Award winning author nominated, again
KOPANO Matlwa is one of the most respected women authors in the country. The author of the highly-acclaimedCoconut and winner of the European Union Literary Award 2006-07, is also a medical doctor.
Once again, the tome with which she debuted in 2006 is in the running for the prestigious Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa on April 30 in Nigeria.
The prize, known as the African literature Nobel, was established by the Lumina Foundation in 2005. It honours people who have used their talents to affect others positively. The prize is awarded every other year for the best book written by an African in any of the literary genres. The prize money is US$20000, about R148000.
Coconut explores an affluent black youth's struggle with identity - being too white to be black, yet too black to be white in a highly westernised new South Africa. It explores the experiences and dilemmas of a young girl who, like the society around her, is undergoing changes that call old boundaries, comforts and certitudes into question.
At 21 Matlwa was the youngest winner of the EU award. Unlike many young, black female intellectuals hers is not a rigid and cold intellectuality. Her imagination is vivid and she has a warm heart. She keeps in close touch with the communities in Cape Town where she assists in projects that uplift the communities.
The University of Cape Town graduate is also a founding member and former chairperson of Waiting Room Education by Medical Students, a nonprofit organisation run by students and Rhodes Scholars, class of 2009.
Next week, Matlwa will attend the London Book Fair. She has also been invited to the Goteborg Book Fair in Sweden in September.