African writers battle for $22,000 prize in new literary contest

Africa’s literary ingenuity will yet again be showcased as telecommunications operator Etisalat Nigeria announces call for entries to the 2016 edition of the Pan-African Prize, Etisalat Prize for Literature.

“We are delighted to champion the cause for celebrating the richness and strength of African literature,” said Matthew Willsher, Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria.

“Etisalat Prize for Literature is about discovering and bringing to the world stage the many creative talent Africa boasts of. The Etisalat Prize is about creativity, excellence, empowerment and reward; it is about celebrating our African diversity in very innovative ways through various forms of art, literature being one of them,” he added.

Last year, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Fiston Mwanza Mujila won the 2015 edition of the Prize with his first novel, Tram 83, and received a cash prize of £15,000 ($22,000) in addition to a fellowship at the prestigious University of East Anglia, U.K. under the mentorship of Professor Giles Foden, the award-winning author of The Last King of England. In 2014, South Africa’s Songeziwe Mahlangu won, while Zimbabwe’s NoViolet Bulawayo was the 2013 winner.

Willsher also announced the Judging Panel for the 2016 Etisalat Prize. The panel comprises Nigerian novelist and poet, Helon Habila, as the Chair of Judges, South African writer and activist Elinor Sisulu and Ivorian writer, Edwige Rene Dro as members.

According to him, only books by debutant writers published not later than 24 months before submission, will qualify for entry. “They must also be by registered publishing houses not less than six years as incorporated publishers with registered ISBN Number or the equivalent, and who must have published a minimum of six authors. All entries should be accompanied by seven copies of the book entered along with an acceptance of our publicity terms. A publisher may submit a maximum of three books.”