Afro Belgian-Nigerian-born author Chika Unigwe has recently been announced winner of the Nigeria Prize for Literature for her novel On Black Sisters’ Street. The fictional novel about prostitutes and their way of life has since published received impressive reviews and comments. The announcement was made today, with NLNG, the sponsors of the prize saying that Unigwe “displayed a very sophisticated narrative technique”.
Unigwe who was raised in Nigeria has spent the last decade in Belgium, and it was a culture shock which led her to write about four Nigerian girls working Antwerp’s red light district. ‘When I moved to Belgium one of the biggest shocks was seeing black women in display cases in their knickers and bustiers,’ says Unigwe. ‘I was intrigued, and I wrote short stories about them based on imagination. But I didn’t really know about their lives, so when I decided to write the novel, I went and talked to the girls.'
Excerpt: On Black Sisters’ Street
The person who has brought these women together, it turns out, is Dele, a “big man” back in Lagos whose wealth comes from selling African women to Western European brothels. “Every month I send gals to Europe. Antwerp. Milan. Madrid. My gals dey there. Every month, four gals. Sometimes five or more,” he boasts to Sisi when she first visits his office. “You be fine gal now. Abi, see your backside, kai! Who talk say na dat Jennifer Lopez get the finest nyansh? . . . As for those melons wey you carry for chest, omo, how you no go fin’ work?”.
Chika Unigwe was announced winner of the NLNG sponsored Nigerian prize for Literature on Thursday 1 November at a world press conference held at the Ocean View Restaurant in Victora Island, Lagos.
Read reviews on the novel by clicking the links below…
New York TimesTales - http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/01/books/review/book-review-on-black-sisters-street-by-chika-unigwe.html?_r=0
More news on her prize:
Books Live - http://bookslive.co.za/blog/2012/11/01/chika-unigwe-wins-the-100-000-nigeria-prize-for-literature-2012/
National Mirror – http://nationalmirroronline.net/new/breaking-news/chika-unigwe-wins-2012-nigeria-prize-for-literature/