Etisalat Nigeria has announced the longlist of the Etisalat Prize for Literature 2014.
The prize which was launched last year 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 includes: ‘An Imperfect Blessing’ by Nadia Davids; ‘Whoever Fears the Sea’ by Justin Fox; ‘The Thunder that Roars’ by Imran Garda; ‘Penumbra’ by Songeziwe Mahlangu and ‘Kintu’ by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi. Others include ‘Fresh Air and other stories’ by Reward Nsirim; ‘Happiness Like Water’ by Chinelo Okparanta; ‘Ghana Must Go’ by Taiye Selasi and ‘Shadows’ by Novuyo Rosa Tshuma.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika, renowned Nigerian writer and Chair of Judges for the Etisalat Prize for Literature 2014 says “we the judges are excited about this long list which is reflective of the great diversity presented by the full list of submissions this year. We are happy by our decision and cannot wait to reread the nine books to prepare for the upcoming retreat where we will determine the shortlist.”
Speaking on the list, Matthew Willsher, 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.
According to Willsher, “five of the nine finalists are books authored by women; one of the nine finalists is a Nigerian citizen and two are from Nigeria/American and Nigerian/Ghana decent. The list also features writers from South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe.”
The judges will be faced with the next task of selecting a shortlist of three novels at a retreat in Cape Town in December. 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 the December 8, 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 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 February 22, 2015.