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2015 Etisalat Prize For Literature Shortlist Out

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etisalatFISTON Mwanza Mujila, Penny Busetto and Rehana Rossouw have been announced as the three shortlisted authors for the 2015 Etisalat Prize for Literature, the first pan-African prize that is open solely to debut fiction writers from African countries. Now in its third year, it is acknowledged as one of the most prestigious literary prizes for African fiction.

The three books, selected from the longlist of nine, are Tram 83 (Deep Vellum) by Fiston Mwanza Mujila (Democratic Republic of Congo), The Story of Anna P, as Told by Herself (Jacana Media) by Penny Busetto (South Africa) and What Will People Say? (Jacana Media) by Rehana Rossouw (South Africa).

The shortlist was selected by a three-member judging panel including Ato Quayson, a professor of English and inaugural Director, Centre for Diaspora Studies at University of Toronto (Chair of Judges); Molara Wood, writer, journalist, critic and editor and Zukiswa Wanner, author of Men of the South and London Cape Town Joburg.

Chair of judges, Quayson, commented, “The variety of styles and subject matter of the books on this year’s Etisalat Prize for Literature shortlist reveal the vitality of contemporary African literature. They contribute to our understanding of what it is to love, to laugh, to improvise, sometimes to despair, to know and yet be fooled by the assurance of such knowledge, to work for our ablution in the fate of another’s suffering, and ultimately to embrace life in all its bewildering complexities.”

Wanner also noted, “This year’s Etisalat Prize for Literature shortlist showcases the varied voices emerging on the African literary scene, bringing something beautiful and unique to the reading experience”.

The third member of the judging panel, Wood aaded, “The shortlisted books challenge ready notions about new writing from Africa. They expand the field of literary engagement with themes of nationhood and the self. These are highly original voices whose works will charm and astonish new readers, through the Etisalat Prize for Literature, and deservedly so”.

The shortlisted writers will be rewarded with a sponsored multi-city book tour and will also have 1,000 copies of their books purchased by Etisalat for distribution to schools, libraries and book clubs across the continent.

Zimbabwean NoViolet Bulawayo won the maiden edition of the prize with her highly celebrated debut novel, We Need New Names while South Africa’s Songeziwe Mahlangu emerged winner of the prize in 2014 with his novel, Penumbra.

The winner of the 2015 Etisalat Prize for Literature will be announced in March and will receive £15,000, and an engraved Montblanc Meisterstück pen. The prize also includes an Etisalat sponsored fellowship at University of East Anglia, and mentored by Prof. Giles Foden, author of The Last King of Scotland.


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