Congratulations to Khadija Abdalla Bajaber, the winner of the inaugural Ursula K. Le Guin Prize for Fiction for The House of Rust.
In Bajaber’s debut novel, published by Graywolf Press, young Aisha sets out in the company of a talking cat and a boat made of bones to rescue her fisherman father. Khadija Abdalla Bajaber’s debut novel is grounded in a vivid sense of place and the way she continuously expands both Aisha’s world and her understanding of it—a world of leviathans, snake gods, and crows whose sharp eyes are on everyone. The jury praised Bajaber’s transcendent writing and innovative, transporting story, saying: “Scene after scene is gleaming, textured, utterly devoid of cliché and arresting in its wisdom. The novel’s structure is audacious and its use of language is to die for.”
The Ursula K. Le Guin Prize for Fiction is an annual prize given to a writer for a single work of imaginative fiction. This award is intended to recognize realists of a larger reality, who can imagine real grounds for hope and see alternatives to how we live now.