CONGOLESE author Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s debut novel Tram 83, longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2016, has already won several awards.
The awards include the Etisalat Prize 2015 — awarded in Lagos, Nigeria, in March — and the Golden Medal in Literature of the VI Jeux de la Francophonie in Beirut, Lebanon.
Written in French, Mujila’s tale centres on two friends who meet in a nightclub, Tram 83, in a war-torn city where they are surrounded by profit-seekers from across the globe. Literary and film agency Pontas describes the novel as “a tale of human relationships in a world that has become a global village”.
Translated into English by Roland Glasser, Mujila’s novel has been described by online literary magazine The Rumpus as having “echoes of Flannery O’Connor, Ralph Ellison and Joseph Conrad, Mujila’s language alchemises epic poetry from violence, despair and distraction”.
“The eponymous Tram 83 is a restaurant/bar/nightclub where everyone congregates after a long, hard day of ripping off each other. Not that they’ve stopped once night falls — at Tram 83, everyone is on the make,” says The Rumpus.
• Tram 83 will be available at selected South African bookstores at the end of May