Mubanga Kalimamukwento is the first Zambian to win the Drue Heinz Literature Prize.
By Hope Ibiale
Zambian writer, Mubanga Kalimamukwento, has been announced as the winner of the 2024 Drue Heinz Literature Prize.
Kalimamukwento, the first Zambian to win the literary prize, will walk away with $15,000 and publication by the University of Pittsburgh Press, with support in the nationwide promotion of her work, Obligations to the Wounded.
The collections of short stories will be published in hardcover on October 8, 2024.
While speaking about Kalimamukwento’s work, Angie Cruz, the prize’s judge, stated, “These thematically linked stories deliver an intricate study of Zambian women living in both Zambia and abroad who are weighing their options of who to love, where to live, where to work. The author, with a poet’s restraint, has written stories that deftly negotiate the challenges and tribulations women face when they feel the pressure and duty to yield to the will of family, community, customs, country, and spiritual beliefs. Obligations to the Wounded is a graceful, touching and generous collection”.
“An absolute dream come true to have been named this year’s winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize, especially by a judge whose work I hold deep respect and admiration for”, shared Kalimamukwento. “This is a prize I have been reading and entering for years, so a win is a kind of ‘Finally’ and ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you’ moment for me.”
Kalimamukwento is a Zambian attorney and writer. In her career, she has won the Tusculum Review Poetry Chapbook Contest (2022), the Dinaane Debut Fiction Award (2019), and the Kalemba Short Story Prize (2019). Her work has also appeared in places like adda, Aster(ix), Overland, the Red Rock Review, Menelique, and elsewhere. Obligations to the Wounded explores racial discrimination, death, intimate partner violence, and migration through the voices of twelve Zambian women and girls.
The Drue Heinz Literature Prize is a literary prize that recognises and supports writers of short fiction. The award is open to authors who have published a book-length collection of fiction or three short stories or novellas in commercial magazines or literary journals.
You can preorder Kalimamukwento Obligation to the Wounded here.