The shortlist for the 2017 9mobile Prize for Literature (formerly the Etisalat Prize for Literature) has been announced.
The award celebrates debut African writers of published fiction. The winner takes home £15,000 (about R250,000) and is granted a fellowship at the University of East Anglia to study creative writing.
The year the shortlist features two Nigerian authors and a South African.
2017 9mobile Prize for Literature longlist
- What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah (United Kingdom/Nigeria) (Kachifo Limited)
- Stay with Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ (Nigeria) (Canongate Books)
- Asylum by Marcus Low (South Africa) (Picador Africa)
The chair of judges, Professor Harry Garuba, says: ‘These three books embody what we would like to see coming from young African writers—fresh storylines, intriguing plots and characters you would want to meet in real life.
‘We are happy to have reached this stage. Knowing the high standards desired by the 9mobile Prize for Literature, we ensured that the adjudication process was objective, while upholding quality and relevance.
‘We congratulate 9mobile and the shortlisted writers, and note that the entire exercise we went through gives us a glimpse of an even more promising and rewarding literary industry for African writers.’
Along with Garuba, this year’s judging panel includes Doreen Baingana and Siphiwo Mahala. The judges will next choose a winner, usually announced in May.
Previous winners of the Etisalat Prize are Zimbabwe’s NoViolet Bulawayo (2013), South Africa’s Songeziwe Mahlangu (2014), Democratic Republic of Congo’s Fiston Mwanza Mujila (2015) and Jowhor Ile of Nigeria (2017).
- Read: ‘A dazzling new voice’: Olufunke Ogundimu reviews Lesley Nneka Arimah’s What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky
- Read: Professional writers need to be professional readers: Jennifer Malec chats to Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ about her debut novel, Stay With Me
- Read: Lagos, one long literary and artistic lime: Etisalat Prize judge Elinor Sisulu reflects on a trip of note