The chairman of the judging panel of the 2016 Etisalat Prize for Literature, Helon Habila, has announced the 2016 longlist of nine books.
The longlist is made up of entries from first-time authors whose books were published in the past 24 months.
A statement from Etisalat said the longlisted books are Mr. and Mrs. Doctor by Julie Iromuanya (Coffee House Press, USA), The Yearning by Mohale Mashigo (PanMacmillan, South Africa), Piggy Boy’s Blues by Nakhane Toure (Blackbird Books imprint of Jacana Media, SA), The Peculiars by Jen Thorpe (Penguin Random House, USA), Born on a Tuesday by Elnathan John (Cassava Republic, Nigeria), And After Many Days by Jowhor Ile (Farafina an imprint of Kachifo Limited, Nigeria), Dub Steps by Andrew Miller (Jacana Media, South Africa), The Seed Thief by Jacqui L’Ange (Umuzi Publishers, South Africa) and Nwezelenga: The Star Child by Unathi Magubeni (Black Bird Books Imprint of Jacana Media, South Africa).
The Chief Executive Officer of Etisalat Nigeria, Matthew Willsher, endorsed the judges’ carefully moderated selection process, saying:
“The novels in this year’s longlist represent a good number of African publishing companies.
“Each novel reflects a very interesting and dynamic perspective that will provoke intense conversations about different personal and societal issues.”
The judging panel, comprising Nigerian novelist and poet, Helon Habila (chair), South African writer/activist Elinor Sisulu and Ivorian writer and Africa39 laureate Edwige Rene Dro, now has the task of selecting three authors for the shortlist, which was to be unveiled last month.
The winner of the 2016 Etisalat Prize for Literature will be announced in March 2017 and will receive £15,000, an engraved Montblanc Meisterstück pen, and an Etisalat-sponsored fellowship at the University of East Anglia to be mentored by renowned Professor Giles Foden, author of The Last King of Scotland.
Etisalat Prize for Literature is a pan-African prize that celebrates debut African writers of published book-length fiction.
Previous winners include Zimbabwe’s NoViolet Bulawayo in 2013 for her novel We Need New Names, South Africa’s Songeziwe Mahlangu in 2014 for Penumbra, and Democratic Republic of Congo’s Fiston Mwanza Mujila, whose book Tram 83 won the Etisalat Prize in 2015.
The Etisalat Prize for Literature also incorporates an award for Flash Fiction; an online-based competition for non-published African writers of short stories.