At the opening ceremony of the Ake Festival on Thursday morning, Etisalat Prize for Literature as well as the Windham Campell Prize, Nommo Award and a few others got the spotlight. During the ceremony, Etisalat announced the longlist for this year’s Prize for Literature.
Elvis Ogiemwanye, the Etisalat brands & experience director in Nigeria assured of Etisalat Nigeria’s commitment to literature and the promotion of creative endeavors like writing, the arts, and photography.
“We are delighted to support Ake Arts & Book Festival again this year because it is literary inclined and it aligns with our vision of promoting people’s passion, nurturing talents and providing platforms that enable Africans to communicate their ideas and tell their own stories,” he said.
“The Etisalat Prize for Literature wholly embodies our company’s vision, which is to promote and celebrate writers of African descent in order to give credence and honour to ‘home-grown’ talents while encouraging further participation in this area,” he added.
The longlisted books are Mr. and Mrs. Doctor by Julie Iromuanya (Coffee House Press, USA), The Yearning by Mohale Mashigo (PanMacmillan, South Africa), Piggy Boy’s Blues by Nakhane Toure (Blackbird Books imprint of Jacana Media, SA), The Peculiars by Jen Thorpe (Penguin Random House, USA), Born on a Tuesday by Elnathan John (Cassava Republic, Nigeria), And After Many Days by Jowhor Ile (Farafina an imprint of Kachifo Limited, Nigeria), Dub Steps by Andrew Miller (Jacana Media, South Africa), The Seed Thief by Jacqui L’Ange (Umuzi Publishers, South Africa) and Nwezelenga: The Star Child by Unathi Magubeni (Black Bird Books Imprint of Jacana Media, South Africa).
The judging panel, comprising Nigerian novelist and poet, Helon Habila (Chair), South African writer/activist Elinor Sisulu and Ivorian writer and Africa39 laureate Edwige Rene Dro, now has the task of selecting three authors for the shortlist, which will be unveiled in December.
The shortlisted writers will then go on a multi-city sponsored 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. Already, all longlisted books are on sale at the Ake Festival Bookstore at festival rates courtesy Etisalat.
The winner of the 2016 Etisalat Prize for Literature will be awarded a cash prize of £15,000 (7.5 Million Naira) and will be mentored by Professor Giles Foden, award-winning author of The Last King of England at the University of East Anglia.