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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 April 2006, 11:45 GMT 12:45 UK
Award for Sierra Leone war novel
Delia Jarrett-Macauley (picture from: www.deliajarrettmacauley.com)
Delia Jarrett-Macauley is the first novelist to win the Orwell prize
A novel about a child soldier in Sierra Leone has won the prestigious Orwell prize for political writing.

Delia Jarrett-Macauley, a British writer whose parents are from Sierra Leone, was honoured for her novel, Moses, Citizen and Me.

It is the first novel to win the award since the award started 16 years ago.

Ms Jarrett-Macauley wrote the book after hearing a report about a boy soldier who had been recruited to kill his grandparents during the civil war.

She said she wanted to focus on the emotional ways in which the child soldiers respond to their situation.

One of the judges, Bernard Crick, said the book was appealing because of the way it dealt with the most extreme political problems of violence in a very balanced and humane way.

Some 50,000 people were killed and many more maimed and raped in the decade-long civil war which ended in 2002.

The conflict was marked by the frequent hacking off of limbs, ears and lips of civilians.


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