Lagos, Nigeria; June 23, 2015: Fastest growing and most innovative telecommunications company Etisalat Nigeria, has announced members of the judging panel who will decide the winner of the 2015 Etisalat Prize for Literature. The judging panel will be chaired by Professor Ato Quayson a Professor of English and inaugural Director of the Centre for Diaspora Studies at the University of Toronto; completing the panel is Molara Wood, writer, blogger, journalist, critic and editor and Zukiswa Wanner, author of The Madam and Men of the South.
Commenting on the choice of judges for the prize, Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Matthew Willsher stated that Etisalat carried out extensive research and consultation in deciding the choice of judges for this year, and also expressed the belief that the selected judges will bring their experience to bear on the Etisalat Prize for Literature. The judges, he said, will have the responsibility to develop the long list of nine novels as well as a shortlist of three novels before finally selecting a winner. Submission of entries are ongoing, having opened June 18, 2015 and would close on the 27th of August 2015.
The Etisalat prize is designed to foster writing in Africa, bring exciting new African writers to the attention of a wider audience, and promote a reading culture within the continent while also telling the African story. The winner will receive a cash prize of £15,000 in addition to a fellowship at the prestigious University of East Anglia, UK under the mentorship of the award-winning author, Professor Giles Foden. The winner will also receive a sponsored three-city book tour. In addition, the two other shortlisted writers will receive a sponsored two-city book tour to promote their books. The Etisalat Prize for Literature also supports publishers by purchasing 1000 copies of the shortlisted books for distribution within the continent.
This prize accepts submitted works which must be a writer’s first work of fiction with over 30,000 words, and published within the last 24 months. The Etisalat Prize will also launch the online based flash fiction prize later in the year to engage the rising stars of fiction.
Rules and guidelines for entry are available at prize.etisalat.com.ng
Profile of Etisalat Prize for Literature Judges
Professor Ato Quayson
Professor Ato Quayson is Professor of English and inaugural Director of the Centre for Diaspora Studies at the University of Toronto. He studied at the University of Ghana and the University of Cambridge and was also a Fellow of Pembroke College, Director of the Centre for African Studies, and on the Faculty of English at Cambridge. He was the 2011/12 Distinguished Cornille Visiting Professor in the Humanities at the Newhouse Centre at Wellesley College; he held research fellowships at Wolfson College, Oxford (1994/95) and at the Du Bois Institute for African-American Studies at Harvard (2004). He is a Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Royal Society of Canada.
Molara Wood is a writer, editor, journalist, blogger and critic. A former art columnist for the Lagos Guardian, she won the inaugural John La Rose Memorial Short Story Competition; and received an award from the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association. As Arts and Culture Editor of NEXT Newspaper (2008 to 2011), she steered a groundbreaking weekly supplement on the arts. More recently she served as Special Assistant on Documentation to Nigeria’s former President Jonathan. A culture activist, she is involved in many artistic projects in collaboration with groups and organisations, including the Africa Movie Academy (AMA) and the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF). She is the author of Indigo, a collection of short stories.
Zukiswa Wanner is the author of the novel The Madams (2006) shortlisted for the South African Literary Award’s K. Sello Duiker Award; Behind Every Successful Man (2008); Men of the South (2010) shortlisted for the Commonwealth Best Book Africa Region 2011; London Cape Town Joburg (2014). Her short story The Dress That Fed the Suit was selected as one of the top 20 stories in South Africa’s 20 years of democracy (1994-2014) and she was selected as one of the top 39 sub-Saharan African writers under 40 (Africa39). She co-edited the African-Asian anthology Behind the Shadows (2012) with Indian author/editor Rohini Chowdhury and co-authored the Mandela home biography 8115: A Prisoner’s Home (2010) with the late veteran photographer, Alf Kumalo.
Wanner has facilitated writing workshops in South Africa, Uganda, Denmark, Germany, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania and Ghana. She sits on the board of the continental writing initiative, Writivism.