Man Animal Thing
Author: Alfred Schaffer
Translator: Michele Hutchison
Publisher: Eyewear Publishing (2021)
Winner of the 2021 P.C. Hooft-prize, the most important literary prize in The Netherlands for a whole oeuvre. Partly inspired by Chaka, a famous South African novel from 1931, written by Thomas Mofolo, the book charts the imaginary progress of the nineteenth-century statesman and tyrant, Shaka Zulu (1787-1828). Structured around a series of daydreams and major events in Zulu's life, the poet extracts Zulu from the historical past and moves him to the modern media age where speed dating, UFOs and effervescent pain-killers are the norm. The collection is hugely diverse, from lyrical poetry to tweets to wit.