Kampala — Ugandan author and poet Harriet Anena was last week shortlisted for this year's edition of the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa that is set to be awarded at the MUSON Centre, Onikan in Lagos this Sunday.
Ms Anena was shortlisted for her socially conscious political erotica poetry collection, A Nation in Labour, in the book, she looks at the fact that Uganda is a beautiful country but has been mostly caught up in political conflict since she gained her independence and thus causing 'labour pains' to her citizens.
Ms Anena's work explores her experience as a child in a war torn northern Uganda and post war effects such as child headed homes to land disputes, crime and alcoholism, among others.
In one of the poems, "I Bow for My Boobs," Anena directly takes her lines from statements that have in the past been made by the liberation heroes. In one of the verses, she talks about a General that asked Ugandans where they were as they suffered with mosquitoes in Luweero, while in another she will sarcastically belt out, "but I thought Ugandans said they prefer sticks to bullets... "
Ms Anena said being shortlisted for the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa is humbling and gratifying, especially for a prize associated with a literary giant.
" The news of being on the shortlist of the prestigious Wole Soyinka was overwhelming, in a great way; in a way that made me feel light and deeply grateful. I have been breaking out in bouts of screams and smiles since, and I rarely let my feelings loose like that, except on a page, " she said.
About the prize
The Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature for Africa is a pan-African writing prize awarded biennially to the best literary work produced by an African.
Established in 2005 by the Lumina Foundation, the prize is an honour of Africa's first Nobel Laureate in literature, Wole Soyinka, who presents the prize whose winners are chosen by an international jury of literary figures.