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Zimbabwe’s Tsitsi Dangarembga Awarded 2021 PEN Pinter Prize

Zimbabwean novelist and activist Tsitsi Dangarembga continues to bag literary awards. Most recently, Dangarembga has been awarded the prestigious PEN Pinter Prize by English PEN in memory of the late Nobel laureate, Harold Pinter. Following her protests against corruption and the arrests of prominent journalists such as Hopewell Chin’ono last year, Dangarembga receives the award in recognition of her “ability to capture and communicate vital truths even amidst times of upheaval” in Zimbabwe. The award comes shortly after she was also awarded the 2021 PEN Freedom of Expression Award, again, for her activist work.


READ: Tsitsi Dangarembga Receives 2021 PEN Freedom of Expression Award

Previous winners of the PEN Pinter Prize include Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Canadian writer Margaret Atwood and Jamaican poet and activist, Linton Kwesi Johnson.

Speaking about having won this year’s PEN Pinter Prize, Dangarembga says the following:

” I am grateful that my casting – in the words of Harold Pinter – an ‘unflinching, unswerving gaze’ upon my country and its society has resonated with many people across the globe and this year with the jury of the PEN Pinter prize. I believe that the positive reception of literary works like mine helps to prove that we can unite around that which is positively human.”

Dangarembga’s This Mournable Body, the third in a trilogy of novels, was shortlisted for the 2020 International Booker Prize. Following her shortlisting, however, she was arrested by Zimbabwean authorities for protesting against rampant corruption and the censorship of citizens, opposition leaders and the media.

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