Zimbabwean author Tsitsi Dangarembga becomes first black woman to win prestigious German book award
Germany’s publishers' and booksellers' association has awarded the Zimbabwean author, playwright and filmmaker Tsitsi Dangarembga the German Book Trade's 2021 Peace Prize.
Dangarembga, is the first black woman to win the prize, which comes with a €25,000 prize (about R425,000) and has been awarded since 1950. The honour’s key criterion is “a personality who has made an important contribution to peace, humanity and understanding between people”.
Dangarembga’s work has been described as having made her a prominent African literary voice.
The jury said Dangarembga’s work “has long since complemented her artistic work with a rigorous commitment to fostering creative industries in her home country and, in particular, opening up culture to female creators”.
“At the same time, she has fought tirelessly for civil liberties and political change in Zimbabwe. Her most recent peaceful protest is aimed at corruption, and she has already faced prosecution by the government for her efforts,” the jury said.
Dangarembga joins the ranks of author and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood and Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado as winners of the prize.
Her works include the award-winning trilogy, Nervous Conditions, which was followed by The Book of Not and This Mournable Body. Dangarembga also directed her own documentaries and feature films, including Everyone's Child, which was the first feature film directed by a black Zimbabwean woman.
Last year, Dangarembga was arrested for taking part in protests against the government, and her trial has been delayed repeatedly.
She has also been awarded the PEN Pinter Prize 2021 and the 2021PEN International Award for Freedom of Expression and shortlisted for the 2020 Man Booker Prize. Dangarembga will receive the award for the Peace Prize of the Germany Book Trade on October 24, in Frankfurt.