Novels by Zimbabwean Tsitsi Dangarembga and Ethiopian-American Maaza Mengiste have both made the six-book shortlist for the prestigious Booker Prize.
Dangarembga’s This Mournable Body is a sequel to her 1988 book Nervous Conditions, which has since become a classic, and continues the story of Tambu.
In a tweet, she said she was “overwhelmed and delighted” by the nomination:
I am overwhelmed. And delighted. And grateful to everybody who has been there for me on this road. 🙏🏾 https://t.co/ORzsCA4fOt
— Tsitsi Dangarembga (@efie41209591) September 15, 2020
Set in the 1930s, Mengiste’s The Shadow King focuses on the life of an orphan as Italy’s wartime fascist dictator Benito Mussolini’s forces threaten to invade Ethiopia.
“I don’t know what to say. OH MY GOD!” is what she tweeted in response to the news that she was shortlisted:
— Maaza Mengiste (@MaazaMengiste) September 15, 2020
Last year, British-Nigerian writer Bernadine Evaristo became the first black woman to win the prize for her book Girl, Woman, Other.
Previous African winners include Nadine Gordimer, JM Coetzee and Ben Okri.
The other books shortlisted for this year’s award are:
- The New Wilderness by Diane Cook
- Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi
- Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart
- Real Life by Brandon Taylor
The winner, who will receive $64,000 (£50,000), will be announced on 17 November.
Any book written in English and published in Britain is eligible for the award.