It just goes to show that I’m nothing if not a really rubbish literary pundit. When the Commonwealth Writers Prize regional shortlists were announced I put my money on Aravind Adiga to at least make it through to the semis. Twas not to be however and I am left to reflect upon the fact that projecting popularity is not a strong suit of mine (when I first heard about The Piano I thought it sounded like the kind of movie that people would stay away from in droves – so I have a history of getting this sort of thing wrong).
So perhaps I should just stick to facts, just the facts (ma’am) and tell you that a single New Zealand book has made it through to the final “round” of judging in the awards. The year of the Shanghai Shark by Mo Zhi Hong will compete with the following titles in the “Best First Book” category –
- A Case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed Hanif (Pakistan)
- Reading by Lightning by Joan Thomas (Canada)
- Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan (Nigeria)