Nigeria’s most innovative and fastest growing telecommunications services company, Etisalat, today announced the long list for the inaugural edition of the Etisalat Prize for Literature. The Prize launched in June 2013 is the first pan-African prize that is open solely to debut fiction writers of African citizenship and poised to become one of Africa’s most prestigious literary prizes for African fiction.
The longlist in alphabetical order includes ‘Bom boy’ by Yewande Omotoso, ‘Daughters Who Walk This Path’ by Yejide Kilanko, ‘Finding Soutbek’ by Karen Jennings, ‘Sarah House’ by Ifeanyi Ajaegbo, ‘The Great Agony and Pure Laughter of the Gods’ by Jamala Safari’s, ‘The Spider King’s Daughter’ by Chibundu Onuzo, ‘The Spiral House’ by Claire Robertson, ‘The Whispering Trees’ by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, and ‘We Need New Names’ by NoViolet Bulawayo,
The judges for the maiden edition of the Etisalat Prize for Literature included Chair of Judges, Professor Pumla Dineo Gqola; Professor at the University of Witwaterstrand, South Africa; writer and academic Sarah Ladipo Manyika and Managing Editor of Kwani Trust, Billy Kahora. The judges received entries from across the continent and were faced with the daunting task of selecting the nine books to cross the first hurdle. “I have never been more in love with the range, depth and wonder that is literature, by writers in my continent. There are some writers that I feel really privileged to have discovered through this Prize.” Said Pumla Dineo Gqola.
Speaking on the Longlist, Matthew Willsher, Acting Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria said that the list is unique in several respects and would go a long way in helping to accomplish the purpose of the Etisalat Prize for Literature. “The list of nominees is unique in that six of the nine finalists are books authored by women; five of the nine finalists are Nigerian citizens while the global perspective is covered by the fact that three of the nine publishers are non-African,” he said.
The judges will be faced with the next task of selecting a short list of three novels at a retreat in Morocco in January. The shortlisted writers who will have 1,000 copies of their books purchased by Etisalat and go on a multi-city sponsored tour will be announced on Wednesday the 15th of January 2014.
The overall winner of the Etisalat Prize for Literature will receive £15,000, an engraved Montblanc Meisterstück and will attend an Etisalat sponsored fellowship at the prestigious University of East Anglia, mentored by Professor Giles Foden, author of the Last King of Scotland. The winner will be announced at the Etisalat Prize for Literature Award Ceremony in Lagos, Nigeria on Sunday the 23rd of February 2014.
The winner of the Etisalat Prize for Literature Flash Fiction category, voted for by the public, will be announced at the ceremony. The winner of the Flash Fiction Prize will receive £1,000 in cash whilst the two runners up will receive £500 each.