Who Wins Etisalat Prize For Literature Today?

By Uche Peter

Lagos, Nigeria; March 14, 2016: After several weeks of speculations and projections following the release of the three books that made the shortlist of the third edition of the prestigious Etisalat Prize for Literature, the eventual winner is set to be unveiled today at the awards ceremony holding in Lagos, Nigeria’s entertainment centre.

The three books in contention for the pan-Africa Prize are The Story of Anna P, as Told by Herself by South Africa’s Penny Busetto, Tram 83 by Democratic Republic of Congo’s Fiston Mwanza Mujila and What Will People Say? by Rehana Rossouw, a South African.

To get to this stage, the three had beaten off competition from six other authors who made the longlist roll. This process was mid-wifed by a body of panellists chaired by Professor Ato Quayson, Professor of English and inaugural Director of the Centre for Diaspora Studies at the University of Toronto with Molara Wood, writer, journalist, critic and editor and Zukiswa Wanner, author of Men of the South and London Cape Town Joburg as members.

Commenting on the stand-out qualities that defined the choice of the three contenders, chair of judges, Professor Ato Quayson, said the variety of styles and subject matter of the shortlisted books reveal the vitality of contemporary African literature.

“They contribute to our understanding of what it is to love, to laugh, to improvise, sometimes to despair, to know and yet be fooled by the assurance of such knowledge, to work for our ablution in the fate of another's suffering, and ultimately to embrace life in all its bewildering complexities, ” he further posited.

The winner of the 2015 Etisalat Prize for Literature will receive a £15,000 cash prize, an engraved Montblanc Meisterstück pen and a high end device. The winner will also attend the Etisalat Fellowship at the University of East Anglia under the mentorship of Giles Foden. The Etisalat Prize for Literature also aims to promote the publishing industry at large and will therefore purchase 1000 copies of all shortlisted books to be donated to various schools, book clubs and libraries across the African continent.

This year’s Award Ceremony will embody the theme Representing the Diversity of African Voices by showcasing the richness of Africa and how her diversity converges into one unique voice of the continent. It promises to be an exciting event with performances ranging from poetry, monologues and musical performances by Darey and Asa.