Chinua Achebe has just been awarded the Man Booker International award – hooray! This is only the second year the prize has been awarded and selection criteria include: the author must still be alive; they must be deemed to have made a significant conribution to world literature; and their works must be either written in English or widely available in translation. The last one is technically rather discriminatory, but since nobody can read all the languages in the world it is understandable.
Anyway I’m glad Achebe was selected. As the article in the Guardian this week says, “by honouring Achebe they have redressed what is seen in Africa – and beyond – as the acute injustice that he has never received the Nobel prize, allegedly because he has spent his life struggling to break the grip of western stereotypes of Africa.” The other author on the list I would have liked to see win was Carlos Fuentes, and he was probably the second choice. I think Achebe was the right choice though.