Henrietta Rose-Innes has won the François Sommer Literary Prize for her novel NINEVEH, which was published in France last year by Editions Zoe.
The prize is awarded to novels and literary works published in French that explore the relationship between humans and nature and support “the values of humanistic ecology”. It is worth €15,000. You can see some lovely photos of Henrietta collecting her prize and signing books below:
NINEVEH was first published in South Africa by Umuzi in 2011. When Humane Pest Relocation Expert KD is hired to cleanse the vermin-invested Nineveh walled estate, her boundaries begin to crumble. Swamp water sweeps into Nineveh just as KD's past returns to her. The novel was Shortlisted for Sunday Times Fiction Prize 2012 and the M-Net Prize 2012. Mexican rights have just been acquired by Almadia.
Henrietta’s latest novel, GREEN LION, is published in May by Umuzi in South Africa, who recently revealed their stunning cover, alongside an interview with its designer. You can read more about GREEN LION in this interview with Henrietta, who describes the novel as ‘an exploration of human relationships with the natural world, even more explicitly so than Nineveh. At the heart of the book is the figure of a black-maned lion, one of vanished sub-species that used to be common in the Cape. It’s a book about extinctions, and loss, and the impossibility of bringing things back from oblivion; and also about the mythic importance of animals in human lives.’
Praise for GREEN LION:
‘In GREEN LION Henrietta Rose-Innes has written another extraordinary novel, lyrical, deftly plotted, and as full of life as the Ark. In the Cape Town of her imagination, a place both utterly strange and eerily familiar, wildness is always pressing up against the fence. The ‘animal’, she suggests, is not just out there but in here, shaping what we do and say, embedded in language itself like a stubborn gene.’ – Ivan Vladislavić
‘GREEN LION sees humanity’s longing for the wildness of animals as a desire for what remains most alien in our rational selves. Catching the animal heart in all of us, Rose-Innes imagines a world where ferocity itself is pushed to the brink of extinction. Poignant and unsentimental, this is an urgent story of quiet, lurking terror.' – Patrick Flanery
Praise for NINEVEH:
‘A gripping allegory … executed with wit, panache, and precision.’ – Neel Mukherjee
‘A passionate homage to place and a sensuous exploration of metamorphosis.’ – BooksLIVE