Not having read any of the nine books on the longlist for 2015 Etisalat Prize, I made a completely ignorant bet on the books that would make the cut for the shortlist and purchased the following at Ake:
- Tram 83
- The Fisherman
- Shadow Self
- The Reactive
The good news is that I got one right and Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s Tram 83 does make the shortlist. The not-so-good news (for me) is that the other two books on the short list are :
- Penny Busetto (South Africa), The Story of Anna P, as Told by Herself
- Rehana Rossouw (South Africa), What Will People Say?
I will endeavor to secure the two books because I want to do a one-person shadow jury before the winner of the prize is announced in March.
On the shortlist:
I don’t have much to say except that I’m glad Tram 83 is on the list. I have heard so much about this book. I’m yet to read it though. My enthusiasm is purely demographic. Tram 83 is by a Francophone African writer. It’s broken through to the Anglophone African literary world due in part to some strong backing – Alain Mabanckou wrote the book’s introduction. Mujila’s Tram 83 is the first translated fiction on an Etisalat Prize list. Hope has sprung.
The other surprise – might be glaring for some – is the absence of Chigozie Obioma’s The Fisherman on the shortlist. The Fisherman is featured on most of the Western world’s Best of 2015 lists. There’s always that ONE African book on these lists and The Fisherman is this year’s token darling. Occasionally, you see it paired with Chinelo Okparanta’s Under the Udala Trees. Anywho.
Congratulations and good luck to the shortlisted writers.
Do come back for the Shadow Etisalat Jury.