Best Writer in Exile - 2011
At the same time writer Chenjerai Hove's acclaim and success were growing in his native Zimbabwe, his popularity with strongman Robert Mugabe was plummeting to levels that could prove fatally dangerous in a virtual dictatorship. And no wonder: His political novel Masimba Avanhu? (Is This the People's Power?) directly took on Mugabe's rule, and his followup, Sister Sing Again Someday, tackled the power of disaffected women in Zimbabwean culture. As the work found more and more readers, Hove's home and office were burglarized, his unpublished works were seized, and his name crept up a government list of enemies of the state. In 2001, he was forced to flee Harare for refuge in Europe. Now, thanks to a program called the International City of Refuge Network, Hove has found a new home to create his art in Miami. Based at Miami Dade College, Hove has used his time in Florida to speak about political violence in Africa, to tackle new works about life as a political refugee, and to explore from abroad the turmoil in his homeland. It shouldn't be a surprise that Hove — whose fellowship lasts until 2012 — has found Miami a fertile place to craft a second chapter in his life. The Magic City, after all, knows a thing or two about how to treat el exilio.