Mozambican writer Paulina Chiziane wins $100,000 Camões literary award

Veteran Mozambican writer, Paulina Chiziane has made history as the first African woman to win the Camões literary Prize. As part of her reward, she will receive the $100,000 price tag. Reports indicated that, the 66-year-old who authored many stories and novels was selected by a unanimous decision for the prestigious price.

“The jury unanimously decided to award the prize to Mozambican writer Paulina Chiziane, highlighting her vast production and critical reception, as well as the academic and institutional recognition of her work;” the culture minister announced.

Responding to the award, the “Ballad of Love in the Wind” author said, “everything that I tried to write, in the different books, is part of our collective memory. I never spoke, in the books, in my personal voice. Even in the books where I write in the first person I am bringing the collective voice. So it’s a whole people who are graced by this great prize.”

She further expressed excitement for the award, appreciating her efforts as she wrote a nice live story from zero to the much-celebrated heroine she has become today. Acknowledging her humble beginning, Paulina said “I come from nowhere. I am that person who learnt to read and write, went to school… He had that luck, but he was also lucky enough to walk around the country and discover the wonders that this country has.”

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She added further that, “I’m not exactly that person that you can say ‘She came from a social stratum X, so noble’. No, I came from the ground! So, a recognition for someone who came from nowhere, no doubt, is a reason for inspiration for another generation.”

Known to be the first woman to ever published a book in her country in the year 1990, Paulina has been a strong advocate for women empowerment and also authored books that addressed critical social and political issues. Paulina was not the first Mozambican to have won the price. Two Mozambican writers, José Craveirinha (1991) and Mia Couto (2013) were equally awarded but she has gone down in history as the first Mozambican woman to have won the award.

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