Chigozie Obioma’s An Orchestra of Minorities (2019) has been awarded the International Literature Award by Germany’s House of World Cultures and Stiftung Elementarteilchen.

The International Literature Prize recognizes an outstanding work of prose translated into German for the first time. The winning author and translator are recognized. The author wins a cash prize of 20,000 euros and the translator 15,000 euros.

Since it’s inception in 2009, the International Literature Award (Internationaler Literaturpreis) has typically been awarded to one novel. This year the jury decided to honor all six novels on the shortlist. Reflecting on the cultural and financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the jury decided that this was the year to support the work of multiple writers and translators from around the world.

The cash prize will be divided among 6 authors and 6 translators.

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Daniel Medin of the seven-member jury describes An Orchestra of Minorities as a novel “of rare ambition and breadth that questions the freedom of the human will with relentless precision.”

Obioma is the third African author to be honored with the International Literature Award. Teju Cole won the award in 2013 for Open City (translated by Christine Richter-Nilsson) and Fiston Mwanza Mujila won in 2017 for Tram 83 (translated by Katharina Meyer and Lena Müller).

Obioma was thrilled by the news, which he shared on Instagram, with gratitude to his translator, Nicholai von Schweder.

Congratulations to Chigozie Obioma and Nicholai von Schweder!

 

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