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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.

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.

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, an academic, and Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review ("Mulumba," 2016), Transition ("A Tenderer Blessing," 2015), and in an anthology of the Gerald Kraak Award ("You Sing of a Longing," 2017), for which he was shortlisted. His work has further been shortlisted for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship in 2016 and a Pushcart Prize in 2015. His conversations appear in Africa in Dialogue, Bakwa, SPRINNG, and Dwartonline. He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of themed e-anthologies of writing and visual art exploring different aspects of Nigerianness. The first, Enter Naija: The Book of Places (October 2016), focuses on Nigerian cities. The second, Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (June 2017), focuses on professions in Nigeria. He studied history and literature at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is currently completing a postgraduate programme in African Studies, and teaches English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. When bored, he just Googles Rihanna.

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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