Byo author eyes regional award

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BULAWAYO author-cum-poet Philani Amadeus Nyoni has put Zimbabwe on the international map after he was nominated for a prestigious gong.

Nyoni who is not new to international awards was yesterday nominated for the United Kingdom-run Afritondo Short Story Prize.

Philani Amadeus Nyoni

The Prize considers writings from across the African continent, people of African descent and other people of black ethnicity across the world.

According to data accessed from the Afritondo website, the prize awarding received 421 entries from 19 countries and selected only 21 entries for their longlist.

Nyoni is, however, the only Zimbabwean on the long list among  nine Nigerians, three South Africans including another celebrated poet and Wits lecturer Phillipa Yaa de Villiers, one American, and entrant from the United Kingdom among other countries.

Although Nyoni who has been likened to the late veteran author Dambudzo Marechera has not had a local nomination since 2017, he expressed joy at how things are panning out in his career.

“I feel honoured to have my work debated on such a level again. I haven’t received any brass since a BAA (Bulawayo Arts Awards) in 2017 but all my nominations thereafter have been international and that is the growth I want to see in my work. I am less concerned with winning than I am with improvement and consistently oscillating on that level,” Nyoni told Daily News.

In 2019 Nyoni’s work was translated into Swedish, most of it from his Robert Mugabe memoir, Philtrum 2.0.

In 2017, Nyoni was shortlisted for the African Writers’ Award although the prize eventually went to Benson Mugo of Kenya. Nyoni was again the only Zimbabwean on the list.

Nyoni remains one of the most consistent writers in the city and his versatility has also seen him taking part in stage plays.

His work is sometimes unsettling, hence his comparison to Marechera.

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