Mubanga Kalimamukwento of Mounds View, MN is the winner of the 2024 Drue Heinz Literature Prize, one of the nation’s most prestigious prizes for a collection of short stories. Kalimamukwento’s collection, Obligations to the Wounded, was selected by Angie Cruz. The University of Pittsburgh Press is pleased to publish this collection on October 8, 2024.
“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,” states Angie Cruz, author of How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water. “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. Obligations to the Wounded graceful, touching and generous collection.”
Obligations to the Wounded employs proverbs and short stories rooted in Zambian languages, culture, and place to examine the cost of womanhood through the voices of twelve Zambian women and girls The stories converse with global social problems through games, social media feuds, letters, and folklore and illustrate women’s burdens through the lens of religious expectation, migration, loss of language, death, intimate partner violence and racial discrimination.
“An absolute dream come true to have been named this year’s winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize, especially by a judge whose work I hold deep respect and admiration for,” shared Kalimamukwento. “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.”
Mubanga Kalimamukwento is a Zambian attorney and writer. She is the winner the Tusculum Review Poetry Chapbook Contest (2022) selected by Carmen Giménez, the Dinaane Debut Fiction Award (2019), and the Kalemba Short Story Prize (2019). Her work has also appeared or is forthcoming in adda, Aster(ix), Overland, the Red Rock Review, Menelique, on and elsewhere.
The Drue Heinz Literature Prize recognizes and supports writers of short fiction. The award is open to authors who have published a book-length collection of fiction or at least three short stories or novellas in commercial magazines or literary journals. Past winners include Stewart O’Nan, Elizabeth Graver, Caroline Kim, Leslie Pietrzyk, and Ramona Reeves.
Manuscripts are judged anonymously by nationally known writers. Past judges have included Robert Penn Warren, Joyce Carol Oates, Raymond Carver, Margaret Atwood, Russell Banks, Deesha Philyaw, and Joan Didion. Jane McCafferty is the managing editor for the Drue Heinz Prize.
Winners receive a cash prize of $15,000, publication by the University of Pittsburgh Press, and support in the nation-wide promotion of their book.
Obligations to the Wounded by Mubanga Kalimamukwento will be published in hardcover by the University of Pittsburgh Press with an on-sale date of October 8, 2024.
178pp · 6 x 9 · ISBN 9780822948360 · Cloth $24.00 · eBook available