Tsitsi Dangarembga Is The First Black Woman To Win The Prestigious Peace Prize of the German Book Trade

Image Credit:Hannah Mentz

Tsitsi Dangarembga was announced on Monday as this year's winner of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, a prestigious prize for a body of work that has made her a prominent African literary voice. The award which is endowed with 25,000 euros ($29,700) and has been awarded since 1950. 

Dangarembga is the first Black woman to win the prize and will receive it in Frankfurt on Oct. 24.

“Tsitsi Dangarembga is not just one of Zimbabwe's most important artists but also a widely audible voice of Africa in contemporary literature.” said the Jury in a statement

She has also been awarded the PEN Pinter Prize and the PEN International Award for Freedom of Expression this year.

Tsitsi Dangarembga’s debut novel “Nervous Conditions” was published in 1988. Despite her struggle to get it published as a black woman, it was hailed as one of the 20th century’s most significant works of African literature

"I wrote Nervous Conditions while I was a student at the University of Zimbabwe. I couldn’t get published in Zimbabwe, which at the time was publishing men, and I had no access to publishing houses. I had heard that the Women’s Press in England published Alice Walker, so I mailed my only copy of my manuscript to them. They didn’t respond, and years later when I went to England for work, I visited their offices in London. They had my manuscript in the basement and hadn’t read it. Because I was there, they agreed to read it, and the very next day said they wanted to publish it. So it was four years from writing to publishing." She told The New York Times

Mungwadzi Godwin

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