By Japhet Alakam
Winner of the 2016 edition of the Etisalat Prize for Literature, Africa’s most prestigious literature Prize, will be announced on May 20, 2017 at a grand finale/award presentation ceremony which will hold at the upscale Balmoral Hall, Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The winner will be selected from the three shortlisted authors: Jacqui L’Ange author of The Seed Thief; Jowhor Ile, author of And After Many Days, and Julie Iromuanya, author of Mr & Mrs Doctor.
Speaking about the grand finale, the Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Matthew Willsher, said that apart from being the climax of a series of milestones that makes the Prize unique, the award presentation further underscores Etisalat’s unwavering commitment to the development of African literature.
“The Etisalat Prize entails a rigorous process which the winner and the two runners-up have endured. We are elated by the thoroughness of the entire process; from the call for entries, the longlist, the shortlist and finally, the award ceremony where the winner will be unveiled. We thank the judging panel for their fair evaluation of the entries and commitment that has resulted in the uncovering of a literary talent in fiction writing that Africa can boast of”, he stated.
As a prelude to the award presentation ceremony, Etisalat will organize a series of literary events including book reading sessions, book donations, a flash fiction training workshop, media visits and interviews aimed at connecting the three finalists with literary enthusiasts in key cities across Africa.
The Winner of the Etisalat Prize will receive £15,000, an engraved Montblanc Meisterstück pen and a high-end device. The winner will also attend the Etisalat-sponsored fellowship at the University of East Anglia under the mentorship of Giles Foden an English author best known for his novel The Last King of Scotland.
In addition, the winner and the two runners-up will also participate in a multi-city book tour sponsored by Etisalat thereby earning global recognition. Another big plus for the shortlisted authors is that Etisalat will purchase 1,000 copies of their books for distribution to schools, libraries and book clubs across the African continent.
The Panel of Judges for the 2016 Etisalat Prize for Literature is chaired by multiple award-winning writer, Helon Habila who is currently an Associate Professor of creative writing at George Mason University, United States. Others are Ivorian writer and translator, Edwige-Renée Dro and Zimbabwean-born South African writer, Elinor Sisulu.