The Old Drift Takes Twitter Announced Clarke Award

This year’s Arthur C Clarke award was announced in unusual style with last year’s winner, Tade Thompson, having the honour of tweeting the news. That’s right, the announcement was tweeted. 2020, right?

The honour of this year’s award goes to Namwali Serpell for her novel The Old Drift.

In a series of tweets announcing the win, Tade Thompson had this to say:

For various reasons I’m delighted to be announcing this book and this author as the winner.
Anyone who follows me knows that I was ecstatic when I started reading The Old Drift. I wouldn’t shut up about it.
I was reading something I didn’t know I was missing.
Though she might not remember, I met Namwali Serpell in 2015 in a meet-the-authors event when she came to London for the Caine Prize.
She won with her story ‘THE SACK and, in ‘an act of mutiny’, divied-up the prize among the shortlisted writers, a gentle rebuke about placing writers in competition with each other.
It’s worth listening to her words:…
I am always up for mutiny.
THE OLD DRIFT is, to me, the great African novel of the twenty-first century. The scale, the characters, the polish and lyricism of the passages all conspire to tell an unforgettable tale.
At last, a book that acknowledges that the African lives with the fantastic and mundane.
At last, an African book of unarguable universality.
Namwali Serpell has created something specifically Zambian and generally African at the same time.
THE OLD DRIFT is everything fiction should be, and everything those of us who write should aspire to.
Hats off.
Well-deserved win.
This is why my faith in the Clarke Award is unshakable.
Congratulations, @namwalien!
Whew! I can breathe now.
Holding this in has taken years off my life!
I was so nervous that I’d let it slip in conversation.

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