Novelist and short story writer, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi winner of the 2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize and 2018 winner of the Windham-Campbell Prize for Fiction, has won the fifth Jhalak Prize for Book of the Year by a Writer of Colour for her ‘magnetic’ and ‘extraordinary’ novel, The First Woman (Oneworld).
“Winning the Jhalak Prize, which recognises the best work by writers of colour in Britain, is a marvellous stamp of approval. I am grateful to the judges, to the team at Oneworld, but most of all, to Sunny Singh, Nikesh Shukla and Media Diversified for creating this award.”
Commenting on Makumbi and The First Woman, Jhalak Prize judge Peter Kalu said: “In Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi we have a giant of literature living among us. The First Woman has magnetic, tender, vindictive, generous oh-so-human characters whose journeys through the novel moved me- this block of stone known as me – to tears. Makumbi is a supremely gifted writer and The First Woman an astonishing accomplishment.”
Jhalak Prize judge Yvonne Battle-Felton said, “The First Woman is a beautifully woven, intricate novel weaving together family history, traditions, cultural norms, history and more. By the time you finish this book you are full: sustained by a well-told story full of vivid imagery, rich characters and lush language.” Louise Doughty added “The First Woman is a fabulous, wide-ranging, complex, funny and sad coming-of-age story with one of the most engaging heroines in years . . . a triumph.”