The race to win the coveted titles of Best Book and Best First Book in the 2010 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize has begun. It was launched at the Jaipur Literary Festival where competitors learnt that the winners of the 24th year of the prize will be announced in Delhi, India on 12 April.
The final programme, starting on 7 April in Delhi, will bring together the eight finalists from the different regions and their corresponding judges for a celebration of literature which will include discussions with the authors, readings and community and public events. The final round of judging will take place in Delhi before the winners of the two categories of Overall Best Book and Best First Book are announced. The Best First Book winner claims £5,000 while the writer of the Best Book wins £10,000.
The Prize is presented by the Commonwealth Foundation with support from the Macquarie Group Foundation and the winning ceremony is held in a different country each year.
India has embraced the Commonwealth in 2010 as it looks forward to also hosting October’s Commonwealth Games.
The Director of the Commonwealth Foundation, Mark Collins, said, “The final programme of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize comes in an important year for India at the heart of the modern Commonwealth. The Prize fires the starting pistol for a year of cultural celebration that will culminate in the Commonwealth Games. October will see the top athletes in the world going head to head on the racetrack, but in April, the finest literary talent of our two billion people will be equally as keen to take first prize.”
Key literary figures and previous prize winners will also be present during the final stages of the competition. Acclaimed writer Vikram Chandra, who won the Best First Book in 1996 for Red Earth, Pouring Rain, and has since been the subject of bidding wars between several international publishers, said of the Prize, “The Commonwealth Writers’ Prize is coming back to India, bringing conversations, arguments, controversy, great books and a feast of literary pleasures.”
David Clarke, Chairman of the Macquarie Group Foundation, the main sponsor of the Prize, commented: “In the fifth year of Macquarie Group Foundation’s support of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, we are very pleased the winner will be announced in India, a country with an extremely distinguished literary history. Past entrants from all over the Commonwealth have exhibited consistently high standards and we’re sure 2010 will continue to present works of lasting and world-class merit. ”
The Commonwealth Writers’ Prize aims to reward the best of Commonwealth fiction written in English, by both established and new writers, and to take their works to a global audience. Winning the prize means not only greater commercial success for the winners, but reaching wider audiences around the world.
2008 Best First Book winner, Tahmima Anam from Bangladesh, commented, “I am immensely grateful to the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, which has given me a kind of global exposure I could only have dreamed of. It is a great honour for a first-time novelist, and I am especially grateful that the story of the Bangladesh War has now, thanks to the prize, been read all over the world.”
For further information about the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize: