Etisalat Nigeria has assembled a strong panel of judges for the maiden edition of its pan-African prize for literature tagged “Etisalat Prize for Literature.” The panel of four is chaired by Pumla Gqola, an associate professor in the department of African Literature at the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa. Gqola is one of South Africa’s most influential public intellectuals and feminists. She is the author of What is Slavery to Me? Postcolonial/Slave Memory in Post-Apartheid South Africa and A Renegade Called Simphiwe.
Other great minds in the literary panel include Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Zakes Mda, and Billy Kahora. Manyika, a literature teacher at the San Francisco State University, comes with a repertoire of published essays, academic papers, book reviews and short stories. An alumnus of the University of Birmingham and Bordeaux, she completed her doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of In Dependence.
Mda is a prolific novelist,poet and playwright. He is also a founding member and serves on the advisory board of African Writers Trust. He has won major literary awards for his novels and plays including the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Africa. He was awarded an honorary doctorate of the University of Cape Town for his contributions to world literature and was a Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Ohio.
Kahora is the managing editor of the literary Journal Kwani. He completed an M.Sc in Creative Writing with a distinction as a Chevening Scholar at the University of Edinburgh in 2007 and was in 2012 announced as one of the shortlisted writers for the 2012 Caine Prize for African Writing. He was also a Regional Judge for the 2009 Commonwealths Prize.
Commenting on the choice of Judges for the award, Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Steven Evans explained that Etisalat is breathing life into the pan-African vision: “bringing together high profile writers, book critics and academics from Africa and beyond gives credence to home grown talent and encourages further participation in the world of literature.” Entries opened June 5, 2013 and would close on the 30th of August 2013. The panel will unveil their shortlisted entries in January 15, 2014, while winners will be announced in February 2014.
The Etisalat Prize for Literature is poised to celebrate new writers of African citizenship whose first book must be over 30,000 words and published within 24 months of the period of the award. Entries are now open and details on how to enter and entry forms are available online.