Chigozie Obioma belongs to a generation of young Nigerian authors who are in the process not only of shaping the African novel of the twenty-first century, but also of breaking new ground in world literature. Das Weinen der Vögel (An Orchestra of Minorities) is a philosophical novel of rare ambition and breadth that questions the freedom of human will with relentless precision. We read of the fate of Chinonso, a poultry farmer who decides to sell his farm and pursue an academic degree in Northern Cyprus in order to have a better material future. It seems to him that without this ascent he can never marry the woman he loves, who was born in a higher social class. From here, Obioma unfolds his epic of the insulted and the humiliated. This story is passionately told by a 700-year-old guardian spirit. The spirit has accompanied several human lives and embodies the dualistic principle of the Igbo religion. The novel, which artfully blends the original proverbs and dictions of local traditions with English, was masterfully translated into German by Nicolai von Schweder-Schreiner.
— Daniel Medin, jury
Chigozie Obioma lives in the United States and teaches creative writing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His first novel Der dunkle Fluss (The Fishermen) received many international awards and was nominated for the Man Booker Prize in 2015. Obioma appeared on Foreign Policy Magazine’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers list. His second novel, Das Weinen der Vögel (An Orchestra of Minorities), was also on the shortlist for the Booker Prize.
Nicolai von Schweder-Schreiner has been translating from Portuguese and English since 1995, including works by Jennifer Clement, Douglas Coupland and José Saramago. In 1998 he was nominated for the German Youth Literature Prize. In 2009 he received the Hamburg Promotional Award for Literary Translations. Since 1999 he has published as a musician, composer and lyricist, also music for theater. He lives in Hamburg.