Etisalat reveals 2016 literature prize shortlist
Following the announcement of the shortlisted three authors on January 4, by the Chair of the Judging Panel, renowned Nigerian poet and novelist, Helon Habila, the stake has again been raised in the search for the would be winner of the 2016 edition of the Etisalat Prize for Literature.
The shortlisted authors comprise two Nigerians and a South African namely: Jowhor Ile (Nigeria) And After Many Days (Kachifo Limited, Nigeria); Julie Iromuanya (Nigeria) Mr & Mrs Doctor (Coffee House Press, USA), and Jacqui L’Ange (South Africa) The Seed Thief (Umuzi Publishers, South Africa).
Unveiling the shortlisted titles, Habila explained that the trio of Ile, Iromuanya and L’Ange were shortlisted based on originality of their works, literary excellence and reflection of African perspective. His words: “In addition to originality of voice and literary excellence, our purpose was to also select a work that portrays an ‘African sensibility.”
Launched in 2013 by Etisalat Nigeria, as a platform to promote creativity and talent development in Africa, the Etisalat Prize for Literature is the first pan-Africa literary prize that celebrates debut fiction writers of African origin resident anywhere in the world.
The literary prize also incorporates the Flash Fiction category and the two-in-one initiative aims to celebrate unpublished writers across the African continent by motivating budding writers to create compelling stories from African perspective.
Elated at the significant milestones, which the 2016 edition has recorded, Chief Executive Officer of Etisalat Nigeria, Matthew Willsher, commended the judges for being painstaking in choosing the three books out of the tens of titles received following the call for entry.
He said: “This is by no means a simple task. The role of the judges is quite enormous and we want to thank them for the attention and dedication to the entire review process which birthed the top three finalists.”
Willsher, who affirmed the telecom service provider’s commitment to impacting on the lives of Nigerians and indeed Africans, said that the company would continue to offer innovative products and services, and more importantly, platforms that enable people to express their passion and creativity. He further delighted the literary community with the announcement of Sarah Ladipo Manyika as a new addition to the list of renowned literary personalities, who serve as patrons for the prize.
While the world awaits the judging panel’s announcement of the most preferred of the three shortlisted authors as the next winner of the 2016 Etisalat Prize for Literature, the days and weeks to come would surely be filled with heightened anxiety.
The winner will be announced at the Grand Finale/Award Ceremony scheduled to take place in Lagos, later in March this year. The award presentation event, which holds at a premium location, is usually an evening of panache, glamour and pomp, and it will be attended by high profile guests across all socio-economic classes including senior government representatives, writers from Africa and lovers of art and literature within the international community.
For the winner, the ceremony is a day of glory, as he or she will receive £15,000 cash prize, engraved Montblanc Meisterstück pen and Etisalat-sponsored fellowship at the University of East Anglia including mentoring by Professor Giles Foden, author of The Last King of Scotland.
In addition, the winner and the two runners-up will also enjoy multi-city book tours sponsored by telecom company, thereby earning global recognition. Another big plus for the three is that Etisalat will purchase 1,000 copies of their books for distribution to schools, libraries and book clubs across the African continent.Other members of the Judging Panel are South African writer/activist, Elinor Sisulu; and Ivorian writer and Africa39 laureate, Edwige Renée Dro.