Mubanga Kalimamukwento is the 2024 Winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize

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You are currently viewing Mubanga Kalimamukwento is the 2024 Winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize

Zambian writer Mubanga Kalimamukwento has been named the winner of the 2024 Drue Heinz Literature Prize. Mubanga will receive a $15,000 cash prize and the University of Pittsburgh Press will publish her collection of short stories, Obligations to the Wounded. The release date has been fixed for October 8, 2024.

Actress Dru Heinz founded the Drue Heinz Literature Prize in 1981 to recognise and support writers of short fiction. The main requirement to enter the prize is for writers to have either published a book-length collection of fiction or at least three short stories or novellas in commercial magazines or literary journals. Some of the previous winners of the prize are Stewart O’Nan, Elizabeth Graver, Caroline Kim, Leslie Pietrzyk, and Ramona Reeves.

Angie Cruz, Director of Pitt’s Writing Programme, picked this year’s winner. Cruz commended Mubanga’s winning collection, saying the stories eloquently represent Zambian women’s lives: “These thematically linked stories deliver an intricate study of Zambian women living in both Zambia and abroad who are weighing their options of who to love, where to live, where to work. The author, with a poet’s restraint, has written stories that deftly negotiate the challenges and tribulations women face when they feel the pressure and duty to yield to the will of family, community, customs, country and spiritual beliefs.”

Mubanga is an incoming PhD candidate in Feminist Studies at the University of Minnesota. She is the winner of the Morland Writing Scholarship (2023), the Tusculum Review Poetry Chapbook Contest (2022), the 2019 Dinaane Debut Fiction Award, and the 2019 Kalemba Short Story Prize. Mubanga expressed her excitement for winning the 2024 Drue Heinz Literature Prize thus: This is a prize I have been reading and entering for years, so a win is a kind of ‘Finally’ and ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you’ moment for me.”

Congratulations, Mubanga!