Bajaber wins the awarded $25,000 cash prize for her novel, The House of Rust.
Kenyan writer, Khadija Abdalla Bajaber’s The House of Rust has won the inaugural Ursula K. Le Guin Prize for Fiction.
The $25,000-worth Ursula K. Le Guin Prize for Fiction, done in honour of acclaimed writer, Ursula Kroeber Le Guin, is given to a writer for a single work of fiction. The award is intended to recognise those writers who are, “realists of a larger reality, who can imagine real grounds for hope and see alternatives to how we live now.”
The jury for the 2022 prize comprised Luis Alberto Urrea, adrienne maree brown, Becky Chambers, Molly Gloss, and David Mitchell.
This shortlist announced by the jury included works from Sequoia Nagamatsu, Catherynne M. Valente, Cynthia Zhang, Matt Bell, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Olga Ravn, Darcie Little Badger, and Michelle Ruiz Keil.
On Bajaber’s novel, the jury noted that, “Scene after scene is gleaming, textured, utterly devoid of cliché and arresting in its wisdom. The novel’s structure is audacious and its use of language is to die for.”
Bajaber, in her acceptance speech, said: “I hope to use this prize to further my craft, to better myself as a person as well, and to investigate different ways of telling a story. And I hope that you will see more strange worlds from me, and more strange worlds from many different kinds of writers.”
Khadija Abdalla Bajaber, a Mombasa-born poet and novelist, holds a degree in journalism.