February 11, 2011 / 12:10 AM / 8 years ago

Afghan, African stories vie for Warwick Prize

LONDON (Reuters) - Six works tackling themes ranging from South Africa under apartheid to present-day life in Afghanistan have been shortlisted for the Warwick Prize for Writing honoring any kind of work in the English language.

The prize, handed out every two years, is run by Warwick University and is worth 50,000 pounds ($80,000) to the winner.

“We have chosen six excellent books across poetry, anthropology, science and fiction,” said broadcaster and children’s novelist Michael Rosen, who is chair of the judges.

“Each in their own way, the books explore color either on its own terms or as a prism through which the writing emerges. I’m looking forward to some tough arguing over choosing the winner.”

“The Wasted Vigil” by Pakistan-born Nadeem Aslam is set in Afghanistan, and follows Russian woman Lara who is searching for clues about her brother’s disappearance.

“Dazzled and Deceived: Mimicry and Camouflage” by Peter Forbes reveals how creatures that have perfected the art of deception to protect themselves have given up their secrets with far-reaching consequences for humans.

“The Memory of Love” by Aminatta Forna tells the story of Adrian Lockheart, who travels to Sierra Leone in the wake of the civil war and begins to build a new life for himself.

“The Literature Police: Apartheid Censorship and its Cultural Consequences” by Peter D. McDonald uncovers the stories of censorship and literature in apartheid South Africa.

“What Color is the Sacred?!” by Michael Taussig is described by prize organizers as “an extended meditation on the mysteries of color and the fascination they provoke.”

And in “White Egrets,” poet Derek Walcott tackles subjects including the Caribbean’s colonial legacy and the Western artistic tradition “with a passionate intensity and drive that recall his greatest work.”

The St. Lucia writer, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992, also scooped the T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry for “White Egrets.”

The winner of the Warwick Prize for Writing will be announced on March 22.

Reporting by Mike Collett-White; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte

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