Outstanding news, this– ‘African Booker’ shortlist crosses continent:

The five shortlisted writers for this year’s Caine prize for African Writing cover all four corners of the continent, from Morocco to South Africa, Kenya to Nigeria. Unusually for a mixed prize, the list also features just one man.


Starting at the top of the continent, Laila Lalami is a Moroccan-born author who has been nominated for The Fanatic, a chapter from her novel Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits. The book tells of four Moroccans who cross the straits of Gibraltar on a lifeboat in order to emigrate to Spain. According to Lalami, who now lives in Oregon and is the editor of the literary blog Moorishgirl.com, the story was inspired by an article she read in Le Monde in 2001 about 15 Moroccan immigrants who drowned while crossing the straits of Gibraltar in a fishing boat.

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