Mia Couto awarded Jan Michalski Prize for Literature

The 2020 Jan Michalski Prize for Literature has been awarded to Mia Couto for his trilogy As areias do imperador (Editorial Caminho, 2015-2017), translated in French from the Portuguese of Mozambique by Elisabeth Monteiro Rodrigues (Les sables de l’empereur, Éditions Métailié, 2020). The English version, Sands of the Emperor, translated by David Brookshaw, is available from World Editions (UK) and Farrar, Straus and Giroux (USA).

The jury hailed the “exceptional quality of the writing, which subtly mixes orality and narrative, letters, tales, fables, dreams, and beliefs that are at the heart of a historical reality, that of Mozambique in the late 19th century as it grapples with Portuguese colonization. Without the least trace of Manicheism, the author excels at portraying with great empathy characters faced with the inhumanity of war, offering them an epic inspiration out of the lush natural world of Africa.”

Jan Michalski Prize

The Jan Michalski Prize for Literature is attributed each year by the Foundation to crown a work of world literature. An original feature of the Prize is its multicultural nature. It is open to authors from the world over and is intended to contribute to their international recognition. The Prize will be awarded for works of fiction or non fiction, irrespective of the language in which it is written. The winner will receive an amount of CHF 50,000, offering the possibility of greater dedication to her or his art.

To make up the Jury, the Foundation has called on exceptional writers who are multilingual, selected for their knowledge of various literary genres, but particularly for their cultural openness..

Winner of the 2020 Jan Michalski Prize, Mia Couto receives an award worth CHF 50,000 as well as a work of art specifically chosen for the recipient: a pair of unique sculptures by the Nigerian artist Alimi Adewale, « Untitled », 2019, ekki wood, height 47 cm.

Source: Fondation Jan Michalski

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