The Zimbabwean writer Bryony Rheam has added to her list of accolades by being awarded the Zimbabwean National Arts Merit Award in the category Outstanding Fiction.
The award is for her novel All Come to Dust, which was initially published in Zimbabwe before being co-published by Parthian Books and amaBooks in the UK. The National Arts Merit Awards are the premier award given by the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe in recognition of outstanding achievements in the arts and culture. The inaugural award ceremony was held in February 2002. Since then, the award ceremonies have been held in February each year to recognise artists who had excelled in the previous year. The exception is this year's awards, which, because of Covid 19 restrictions, considered the work of artists from the previous two years.
All Come to Dust was previously recognised in November 2021 by winning the Bulawayo Arts Award for Outstanding Literary Work (Fiction). Her novel, in which Detective Chief Inspector Edmund Dube investigates the suspicious death of socialite Marcia Pullman with the assistance of the ‘mullet hairstyled’ Craig Martin, can be considered a long-simmering, intriguing, twisting murder mystery. But it is also an incisive depiction of life in present-day Bulawayo and of how the injustice and privilege of the past are still baked into everyday life.
Bryony Rheam commented: "I'm delighted that All Come to Dust is doing so well.
Winning these two Zimbabwean awards is a reflection of the fact that local readers can identify with the plot and the issues it raises. It is a great honour to be recognised in my own country and this gives me the impetus to carry on. However, the book is not confined to Zimbabwean readers. I have been heartened by the number of reviewers and other readers who have said that they learned something about Zimbabwe and its history through reading the book. I believe that place and time affect the feel of a book, but characters are generally universal and they are what interests readers most. I didn't initially intend to write another crime novel, but now I see it as an interesting way to explore society. The African crime novel is different to the western one for a number of reasons and I think that makes it quite an exciting genre to be exploring right now."
The success of this novel follows that of her debut novel This September Sun, which won Best First Book at the Zimbabwe Book Publishers Association Awards and, after it had been published in the UK by Parthian Books, topped the Amazon UK sale charts as an ebook.
You can grab your copy of this award-winning novel via the Parthian website or at your favourite bookshop!