Shortlisted for the 2015 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize
Juan Tomas Avila Laurel was born in 1966 in Equatorial Guinea. The Gurugu Pledge is his second novel, and follows his 2015 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize-shortlisted debut By Night The Mountain Burns, which was based on his memories of growing up on the remote island of Annobon. He made headlines in 2011 by embarking on a hunger strike, in an anti-government protest. He now lives exiled in Barcelona. Jethro Soutar translates from Spanish and Portuguese. He has translated Argentinian and Brazilian crime novels, written two non-fiction books of his own, and recently co-edited The Football Cronicas, a collection of football writing from Latin America. He divides his time between London and Lisbon.
Praise for Juan Tomas Avila Laurel: 'As a person, Juan Tomas Avila Laurel is gentle, open and funny. As a voice, he is brave, angry, uncompromising. Here is the voice of someone who has courted and suffered persecution for the sake of a better world. How will he be remembered in the end - as revolutionary or martyr? Juan Tomas is not likely to disappear quietly.' William T Vollmann, author of Europe Central ------------ 'Delightfully candid, deceptively sober.' Helen Oyeyemi ------------ 'A leading light of the Equatorial Guinean literature movement.' The Guardian ------------ 'Survival, hope and despair wrestle in this surprising work by Equatorial Guinea's leading author.' Financial Times (Books of the Year 2014) ------------ 'Avila Laurel's dark, troubled narrative of 'our Atlantic Ocean island' is remarkable, original and poetic.' Irish Times ------------ 'Juan Tomas Avila Laurel offers [a] plain style, grown out of the native oral tradition of storytelling. By Night the Mountain Burns is a collection of childhood memories, a working through of hardship and superstition.' The Independent