The regional winners have been announced in the 20th Commonwealth Writers' Prize.
A release from Peepal Tree Press states that an international judging panel meeting in Calgary, Canada has awarded the 2006 Commonwealth Writers' Prize Best Book Award, Caribbean and Canada Region to Alligator, by Lisa Moore of St John's, Newfoundland (published by House of Anansi Press). The Best First Book Award was awarded to Suspended Sentences: Fictions of Atonement, by Guyanese Mark McWatt (published by Peepal Tree Press). Each author wins l,000 pounds sterling.
The jurors called Mc Watt's book a first novel that refracts light like a powerful and many facetted diamond. "Its characters circle multiple challenges as they struggle to throw off the yoke of colonialism in Guyana," said van Herk. "This is a wonderfully sophisticated threading of voices and variety. Suspended Sentences takes tremendous risks, an amazing accomplishment."
Both regional winners, the release states, now enter the final stage of the 20th Commonwealth Writers' Prize, the international award for outstanding fiction, which will be decided by a panel made up of the four regional Chairpersons in Melbourne and announced on 14th March, 2006. They join other regional winners from Africa, Eurasia and South East Asia and the South Pacific. 10,000 pounds sterling will be awarded to the author of Overall Best Book, and 3,000 pounds sterling to the author of Best First Book.