Novel about child-soldiers wins prize


Moses, Citizen and Me, is the first novel to win the Orwell Prize for Political Writing since the award started 16 years ago.

The annual prize is awarded to writers judged to have best achieved George Orwell’s aim “to make political writing into an art”. The award seeks to recognize good accessible, writing about politics, political thinking or public policy. Each winner — one for journalism, and one for a book or pamphlet – also receives a cheque for £1,000 from.

The other authors shortlisted for the 2005 Book Award for the Orwell Prize for Political Writing were:

  • Black Gold of the Sun: Searching for Home in England and Africa by Ekow Eshun
  • Urban Grimshaw and the Shed Crew by Bernard Hare
  • Frontline: The True Story of the British Mavericks Who Changed the Face of War Reporting by David Lyon
  • Secret of Bryn Estyn – the making of a modern witch-hunt by Richard Webster
  • I Didn’t Do it For You: How the World Betrayed a Poor African Nation by Michela Wrong.

Moses, Citizen and Me tells the story of how, when Julia flies into war-scarred Sierra Leone from London, she is apprehensive about seeing her uncle Moses for the first time in twenty years. It tells of how nothing could have prepared her for her encounter with her eight-year-old cousin, Citizen, a former child soldier, and for the shocking truth of what he has done.

Driven by a desire to understand Citizen, Julia takes the disturbed child into the rainforest, where she encounters other child soldiers and an enigmatic storyteller, Bemba G. who, alone in the heart of the rainforest, appears to be the only one who can heal the rift between the cultures of war and peace, Europe and Africa.

Moses, Citizen & Me is about the conflict in Sierra Leone. The novel draws on both European canon and African oral traditions to illuminate the sufferings of child soldiers and their families.

In this, her debut novel, Delia Jarrett-Macauley’s voice comes across as confident and compelling voice. She handles her material with great delicacy and empathy.

A deeply affecting and vividly told story of ordinary people with the courage to survive. Delia Jarrett-Macauley has excavated the pain and torment within the hidden recesses of the human soul and there uncovered, finally—love
— Aminatta Forna

It’s a tough subject and the author handles it superbly. Peopled with memorable characters, this is an unforgettable, deeply moving novel.
— Choice magazine, Book of the Month

The considered and multi-layered story of a Sierra Leone family… A novel remarkable for its slowed, measured pulse and its calm analysis, its keenness to promise hope and rehabilitation even after the worst.
— The Guardian

Moses, Citizen and Me
Delia Jarrett-Macauley
Granta Publications
2/3 Hanover Yard, Noel Road, London N1 8BE, United Kingdom
P.O. Box 23152, Jackson, MS 39225, United States
Paperback, 256 pages
ISBN: 186207741X

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