Scholastique Mukasonga

Scholastique Mukasonga wins Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize 2024

Scholastique Mukasonga’s novel Kibogo won the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize 2024 in Oxford, UK on Saturday, June 15, 2024.

The Oxford-Weidenfeld Prize is awarded to book-length literary translations into English from any living European language. Worth £2000, it aims to honour the translation craft and recognise its cultural importance. It was founded by Lord Weidenfeld and is supported by New College, The Queen’s College, and St Anne’s College, Oxford.

The 2024 jury comprised Tinashe Mushakavanhu (Chair), Christophe Barnabé, Minna Jeffery, and Suzanne Jones. They announced the longlist and the shortlist on May 23 before the winner was made public at St Anne’s College, Oxford on Saturday. The winner is;

  • Kibogo, Scholastique Mukasonga, (translated from the French) (Rwanda) by Mark Polizzotti (Daunt Books)
Scholastique Mukasonga wins Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize 2024
Scholastique Mukasonga wins Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize 2024

Scholastique Mukasonga made her announcement on social media stating, “Dear readers, I’m delighted to announce that Mark Polizzotti has won the 2024 Oxford-Weidenfeld Prize Oxford Comparative Criticism and Translation – OCCT for his brilliant translation of my novel Kibogo.”

Kibogo comes with the following blurb;

In four beautifully woven parts, Mukasonga spins a marvellous recounting of the clash between ancient Rwandan beliefs and the missionaries determined to replace them with European Christianity.

When a rogue priest is defrocked for fusing the gospels with the martyrdom of Kibogo, a fierce clash of cults ensues. Swirling with the heady smell of wet earth and flashes of acerbic humour, Mukasonga brings to life the vital mythologies that imbue the Rwandan spirit. In doing so, she gives us a tale of disarming simplicity and profound universal truth.

Kibogo’s story is reserved for the evening’s end, when women sit around a fire drinking honeyed brew, when just a few are able to stave off sleep. With heads nodding, drifting into the mist of a dream, one faithful storyteller will weave the old legends of the hillside, stories which church missionaries have done everything in their power to expunge.

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