Etisalat shortlists 2 South Africans, 1 Congolese for $22,000 literary prize

Two South Africans and a Congolese have been shortlisted for the 2015 Etisalat Prize for Literature. The Etisalat Prize for Literature is the first pan-African Prize that is open solely to debut fiction writers from African countries. The winner receives £15,000.

The Prize announced Fiston Mwanza Mujila from the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africans Penny Busetto and Rehana Rossouw as the three shortlisted authors for their books Tram 83, The Story of Anna P, as Told by Herself and What Will People Say?, respectively.

“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,” says Professor Ato Quayson, Professor of English and inaugural Director of the Centre for Diaspora Studies at the University of Toronto and Chair of a three-member judging panel which also includes Molara Wood, writer, journalist, critic and editor; and Zukiswa Wanner, author of Men of the South andLondon Cape Town Joburg.

“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,” Quayson added.

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.

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

Now in its third year, the Etisalat Prize for Literature has seen NoViolet Bulawayo (We Need New Names) and Songeziwe Mahlangu (Penumbra) emerge as winners.

The Prize has acclaimed writer Ama Ata Aidoo (Ghana), Pulitzer Prize Winner Dele Olojede (Nigeria), editor, critic and 2015 Man Booker Prize Judge, Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, OBE (UK/Zimbabwe), writer and public intellectual Kole Omotoso (Nigeria), editor, writer, broadcaster, consultant and co-founder of Allison & Busby, Margaret Busby, OBE (UK/Ghana) and novelist, poet and playwright Zakes Mda (South Africa), as its distinguished Patrons.