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Judges selected for Etisalat literature prize

15 July 2014, 09:48

Abuja - Etisalat Nigeria has announced the names of members of the judging panel for the second edition of its prestigious literary prize the Etisalat Prize for Literature.

The panel consists of renowned Nigerian writer Sarah Ladipo Manyika, award winning British/Sudanese writer Jamal Mahjoub, prolific Francophone writer, Alain Mabanckou, and Zimbabwean writer and filmmaker, Tsitsi Dangarembga.

Matthew Willsher, Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, said the judges for this year’s prize are some of the most respected individuals in the literary world and they will bring in diverse experiences and expertise to the judging panel.

“What is most exciting is that we have a very diverse panel that will bring in their individual perspectives to the judging process. They are an accomplished panel with vast amount of experience in the creative writing world,” he said.

The leader of the judges, Manyika holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and currently teaches literature at San Francisco State University.

Her writing includes essays, academic papers, reviews and short stories.

Her first novel, Independence, is published by Legend Press (London) and Cassava Republic Press (Abuja). Sarah was one of the inaugural Judges for Etisalat Prize for Literature 2013.

Mahjoub is an award winning writer of mixed British/Sudanese heritage.

Born in London, he was raised in Khartoum where the family remained until 1990.

He is also an award-winning novelist, translator and essayist.

Mahjoub reflect on notions of ancient Egypt in modern life and art. He was awarded a scholarship to study in England and attended the University of Sheffield.

He has lived in various countries including the UK, Denmark and currently, Spain. He writes in English and has published seven novels under his own name.

In 2012, Mahjoub began writing a series of crime fiction novels under the pseudonym Parker Bilal.

Mabanckou is considered to be one of the most talented and prolific writers in the French language today and the first francophone sub-Saharan African writer to be published by Gallimard in its prestigious "collection" called La Blanche.

 He is mostly known for his novels, notably Verre Cassé (BROKEN GLASS) which was unanimously praised by the press, critics and readers alike.

In 2006 he published Memoires de porc-épic (Memoirs of a Porcupine) which garnered him the Prix RENAUDOT, one of the highest distinctions in literature written in French. His novels are published in more than fifteen languages.

Dangarembga is a contemporary African feminist. She published a short story in Sweden entitled “The Letter” and in 1987, she published a play in Harare entitled “She No Longer Weeps.”

Her real success came at age twenty-five with the publication of her novel Nervous Conditions. This novel was the first to be published in English by a black Zimbabwean woman.

In 1989, Nervous Conditions won her the African section of the Commonwealth Writers Prize.

She had made many film productions, including a documentary for German television. She made the film entitled Everyone’s Child in 1996.

It was shown worldwide at various festivals including the Dublin Film Festival. In 2006, she published The Book of Not: A Sequel to Nervous Conditions.

Now in its second year, the Etisalat Prize for Literature is the first Pan-African prize for debut fiction writers of African citizenship.

The Prize was launched in June 2013 and has become one of Africa’s most prestigious literary prizes for fiction.

Zimbabwean NoViolet Bulawayo was the winner of the maiden edition with her debut Fiction novel Bom Boy.

She received £15000 in Prize money and a fellowship at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom which she gifted to runner-up Yewande Omotoso.

The Etisalat Prize for Literature is the first ever pan-African prize to applaud first time writers of published fiction.

The Etisalat Prize was founded in June 2013 and has a board of patrons which include some of Africa’s finest intellectuals.

Submitted works for the prize must be the writer’s first fiction book of over 30 000 words and published within the last twenty-four months.

The winner of the prize receives £15 000 and an Etisalat sponsored Fellowship at the prestigious University of East Anglia.

- CAJ News

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