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Introducing The Etisalat Prize For LIterature

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Pumla Gqola, Sarah Ladipo Manyika & Billy Kahora in Cassablanca, Morocco decide on the 2013 shortlist

“By recognizing and celebrating writers and other members of the literary community across Africa … while also applauding and rewarding the efforts of those who have ventured into fiction and short story writing in recent times.”   -          Etisalat

  Etisalat-Prize-for-Literature The Etisalat Prize for Literature is the first ever Pan-African prize (relating to all people of African birth or descent) to recognize debut fiction writers. The Prize aims to serve as a platform for the discovery of new creative talent out of the continent and invariably promote the growing publishing industry in Africa. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE PRIZE: 1.      The Etisalat Prize for Literature celebrates new writers of African citizenship whose first fiction book of any genre (over 30,000 words) was published in the past two years. Authors and their publishers can be based anywhere in the world. 2.      The Etisalat Prize for Literature comes with £15,000, a Samsung Galaxy Note, a Montblanc Meisterstuck, a sponsored book tour to three African cities and the Etisalat Fellowship at the University of East Anglia mentored by Professor Giles Foden (author of The Last King of Scotland). 3.      Shortlisted writers will win a Samsung Galaxy Note and also go on a book tour to two major African cities. 4.      It also aims to promote the publishing industry at large and will therefore purchase 1000 copies of all shortlisted books which will be donated to various schools, book clubs and libraries across the African continent. 5.      Submissions are only be accepted from publishing houses. Thus, all books entered must have a registered ISBN number or an equivalent. 6.      Entries for fiction books will be submitted by publishers who have published a minimum of ten (10) authors. 7.      Each entry will be required to be accompanied by Seven (7) copies of the book. 8.      Applications will be accepted via post only. (Visit etisalatprize.com for more information.)

THE 2013 ETISALAT PRIZE FOR LITERATURE

This is the maiden prize, and the judges (or patrons) are: -          Ghanaian author, poet, playwright, academic and the first published African woman dramatist (1965), Ama Ata Aidoo, -          Nigerian Pulitzer Prize winning Journalist, Dele Olojede, -          Zimbabwean editor and literary critic, Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, OBE, -          Nigerian intellectual and seasoned writer, Kole Omotoso, -          Ghanaian-born Writer, Publisher and Dramatist, Margaret Busby, OBE, and -          South African award-winning Novelist, poet and playwright, Zakes Mda. The shortlist for the prize was announced 23 January 2014. They are: 1.      Nigeria’s Yewande Omotoso, “Bom Boy” (September 2011) – About Leke, a troubled young man living in the suburbs of Cape Town. He develops strange habits of stalking people, stealing small objects and going from doctor to doctor in search of companionship rather than cure. Through a series of letters written to him by his Nigerian father whom he has never met, Leke learns about a family curse; a curse which his father had unsuccessfully tried to remove. 2.      South Africa’s Karen Jennings, “Finding Soutbek” (June 2012) – Located in small town of Soutbek, are introduced a series of stories about intriguingly interlinked relationships. Contemporary Soutbek is still a divided town – the upper town destitute, and the lower town rich, largely ignorant – and through a series of vivid scenes, the troubled relationship between Pieter Fortuin, the town’s first coloured mayor, and his wife Anna is revealed. In so many ways the past casts a long shadow over the present, not in the least through the unreliable diaries of Pieter Meerman promoted by Pieter Fortuin and Professor Pearson, a retired white historian. They give us a unique insight into the lives of the seventeenth-century Dutch explorers, and hint at a utopian society. The blossoming friendship between Anna, Sara, a foundling, and Willem, Pieter Fortuin’s nephew, is unsettled by David, Anna’s and Pieter’s son. His father has bought David a bright future, but when he comes back from boarding school David appears alienated from his father and from his old friend, the former gardener Charles Geduld, just as Anna starts to accept him as her son. Is there hope, or are we left with Willem’s conclusion that ‘he would spend the rest of his life working off the debt of his family’s poverty’? 3.      Zimbabwe’s NoViolet Bulawayo, “We Need New Names” (May 2013) - tells the story of Darling, a 10-year-old growing up in politically unstable Zimbabwe – homes destroyed by paramilitary policemen, schools closed …, she has a chance to escape to stay with an aunt in America. She travels to this new land in search of America's famous abundance only to find that her options as an immigrant are perilously few. By:  Olusola Agbaje The winner will be announced 23 February 2014.

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