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Commonwealth Writer’s Prize 2011 – Best Book Award

Aminatta Forna has won the distinguished Best Book Award from the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for her third novel, The Memory of Love.

The judges praised The Memory of Love for its risk taking, elegance and breadth. A poignant story about friendship, betrayal, obsession and second chances – the novel is an immensely powerful portrayal of human resilience.

The judges concluded that The Memory of Love delicately delves into the courageous lives of those haunted by the indelible effects of Sierra Leone’s past and yet amid that loss gives us a sense of hope and optimism for their future. Forna has produced a bold, deeply moving and accomplished novel which confirms her place among the most talented writers in literature today.”

Here is what a few others have said:

Forna understands that it is only by making patterns out of chaos that humans find the courage to continue living. And in this affecting, passionate and intelligent novel about the redemptive power of love and storytelling, she shows how it is done.” –The Telegraph (UK)

If West Africa has lived through some of the most grotesque episodes of the 20th century, it has also been blessed with several generations of extraordinary writing talents who continue to turn those ordeals into heart-rending literature. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is rightly celebrated for playing that role in Nigeria. With this book, Aminatta Forna shows she deserves to be included in that same category.” –The Spectator (UK)

“‘Delivering us to a common center, no matter where we happen to have been born, Aminatta Forna tackles those great human experiences of love and war, of friendship, rivalry, of death and triumphant survival. Often darkly funny, written with gritty realism and tenderness, The Memory of Love is a profoundly affecting work” –Kiran Desai

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Additional reading suggestions: recent winners of the Best Book Award:

Solo by Rana Dasgupta (2010);

The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas (2009);

The Book of Negros: a novel

by Lawrence Hill (2008);

Mister Pip
by Lloyd Jones (2007)

Source: http://www.thereader.ca/2008/05/commonwealth-writers-prize-2011-best.html

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