British author wins prestigious German award

17th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

17 October 2005, BERLIN - British-born Alexandra Fuller received the prestigious Lettre Ulysses Award in Berlin for her account of a nightmare journey with a Rhodesian war veteran and mercenary who decides to revisit the scenes of his wartime experiences in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

17 October 2005

BERLIN - British-born Alexandra Fuller received the prestigious Lettre Ulysses Award in Berlin for her account of a nightmare journey with a Rhodesian war veteran and mercenary who decides to revisit the scenes of his wartime experiences in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

She was one of seven writers, broadcasters and journalists who had been short-listed for the award that was announced in Berlin late on Saturday.

Her powerful account of her African travels published under the title "Scribbling the Cat" earned her strong praise from the ten- member-strong international jury, which hailed the work "a spellbinding literary accomplishment.

The dramatic, violent story of decolonisation and guerrilla war, as well as old and new structures in South East Africa form the background of her scary journey into the soul of the universal soldier.

The award-winning writer recently explained her thoughts on war, saying anyone who was given a gun was also given lies "with which to carry them into battle."

She also said, the horror of war would not leave soldiers, whilst politicians easily withdrew into their protected life.

"When the politicians had moved into retirement villages or returned to their secluded ranches and the wars they precipitated were just blots in their resume, the soldiers who carried the horror of the war in their very souls must somehow find a way to live with what amounts to the most awful knowledge," she said.

"I don't know which is worse for a soldier: to know that you have been lied to and to live with fury for the rest of your life, or to believe the lies for the rest of your life and to live with hatred or arrogance," she said.

Fuller was unable to attend the presentation of the winners late on Saturday as she was awaiting the birth of her third child at her home in Wyoming, U.S.

Via telephone, she commented she was thrilled to gain the top prize. "It's wonderful news. My baby can come any time now!" she said excitedly.

The prize carries an award of EUR 50,000.

The second Lettre prize, worth EUR 30,000, was won by the Moroccan-born author, anthropologist, lecturer and writer Abdellah Hammoudi, a secular Muslim, for his vivid account of a pilgrimage to Mecca in his French and Italian-published book, "Une saison a la Mecque. Recit de pelerinage."

The third Lettre prize, worth EUR 20,000, went to "Riverbend", the diaries of a young Iraqi woman who began writing a weblog using a pseudonym in August 2003.

In March this year her diaries appeared anonymously in book form, and in June, Marion Byers Publishers Ltd in Britain also published them under a different title, "Baghdad Burning".

DPA

Subject: German news

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