2006 Book prize winner

   Book prize winner  

Moses, Citizen and Me

Delia Jarrett-Macauley

Published by: Granta

When Julia flies in to war-scarred Sierra Leone from London, she is apprehensive about seeing her uncle Moses for the first time in twenty years. But 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 ‘bush’. There they meet other child soldiers, and a storyteller, Bemba G., who provides a safe haven for them all and strives to return them to childhood through play, love, story-telling and performance. As Julia gradually rediscovers Africa, the different generations of her family rediscover their bonds. And then Bemba G. directs the child soldiers in a version of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, with powerful effect.

The judges said:

Anyone who has spent time in Africa can immediately recognise the power and truth of her descriptions. It is a work of great intimacy and moral complexity, the kind of writing that sheds light on a world we barely understand…the book is one that Orwell himself might have liked.