Many children around the world see themselves in the books they read but African children rarely do. ( Golden Baobab website)
The many challenges that plaque the creation, publishing, marketing and distribution of adult fiction in Africa grind the production of children’s literature to a halt on the continent.
Most books meant for children are not well-written, are badly illustrated and aren’t culturally relevant. Most cannot excite the imagination of young readers. Ghana shares three borders with French-speaking African countries but I don’t have a single translated children’s book from even La Côte d’Ivoire.
Golden Baobab works to address some of these challenges. It “ fuels the global imagination through African children’s literature by discovering, training and enabling writers and illustrators to produce beautiful books for African children and young adults”.
Their flagship program, the annual Golden Baobab Prize for Children’s Literature, “ rewards the best writers and illustrators on the African continent with a prestigious award and cash prize”.
The categories for this year’s awards are:
- The Picture Book Prize awards $1,000 to the best story written for readers ages 6 – 8;
- The Early Chapter Book Prize awards $1,000 to the best story written for readers 9 – 11;
- The Rising Writer Prize awards $1,000 to the most promising young writer below the age of 18.
The award scheme is open to eligible African writers. Deadline for submissions is 11:59pm GMT Sunday, July 14, 2013. Please visit the Prize’s page for more information: About the Prize.
Please spread the word and do distribute the 2013 Poster on the Prize. If you are eligible for the Prize, do consider writing for it. Most importantly, please encourage young African writers to submit to the prize. Golden Baobab’s dream is to see stellar African children’s literature sold anywhere in the world. Our support is needed to realize this dream!
Good news about the prize! It’s sad that children grow up reading other people’s stories and not seeing themselves represented. Literature is an important part of a child’s development and sense of power and agency, and so I hope this prize goes some way towards addressing the lack of available, culturally relevant children’s books in Africa.
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