By Amaka Abayomi
In furtherance of the search for Africa’s best début fiction writer for 2014, Etisalat Nigeria has announced a shortlist of three writers.
The shortlisted writers and their works are Nadia Davids, An Imperfect Blessing published by Random House Struik-Umuzi; Chinelo Okparanta’s Happiness Like Water published by Granta Publication and Songeziwe Mahlangu, Penumbra published by Kwela Books, Imprint of NB Publishers.
The winner of the Etisalat Prize for Literature 2014 will be presented with a cheque of £15,000, an engraved Montblanc Meisterstück and will attend the Etisalat Fellowship at the prestigious University of East Anglia, mentored by Professor Giles Foden, author of The Last King of Scotland.
Delighted at the quality of entries that has brought to the fore a strong shortlist of three contenders, the Chair, Panel of Judges, Etisalat Prize for Literature, Sarah Ladipo Manyika, said from a strong long list, the shortlist showcases untold stories from across the continent and beyond.
“The strength of the shortlist is exemplified in the panel of judges’ belief that any of the shortlisted writers would make a worthy winner.
“Whether it is Davids’ multi-generational family story set in Cape Town’s Muslim community at the dawn of the new South Africa, or Okparanta’s bittersweet tales of loss and love in Nigeria and abroad, or Mahlangu’s unflinching exploration of mental illness set in contemporary South Africa, each of these books is uniquely compelling.
“This is a shortlist that delights in the newness of the topics being explored and in the diversity of narrative form. From short stories, to the short novel, to the epic novel – each is a gem in its own right,” Manyika said.
CEO, Etisalat Nigeria, Matthew Willsher, said; “The entries are a fulfillment of Etisalat’s goal of encouraging talents and improving literacy in the African continent.