Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie had won the prestigious Women’s prize for fiction for her novel Half of a Yellow Sun in 2007. Now 13 years later, the novel has been voted “winner of winners” of the same literary award through a public vote. It was meant to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the award, and as per a report in The Guardian, it were readers who had the responsibility to name their favourite among the 25 previous winners over the years.
The report quotes the author’s gratitude on receiving the honour, “especially moved to be voted ‘winner of winners’ because this is the prize that first brought a wide readership to my work – and has also introduced me to the work of many talented writers.” “One of the things that’s so fantastic about Chimamanda being the winner of winners is that a lot of younger readers are now coming to that novel, who probably didn’t read it when it came out. It’s felt like a really celebratory thing to be doing over this very strange year,” Kate Mosse, founder of the Women’s prize was quoted as saying.
The same report states that over the lockdown, Mosse reread all 25 winners of the prize and found the 2016 novel “a book that speaks to anybody, whoever they are, wherever they come from, whatever their point of view is, and I think that there are not that many books which do that”.
Interestingly, Mosse had founded the prize in 1995 after the 1991 Booker did not include a single woman author on their shortlist. However, she refuses to identify the prize as a reaction infused in anger. Instead, the report informs, she perceives it as an outlet to celebrate female authors.
“In the very early days, people did want it to be ‘everybody’s furious’. But it was never that – it was absolutely saying, ‘There seems to be a problem about the honouring of writing by women, what are we going to do about it?’ It’s about saying to people: try these amazing books,” she said. “We do need to celebrate excellence, we need to celebrate imagination, we need to celebrate women’s voices and diverse voices from all over the world. We’re never going to not need to celebrate, I think,” she was quoted as saying.
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