18 May 2009

2009 Commonwealth Writers' Prize

Australian Christos Tsiolkas has won this year's Commonwealth Writers' Prize for his novel The Slap. The Prize, which began in 1987, aims "to promote new voices, reward achievement, encourage wider readership and greater literacy, thereby increasing appreciation of different cultures and building understanding between cultures."

The judges described the winner of the Best Book as:
A controversial and daring novel, The Slap uses the iconic scene of a suburban Australian barbecue to examine identities and personal relationships in a multicultural society. Offering points of view from eight different characters, it taps into universal tensions and dilemmas around family life and child-rearing. This book is sure to challenge readers and provoke debate.

The award for Best First Book went to Mohammed Hanif for A Case of Exploding Mangoes which the judges described as follows:
Standing out in a strong field, this riveting debut novel makes Mohammed Hanif Pakistan's first winner of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. A tour de force, this fast-paced political intrigue merges fact and fiction to provide a startling interrogation of dictatorship, religious fundamentalism and abuse of power. A trenchant satire, tender and funny, it will long live on in readers' minds.