International Literature Prize 2017

Fiston Mwanza Mujila wins Germany’s International Literature Prize

The German translation of Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s debut novel Tram 83 is the winner of the 9th German International Literature Prize 2017. The Award is given annually by Berlin’s Haus der Kulturen der Welt and the foundation Elementarteilchen.

Fiston Mwanza Mujila © Leonhard Hilzensauer / Zsolnay Verlag

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Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s debut novel Tram 83 is the winner of the 9th German International Literature Prize 2017. He receives the Prize with his two translators Katharina Beyer and Lena Müller.

The International Literature Award is given annually by Berlin’s Haus der Kulturen der Welt and the foundation Elementarteilchen, for international prose translated into German for the first time. Fiston Mwanza Mujila receives a prize of 20,000 €, Katharina Meyer and Lena Müller receive a prize of 15,000 €.

The Jury stated that Tram 83 “is a radical report on post-colonial African life in a town built over an immense store of very valuable natural resources. Fiston Mwanza Mujila chants, roars, whispers sentences about everyday life in a male society dominated by violence with a radical furor, almost in passing narrating the tale of a crook and of the unlikely salvation of a doomed poet. The translators Katharina Meyer and Lena Müller have found a stirring language for the text that pushes towards the performative.”

The Celebration of the Shortlist & Award Ceremony will take place on July 6, 2017 at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin. The other six on the shortlist and their translators will also be celebrated, including Hamed Abboud and Larissa Bender, Alberto Barrera Tyszka and Matthias Strobel, Han Kang and Ki-Hyang Lee, Amanda Lee Koe and Zoe Beck, Ziemowit Szcerek and Thomas Weiler, as well as Fernando Mires and Thomas Böhm.

The theme of the Shortlist & Award Celebration is Reclaim your Fictions. With the jury and other guests, they will undertake literary investigations of the present, present the shortlisted titles in readings, conversations on literary materials and offer insights into contexts and concurrent originating processes. In roundtable studies on the spaces surrounding narrating and translating they will debate the value of fiction in post-factual times. The prize will be awarded as part of this celebration with a laudatory address and presentation of the book.

FISTON MWANZA MUJILA

Fiston Mwanza Mujila was born in 1981 in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and writes poems, short stories and plays, some of which he has translated into German on his own. He composes his written works “like a jazz musician, like a saxophonist.” They are often reactions to the political unrest in the wake of Congolese independence and its effects on everyday life. Today, Mujila lives in Graz, teaches African literature at the university there and collaborates with musicians in Austria on various projects. In 2010, he received a prize for the best play at the Mainz State Theater. His first novel, Tram 83, was on the longlist of the Man Booker International Prize and the Prix du Monde and received the Etisalat Prize for Literature.