Zimbabwean author Farai Mudzingwa’s Avenues by Train has just been longlisted for the 2024 Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses!

The Republic of Consciousness supports, promotes and celebrates small presses in the UK and Ireland. Founded in 2017, the prize has awarded over £100,000 to publishers and authors. This year’s prize celebrates fiction in translation.

The Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses is not traditional literary prize, which awards money to the writer of the winning work. Instead, their aim is to support a range of publishers for their ongoing commitment to work of high literary merit. The prize money goes to the publishing press instead and the money awarded is used to support a difficult financial decision – a new commission, a second print run, etc.

Mudzingwa’s book was published by Cassava Republic Press last year. Check out our cover feature of the book here.

Avenues by Train follows Jedza, an electrician in newly independent Zimbabwe who is haunted by a childhood train accident and believs in spiritual forces controlling his life. Leaving Miner’s Drift for Harare, he discovers escaping his past is more challenging than anticipated. Mudzingwa weaves an account of personal strife and finding relief against the backdrop of Zimbabwe’s political and social history, shining a light on the effects of colonialism on individual lives.

The prize judges praised the novel extensively, saying: “An assured debut. It addresses the objective truth of these lives but also deftly conveys the character’s subjective understanding of the forces that influence their fate.”

Farai Mudzingwa’s fiction has been published by Kwani?, Writivism, Weaver Press, Enkare Review, Short Story Day Africa, and Kalahari Review. His non-fiction appears in Contemporary&, The New Humanitarian, Chimurenga Chronic, The Johannesburg Review of Books, Africa Is A Country, The Africa Report, This Is Africa, Mail & Guardian, TRT World and New Frame.

The shortlist will be announced on March 11. The winner will be announced at the award ceremony held at Foyles, Charing Cross Road on April 17.

Congrats to Mudzingwa and Cassava Republic!