasy. Behind every door in town lurk secret desires and wild imaginings. The novel, they concluded, deftly delves into the hauntings and disjunctions of settler Australia, and in its fable-like quality captures the laconic mannerisms of the Australian outback.

Glenda Guest grew up in Western Australia and currently lives in our own Blue Mountains. She teaches at Macquarie and Griffith Gold Coast universities.

The finalists for Best Book and Best First Book in each of the four Commonwealth Regions: Africa, Caribbean and Canada, South Asia and Europe, and South East Asia and Pacific were:

Africa
Adaobi Tricia Nwaubeni from Nigeria won Best First Book for I Do Not Come to You by Chance
Marié Heese from South Africa won Best Book for The Double Crown

Caribbean and Canada
Shandi Mitchell from Canada won Best First Book for Under This Unbroken Sky
Michael Crummey from Canada won Best Book for Galore

South Asia and Europe
Daniyal Mueenuddin from Pakistan won Best First Book for In Other Rooms, Other Wonders
Rana Dasgupta from the UK won Best Book for Solo

South East Asia and Pacific
Glenda Guest from Australia won Best First Book for Siddon Rock
Albert Wendt from Samoa won Best Book for The Adventures of Vela

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