Soyinka prize goes south again

Mzobe said he went “a bit crazy” when it was announced he had won at the awards ceremony in Lagos on September 8 for his novel Young Blood. The book also won the Sunday Times Fiction award in 2011.

It tells the story of an Umlazi township boy who turns his back on an atypically wholesome upbringing to live the high life. The vividness of crime alternates with the blur of alcohol and cocaine abuse until the antihero decides to extricate himself from his increasingly destructive lifestyle.

Mzobe said the story could be read on many levels: “Some people see it as a crime story, some as a love story and some as a tale of coming of age.”

Mzobe intends to explore this equivo-cality in his next novel, which he hopes to have published next year.  

Asked what he would do with the prize money of more than R160 000, Mzobe said he would use it to “buy more time to write. I’m always happiest when I write.”

In 2010, South African author Kopano Matlwa was a co-winner of the prize for her book Coconut, with Nigerians Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani (I Do Not Come to You by Chance) and Wale Okediran (Tenants of the House).

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