Fiston Mwanza Mujila
Born in Lubumbashi (Democratic Republic of Congo) in 1981, Fiston Mwanza Mujila lives in Graz (Austria). He writes his short stories, novels, poems and essays in French, his mother tongue, and in German, his adopted language. As a child he dreamed of becoming a saxophonist playing jazz. "But there was no saxophone, so the jazz rhythm is now added to my poems. I write like a jazz musician." He writes about the chaos, the civil wars, the 32 year dictatorship of Mobutu, which undermine his home country since its independence in 1960 from Belgium. His debut novel TRAM 83 is described in the back cover of Éditions Métailié’s edition as "highly poetic and nervous, an incredible plunge into the language and energy of a reinvented country, a hallucinogenic and hilarious tsunami in which each sentence screams a ferocious will to live." It took the French rentrée littéraire of 2014 by storm and has gained Fiston, at the age of 33, an unprecedented success both in France and among foreign publishers. In 2015, TRAM 83 was longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize and was declared winner of the Etisalat Prize for Literature. It also won the Grand Prix du Premier Roman de la Société des gens de Lettres, the French Voices Award from the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the US and the PEN Translates award from the English PEN, and was shortlisted for the Prix du Monde (Le Monde des Livres). Fiston’s style has also been compared to a Coltrane improvisation and a Hieronymus Bosch painting. He is currently promoting the foreign editions of his debut and working on his second novel.