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‘Dusty Manuscript Contest’ for unpublished writers

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In an era when the use of social media and web technology has taken over the reading culture and book publishing in Nigeria, thus compelling some authors and publishers to embrace online platform, there are still some unheard writers whose works may have garnered dust as a result of inability to meet the requirements of both media. Majority of those who fall into this category are upcoming writers that still have their scripts intact.

*From left: Eghosa Imasuen; Enajite Efemuaye, Managing Editor, Farafina; Oyinade Adegite, Assistant General Manager/Head, Communication and External Affairs, GTBank; Toni Kan; Okechukwu Ofili, Chief Executive Officer, Okadabooks during the press conference in Lagos.

On a rescue mission, therefore, to give visibility to this group and launch them into limelight, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, through its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative, decided to launch the Dusty Manuscript Contest to give budding writers the opportunity to win publishing deals for their finished, but yet-to-be published, manuscripts.

Unveiling the initiative in Lagos on February 7 at Herbert Macaulay Library, Yaba, GTB in partnership with Okadabooks and Farafina Publishing companies said the contest is part of the institution’s ‘YouREAD’ initiative which is aimed at promoting the culture of reading in Nigeria.

Speaking at the briefing, Okechukwu Ofili said it is an initiative proposed by Okadabooks on how to showcase writers who have never been published, give everyone opportunity to be heard and let Nigerian readers in on good stories that have gathered dust over time. The prize money, he said, may not count much but to get published, which is every writer’s dream, is more important than the money. “It is a maiden edition we intend to sustain.”

Dr. Imasuen clarified that the project is about unpublished manuscripts and not unpublished writers; and that the competition will be based on general fiction genre with quality. Laying emphasis on romance, crime, and fantasy, Imasuen said that a good fictional work by a Nigerian writer will be accepted. “It is a prized competition we hope to use to discover new writers.”

Entries in the competition is expected to produce about 25 book authors under which the top three entries will be rewarded with publishing contracts with Farafina as well as cash rewards. The top 10 entries will get their books e-published by Okadabooks, including book cover design, book editing, and publicity. The authors will also get a two-day boot camp training on writing, marketing and branding.

Commenting on the Dusty Manuscript Contest, Mr Segun Agbaje, the Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, said: “At GTBank, we see art as not just a medium for creative expression but also as a means of livelihood, and by organising the Dusty Manuscript Contest, we are helping budding writers make a living off their works. By addressing the major barrier that our indigenous writers face in sharing their stories with the world, we hope to inspire and develop the next generation of award-winning and globally renowned authors.”

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