The Etisalat Prize for Literature, a new “Pan-African literary prize created to recognize and reward debut fiction writers in Africa”, announced its inaugural shortlist on January 22, 2014.
The shortlisted books are:
- Bom Boy by Yewande Omotoso
- Finding Soutbet by Karen Jennings
- We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo
The winner will be announced on February 23, 2014.
I’m thinking about a Shadow Etisalat where I read all three books and pick the best one before the Prize announces the winner. Gotta get my hands on the books! Bom Boy was reviewed here by Nana Darkoa. We should all by now have heard about the Booker-shortlisted We Need New Names. Finding Soutbet is new to me but it sounds really interesting. I was hoping The Spider King’s Daughter, one of nine on the longlist, would have made the cut.
I’m excited about this prize. The challenge is getting one’s hands on debuts published in other African countries. Cue the usual concerns about cross border trade in cultural products….
This prize stretches the definition of ‘Pan-African” since to be considered, books have to be published in English. Also cue concerns of an increasing Anglophone exclusion of non-English cultural products on the continent… Let’s hope the criteria is expanded in future years.
Members of the three-member judging panel are: Billy Kahora, Pumla Dineo Gqola and Sarah Ladipo Manyika. (Read my review of Ladipo Manyika’s In Dependence here).
Good luck to the three writers!
Your thoughts on the shortlist? The Prize?