‘This Mournable Body’ author, Tsitsi Dangarembga, wins PEN Pinter prize

Established in 2009, PEN Pinter prize is given in memory of Nobel-laureate playwright Harold Pinter

Tsitsi Dangarembga, the Booker-shortlisted Zimbabwean writer, has won the PEN Pinter Prize in 2021. The annual award is given to an author who, the website specifies, must have “a significant body of plays, poetry, essays, or fiction of outstanding literary merit, written in English.”

“I am grateful that my casting – in the words 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…I believe that the positive reception of literary works like mine helps to prove that we can unite around that which is positively human,” she was quoted as saying in The Guardian.

The Nervous Conditions author, who was arrested last year while she was protesting and taking a stand against corruption, was also shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize for her work, This Mournable Body.

“Through her trilogy of novels … she has charted the development of Zimbabwe from a British colony to an autocratic and troubled 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,” Claire Armitstead, English PEN trustee was quoted as saying.

Established in 2009, PEN Pinter prize is given in memory of Nobel-laureate playwright Harold Pinter. The website further states the writer must be a “resident in Britain, the Republic of Ireland, the Commonwealth or former Commonwealth 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 our societies’.”

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