Lauri Kubuitsile. Image from Bookslive.co.za via Google.

Botswana’s Lauri Kubuitsile has been awarded the Best International Fiction Prize at the Sharja International Book Fair, for her novel The Scattering. Billed as “the world’s third largest book fair,” The Reading List reports that the Sharjah International Book Fair, which is in its 36th edition, saw “the participation of 1,650 publishing houses from 60 countries in an 11-day celebration of literature, knowledge and culture.”

Released in 2016, Kubuitsile’s The Scattering has been described by Tendai Huchu as an “ambitious, powerful and poignant historical novel.” Here is a description by its publishers Penguin Random House South Africa:

South-West Africa, 1904: When German colonial authorities issue an extermination order, the Herero are forced to flee into the desert and seek safety in British Bechuanaland. Tjipuka, a young Herero mother, escapes the massacre with her baby, but is captured and put to work in the death camps in Lüderitz. There she has to find the courage – and the will – to survive against all odds.

The Transvaal, 1899: Riette’s nursing ambitions are crushed when she is forced into marriage with an older neighbour. When he is taken captive and their farm is set ablaze during the Second Anglo–Boer War, she and his daughters must face the horrors of the British concentration camps.

Against the backdrop of southern Africa’s colonial wars at the dawn of the twentieth century, The Scattering traces the fates of two remarkable women whose paths cross after each has suffered the devastation and dislocation of war.

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Moving and intimate, Kubuitsile’s novel provides a fascinating glimpse into the indomitability of the human spirit.

Lauri Kubuitsile first came to our attention in 2011 when her short story, “In the Spirit of McPhineas Lata,” was shortlisted for the Caine Prize. She is the author of the short-story collection In the Spirit of McPhineas Lata and Other Stories, and is a recipient of the 2007 BTA/Anglo Platinum Short Story Competition, the Botswana Ministry of Youth and Culture’s Orange Botswerere Award for Creative Writing, and, on two occasions, the Golden Baobab Prize.

Congratulations to Lauri Kubuitsile.