Fiston Mujila, author of Tram83 has been announced as the winner of the 2015 Etisalat Prize for Literature this evening in Lagos at a well – attended colourful ceremony.
Mujila was at Durban earlier in the for the Time of the Writer Festival before coming to Lagos, Nigeria for the prize announcement of the Etisalat Prize for Literature today.
The book is about two friends, one a budding writer home from Europe, the other an ambitious racketeer, meet in the only nightclub, the Tram 83, in a wartorn city-state in secession, surrounded by profit-seekers of all languages and nationalities. Tram 83 plunges the reader into the modern African gold rush as cynical as it is comic and colorfully exotic, using jazz rhythms to weave a tale of human relationships in a world that has become a global village.
Fiston Mwanza Mujila was born in 1981 in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo, where he went to a Catholic school before studying Literature and Human Sciences at Lubumbashi University. He now lives in Graz, Austria, and is pursuing a PhD in Romance Languages. His writing has been awarded with numerous prizes, including the Gold Medal at the 6th Jeux de la Francophonie in Beirut as well as the Best Text for Theater (“Preis für das beste Stück,” State Theater, Mainz) in 2010. His poems, prose works, and plays are reactions to the political turbulence that has come in the wake of the independence of the Congo and its effect on day-to-day life.
As he describes in one of his poems, his texts describe a “geography of hunger”: hunger for peace, freedom, and bread. Tram 83, written in French and published in August 2014 as a lead title of the rentrée littéraire by Éditions Métailié, is his first novel. It has been shortlisted and won numerous literary prizes in France, Austria, England, and the United States.
Roland Glasser is the translator of the work into English from French. He also translates art, travel, and assorted non-fiction. He studied theatre, cinema, and art history in the UK and France, and has worked extensively in the performing arts, chiefly as a lighting designer. He is a French Voices and PEN Translates award winner and serves on the Committee of the UK Translators Association. Having lived in Paris for many years, he is currently based in London.
(c)Olutayo IRAN-TIOLA, Lagos, Nigeria