Exit West by Mohsin Hamid continues its literary recognition around the globe. This month the novel won the inaugural Aspen Words Literary Prize, which is a $35,000 annual award for an influential work of fiction that illuminates a vital contemporary issue and demonstrates the transformative power of literature on thought and culture.
From a list of 20 nominees, the contenders have been whittled to just five: Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward; What We Lose, by Zinzi Clemmons; Mad Country,by Samrat Upadhyay; Exit West, by Mohsin Hamid; and What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky, by Lesley Nneka Arimah.
This brand-new annual prize by the Aspen Institute was awarded to the novel about the turbulent lives of refugees. According to head judge Phil Klay, Mohsin Hamid and his Exit West has mesmerized with "the exquisite sentences". "He uses those sentences to build up this incredible portrait of two lovers in a war zone," Klay added. "He forces us to ask how we would react, and what kind of potential there is for reactionary violence within our own societies. And he also hints at possibilities for doing better. And I think that that is something vital right now."
The author himself described his novel as "a novel about migration and how the world is changing - and could change - and how we are all migrants, and how we can find an optimistic future together".
Source: www.aspenwords.org, www.npr.org