Forna wins Commonwealth Writers Prize

Aminatta Forna has won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize 2011 Best Book for her novel The Memory of Love (Bloomsbury).

The judges described the novel as "a bold, deeply moving and accomplished novel which confirms her place among the most talented writers in literature today". Forna took home £10,000 for the prize, which took place on 21st May.

New Zealand author Craig Cliff's A Man Melting (Random House NZ) won the £5,000 Best First Book category. The judges said: "This book is of the moment, and is rightly at home on a global platform. Cliff is a talent to watch and set to take the literary world by storm."

The awards are now in their 25th year. Danny Sriskandarajah, interim director of the Commonwealth Foundation, said: "I am delighted to congratulate the winners of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize 2011. In its 25th year, the Prize embodies the Commonwealth at its best. It unearths the best writing from across 54 countries, promoting dialogue and understanding on an international scale."

The overall winners were chosen from the regional prizewinners:

Africa:
Best Book: The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna (Sierra Leone)
Best First Book: Happiness is a four-letter word by Cynthia Jele (South Africa)

Caribbean and Canada:
Best Book: Room by Emma Donoghue (Canada)
Best First Book: Bird Eat Bird by Katrina Best (Canada)

South Asia and Europe:
Best Book: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell (UK)
Best First Book: Sabra Zoo by Mischa Hiller (UK)

South East Asia and Pacific:
Best Book: That Deadman Dance by Kim Scott (Australia)
Best First Book: A Man Melting by Craig Cliff (New Zealand)