Local author nominated for Early Chapter Book Prize

Local rising author Sabina Mutangadura was announced as one of 10 writers on the 2013 Golden Baobab Prizes longlist for the Early Chapter Book Prize.

BY OUR STAFF

She was nominated for her story, Seven, which explores children’s plight.

Mutangadura is the only Zimbabwean nominated across the three categories of this year’s prizes in a list dominated by Nigeria and South Africa.

According to Golden Baobab Prize organisers, the African literary scene has seen tremendous growth in the last couple of years.

“One issue, however, that many people seem to miss is the insufficiency of enthralling, quality, culturally relevant African children’s books,” noted the organisers.

“Mutangadura is a writer who has noticed this gap and is doing her part to try and fix it. Her work includes stories for children and young adults.”

In an interview with Golden Baobab, Mutangadura said: “I have been shaped by living in Africa and growing up in Zimbabwe in particular.
“One instance I can think of is when, a few years ago, I worked with an organisation that worked with street children. I was and am still inspired by those children.

“They managed to catch fun moments and hold on to their childhood despite the conditions they faced.

“I saw them playing football, chasing each other and laughing on the streets where they lived and worked and often faced trauma. They did these things as though they didn’t have to worry about a place to sleep or food to eat.” Mutangadura told Standardlife&style that Seven is a story about hardships that a young girl named Simy goes through.

Simy and her mother leave the resort town of Victoria Falls when her father dies. Her mother finds it hard to fend for her and she finds a job at a mine.

The lifestyle in a mine compound presents big challenges for Simy. She finds it hard to settle in the community but her tough search for happiness sees her uncovering some social ills within the community and she becomes a little heroine.

Mutangadura said being nominated for the prize was a great honour.
“Being on the long list made me smile inside and out, all day and all night,” she said.

“It is really gratifying and quite exciting to represent the country at such an international platform. I am happy and I hope I will get the best.”

“Seven is an exploration of some of the issues around identity, belonging and loss through a child’s perspective.”

Sabina studied journalism at Rhodes University before working for a while in public relations. She subsequently gained experience in other areas within the field of communication as well as advertising and film.

Sabina is the author of Unfashionably in Love, which is featured in the anthology Women Writing Zimbabwe, which was published in 2008. She lives in Harare with her husband and daughter.

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