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The 2015 Etisalat Prize for Literature Longlist has been Released – Including 6 South Africans

The Story of Anna P, as Told by HerselfWhat About MeeraBy Any MeansShadow SelfThe ReactiveWhat Will People Say
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Alert! The longlist for the 2015 Etisalat Prize for Literature has been revealed, including six South African authors.

The Etisalat Prize is awarded annually to a work of first fiction of over 30 000 words, published in the last 24 months and written by authors of African citizenship. Zimbabwean NoViolet Bulawayo won the inaugural Etisalat Prize for We Need New Names in 2013, and Songeziwe Mahlangu won the 2014 edition for Penumbra.

The third annual Etisalat Prize comes with prize money of £15 000 (about R325 000) and a fellowship at the University of East Anglia under the mentorship of Professor Giles Foden, the award-winning author of The Last King of Scotland.

The 2015 Etisalat Prize longlist of nine books is:

Heading up this year’s judging panel is literary critic Ato Quayson from Ghana, director of the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies at the University of Toronto, Canada. Joining him on the panel are writer, editor and journalist Molara Wood from Nigeria and our very own Zukiswa Wanner, journalist and author of, among other titles, London – Cape Town – Joburg.

Judging Panel’s comments:

Professor Ato Quayson: “The range of submissions for the Etisalat Prize this represents the vitality of literary writing on the continent, and the longlist is a selective showcase of the best to be found. The subjects covered in the longlist are so fascinating and varied that it would take another novel just to describe them all. Magnificent!”

Zukiswa Wanner: “The books on the longlist evoked many emotions in me as a judge and as a reader for the originality of their plots and the beauty of the language used. I know I shall be revisiting and gifting to friends many of them long after the winner has been announced.”

Molara Wood: “The longlisted books push the boundaries in their themes and inventive use of language. This is a rich array of bold new writing on what it means to be human in the world today, by irresistible African voices.”

The judges now have the task of selecting a shortlist of three at a retreat in the Seychelles in December. The shortlisted writers will go on a multi-city sponsored tour to be announced in December 2015 and will also have 1,000 copies of their books purchased by Etisalat for distribution to schools, libraries and book clubs across the Continent.

Penny Busetto, longlisted for The Story of Anna P, as Told by Herself, was recently awarded the 2014/15 University of Johannesburg Debut Prize. ZP Dala recently won the Inaugural Minara Aziz Hassim Literary Award for What About Meera.

Elsa Silke’s Afrikaans translation of Shadow Self, Skaduself, won the 2015 South African Translator’s Institute (SATI) Award.

The French original of Tram 83 was a French Voices 2014 grant recipient and won the Grand Prix du Premier Roman des SGDL, and was shortlisted for numerous other awards, including the Prix du Monde. The novel was translated by Robert Glasser, winning a 2015 PEN Translates Award.

Chigozie Obioma’s The Fishermen is perhaps the most high-profile debut on the list, having already been shortlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Prize and winning the inaugural FT/OppenheimerFunds Emerging Voices Fiction Award. He’s also currently in the running for a Goodreads Choice Award.

The Etisalat Prize for Literature is unique in that it also aims to promote the publishing industry at large and will therefore purchase 1000 copies of all shortlisted books which will be donated to various schools, book clubs and libraries across the African continent.

Etisalat Prize history:

Book details


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