The overall winners of the 2009 Commonwealth Writers' Prize were announced today (Saturday 16 May) at the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival in New Zealand.
Overall Winner - Christos Tsiolkas The Slap (Allen and Unwin)
The bestselling author of Loaded and Dead Europe turns his attention to middle-class suburban Australia and its notions of child-rearing and acceptable behaviour. Christos Tsiolkas was born and grew up in Melbourne.
He is the author of three novels: Loaded (1995), which was made into the feature film Head On (1998), The Jesus Man and Dead Europe which won the 2006 Age Fiction Prize and the 2006 Melbourne Best Writing Award. He is also a playwright, essayist and screenwriter. Christos Tsiolkas lives in Melbourne.
Best First Book Winner - Mohammed Hanif A Case of Exploding Mangoes (Vintage)
Why did a Hercules C130, the world's sturdiest plane, carrying Pakistan's military dictator General Zia ul Haq, go down on 17 August, 1988? Mohammed Hanif's debut novel takes one of the subcontinent's enduring mysteries and spins a tale as rich and colourful as a beggar's dream. Mohammed Hanif was born in Okara, Pakistan. He flew in the Pakistan Air Force before pursuing a career in journalism.
A Case of Exploding Mangoes was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award 2008 and was longlisted for the Man Booker Award 2008. Hanif is the former head of the BBC's Urdu Service in London and now lives in Pakistan.
The two winners received their prizes from the Governor-General of New Zealand, Hon Sir Anand Satyanand. The Best Book winner Christos Tsiolkas received a prize of £10,000 (approx NZD 26,000), while the Best First Book winner Mohammed Hanif claimed £5,000 (NZD 13,000).
More on judges comments. plus other comments, see, commonwealth Foundation, here