Tsitsi Dangarembga, the Booker-shortlisted Zimbabwean playwright who was arrested last year in Harare for protesting against corruption in the country has been awarded the PEN Pinter prize 2021.
Dangarembga was arrested in 2020 for taking part in anti-government protests. Praised for her “ability to capture and communicate vital truths even amidst times of upheaval”, she won the prize after judges described her work as a “magnifying glass to the struggles of ordinary people”.
She joins the ranks of Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood and Jamaican poet and activist Linton Kwesi Johnson, who have been similarly awarded.
Dangarembga said Tuesday, “I am delighted that my literary work continues to have impact. In today’s troubled world, I hope that impact is towards peace and ways of living well together”
Dangarembga’s This Mournable Body, the third in a trilogy of novels, was shortlisted for the 2020 International Booker Prize.
Dangarembga is expected to announce the co-winner of her prize in a keynote speech at a ceremony on 11 October. The co-winner is said to be an International Writer of Courage who is active “in defence of freedom of expression, often at great risk to their own safety and liberty”.