Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Mubanga Kalimamukwento becomes first African recipient of the Drue Heinz Prize

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Mubanga Kalimamukwento of Mounds View, Minnesota, was named the winner of the 2024 Drue Heinz Literature Prize, selected by Pitt Writing Program Director Angie Cruz. The University of Pittsburgh Press will publish Kalimamukwento’s collection of short stories, “Obligations to the Wounded,” on Oct. 8.

“These thematically linked stories deliver an intricate study of Zambian women living in both Zambia and abroad who are weighing their options of who to love, where to live, where to work,” said Cruz, associate professor and author of “How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water.” “The author, with a poet’s restraint, has written stories that deftly negotiate the challenges and tribulations women face when they feel the pressure and duty to yield to the will of family, community, customs, country and spiritual beliefs.”

“Obligations to the Wounded” employs proverbs and short stories rooted in Zambian languages, culture and place to examine the cost of womanhood through the voices of 12 women and girls The stories illustrate women’s burdens through the lens of religious expectation, migration, loss of language, death, intimate partner violence and racial discrimination.

“This is a prize I have been reading and entering for years, so a win is a kind of ‘Finally’ and ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you’ moment for me,” said Kalimamukwento.

A Zambian attorney and writer, Kalimamukwento is the winner the 2022 Tusculum Review Poetry Chapbook Contest (2022) selected by Carmen Giménez, the 2019 Dinaane Debut Fiction Award and the 2019 Kalemba Short Story Prize. Her work has also appeared or is forthcoming in adda, Aster(ix), Overland, the Red Rock Review, Menelique, on and elsewhere.

The Drue Heinz Literature Prize recognizes and supports writers of short fiction. The award is open to authors who have published a book-length collection of fiction or at least three short stories or novellas in commercial magazines or literary journals. Past winners include Stewart O’Nan, Elizabeth Graver, Caroline Kim, Leslie Pietrzyk, and Ramona Reeves.

Manuscripts are judged anonymously by nationally known writers. Past judges have included Robert Penn Warren, Joyce Carol Oates, Raymond Carver, Margaret Atwood, Russell Banks, Deesha Philyaw, and Joan Didion. Jane McCafferty is the managing editor for the Drue Heinz Prize.

Winners receive a cash prize of $15,000, publication by the University of Pittsburgh Press and support in the nationwide promotion of their book.

Source: Pittwire

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