By Alexis Teyie
In October last year, Marlon James won the Man Booker Prize for his novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings. He is the first Jamaican-born author to win “Britain’s most prestigious literary award.” Earlier in 2015, Zambian writer, Namwali Serpell, won the Caine Prize – described as Africa’s leading literary award – for her short story, “The Sack,” though she explicitly disagrees with the structure of the Prize.
I am a bit anxious about reading James’s work. The violence, a need to like what has been branded Good, a fear of already missing out all make me fear I am already biased before reading. But Serpell’s story I read before the furore, before others’ admonitions and praises told me what to think about it. I lifted the sack, shook it out, and still wasn’t sure what exactly I was supposed to find – perhaps a metaphor…
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