Meet Etisalat prize top authors

Top African authors of the Etisalat prize talk about their work. NoViolet Bulawayo (Zimbabwe) author of We Need New Names, Yewande Omotoso (Nigeria/ South Africa) author of Bom Boy and Karen Jennings (South Africa) author of Finding Soutbek meet the public in Nairobi. Their talks, organised by the Kwani Trust, are part of the three-city African tour for the authors who were shortlisted for the 2013 prize.

The first Etisalat prize, which was won by NoViolet Bulawayo, is a Pan-African literary award for debut African writers of fiction published in the previous year. The prize, launched in 2013 by Etisalat Nigeria, part of the Emirates telecommunications corporation, was awarded for the first time in 2014. Its purpose is to discover and encourage new African writers and to promote the continent’s publishing industry.

In addition to the £15,000 cash prize the winner is also awarded a fellowship at the University of East Anglia in the UK, and is invited to tour three African cities with other short-listed authors. Etisalat also buys 1,000 copies of each shortlisted book for libraries, schools and book clubs in order to support the publishing industry.

Six of the nine finalists for the first 2013 Etisalat prize were women, five were Nigerians and three of the nine publishers were non-African, but all three were partners with an African publisher as stipulated in the Etisalat prize regulations.

Bulawayo, whose We Need New Names was also short listed for the 2013 Man Booker, is unable to take up the fellowship at East Anglia because of her present commitments at Stanford University and has therefore made over the fellowship part of her award (worth £10,000) to the runner-up Yewande Omotoso.

Entries for next year’s prize must be submitted by 8 August 2014. The long list is announced in November and the short list in December. The winner is announced in February 2015. On 28 June the meeting with the authors takes place in the Louis Leaky Auditorium, National Museums and on 29 June at the Kwani Trust offices garden, Riverside Drive.