Entertainment

Donoghue's Room wins Commonwealth regional prize

Canadian writer Emma Donoghue's dark fantasy Room has won the regional competition for the Commonwealth Writers Prize.
Emma Donoghue has won the Commonwealth Prize regional competition for Canada and the Caribbean for her book Room. (Dave Chidley/Canadian Press)

Canadian writer Emma Donoghue's dark fantasy Room has won the regional competition for the Commonwealth Writers Prize.

Room is now a contender for the overall Commonwealth Prize, competing against regional winners from Europe and South Asia, Africa, and Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

Katrina Best of Montreal was the regional winner for Canada and the Caribbean in the first book category for her collection of short stories Bird Eat Bird.

U.K.-born Best is a story editor, screenwriter and script analyst. She also becomes a finalist for the overall Commonwealth Prize.

London, Ont.-based Donoghue won the Writers' Trust award for fiction, and was a finalist for both the Governor General's Literary Award and the Booker Prize for Room.

The novel is told from the point of view of a child who lives with his mother in a locked room, echoing the story of real-life kidnap victim Elisabeth Fritzl, an Austrian woman who was imprisoned by her father and is the mother of seven of his children.

The Commonwealth Prize Foundation announced best first book and best fiction winners in four categories on Thursday.

The other winners are:

  • Africa best book: The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna (Sierra Leone).
  • Africa best first book: Happiness is a four-letter word by Cynthia Jele (South Africa).
  • South Asia and Europe best book: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell (Britain).
  • South Asia and Europe best first book: Sabra Zoo by Mischa Hiller (Britain).
  • Southeast Asia and Pacific best book: That Deadman Dance by Kim Scott (Australia).
  • Southeast Asia and Pacific best first book: A Man Melting by Craig Cliff (New Zealand).

Winners from the four regions are invited to the Sydney Writers' Festival in May, when the winner will be declared.

now