Etisalat Literature Prize Will Stimulate Reading Culture....Lagos Deputy Governor

By Uche Peter

Lagos, Nigeria; March 24, 2016: The Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. (Mrs) Idiat Oluranti Adebule has identified the Etisalat Prize for Literature as a leading driver of literary development in the continent. The Deputy Governor made the assertion while speaking at the Awards Ceremony for the 2015 edition of the Etisalat Prize for Literature held in Lagos at the weekend.

Dr. Adebule, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Education District 1, Lagos, Dr. (Mrs) Yinka Ayandele, commended Etisalat for instituting the Pan-African Literature Prize and posited that it would boost the reading culture as well as writing skills of youths and students in the continent.

Her words, “Let me commend the management of Etisalat Nigeria for instituting this laudable Literature Prize since 2013. It is indeed a demonstration of commitment to the promotion of African Literature and creative writing which could bring Africa out of poverty as we are in a knowledge-based economy. This initiative is the best way to enhance the reading culture and help develop the writing skills of our youths and students. It will also bring them to limelight in order to be recognized as potential literary giants in the mould of legendary Chinua Achebe, Prof. Wole Soyinka, Ngugi wa Thiango, amongst others.”

Poet and novelist from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Fiston Mwanza Mujila, emerged the winner of the 2015 Etisalat Prize for Literature for his debut fiction novel, Tram 83. Mujila was rewarded with a £15,000 cheque, an engraved Montblanc Meisterstück and an iPhone 6s. He will also attend the Etisalat Fellowship at the prestigious University of East Anglia, United Kingdom, under the mentorship of Professor Giles Foden, author of The Last King of Scotland.

The novel, Tram 83, originally written in French, was translated into English by Roland Glasser and published by Deep Vellum. Fiston Mwanza Mujila is the first Francophone writer to win the prestigious Etisalat Prize for Literature, the first ever pan-African prize that celebrates debut fiction books by African authors.

The Chief Executive Officer of Etisalat Nigeria, Matthew Willsher, while speaking at the event said, ““We are delighted again to celebrate the richness and strength of African literature. Etisalat Prize for Literature bears out this year’s theme, ‘Representing the Diversity of African Voices’. Diversity is somehow wonderful in its own right, but its importance is not for its intangible beauty, it is that diversity is a huge source of innovation. Africa's diversity is increasingly recognised as it brings new approaches to world literature. .”

Kuti Ojuolape Modupe was also announced winner of the Flash Fiction category of the Etisalat Prize. She received 1,000 Pounds and a high-end device.