The judging panel of the 2018 edition of the 9mobile Prize for Literature has unveiled a longlist of nine books from a strong array of authors from across the continent who entered for the prize following the announcement for the call for entries made earlier in the year by Nigeria’s most innovative telecommunications company, 9mobile.
The longlist is made up of entries received from first-time African writers whose books were published within the last 24 months before the call for entries. Now in its fifth year, the Prize is already acknowledged as the most prestigious literary prize for African fiction.
The nine books that made the longlist are:
Aniete Isong – Radio Sunrise
Ayobami Adebayo – Stay with Me
Bronwyn Law – Viljoen- The Printmaker
David Cornwell – Like It Matters
Lesley Nneka Arimah – What It Means When a Man Falls Down from the Sky
Marcus Low- Asylum
Mukuka Chipanta – A Casualty of Power
Odafe Atogun – Taduno’s Song
Qarnita Loxtan – Being Kari
In his comments, Chair of the Judging Panel, Harry Garuba noted that the books entered in the 2018 9mobile Prize for Literature testify to the abundance of talented new voices emerging from the African continent.
“The entries range through a variety of themes and preoccupations that mirror the expanse and diversity of the continent. The care and craft that the authors bring to the exploration of their chosen themes show a level of skill and artistry not often found in first works of fiction. These works give us a glimpse of the exciting literary landscapes ahead for African fiction” he said.
Director, Brand and Experience, 9mobile, Elvis Ogiemwanye expressed his delight at reaching this stage of the Prize and commended the judges saying, “the Prize is what it is today because of the independence and competence of the judging panel, whose rich and varied experience boosts the entire process”.
He also revealed that this edition of the Prize marks the fifth year the telco has sustained this platform that celebrates the richness and strength of African literature, which the 9mobile Prize for Literature is designed to promote.
Following the longlist unveil, the judges, poet, writer and teacher, Harry Garuba, writer Doreen Baingana and writer Siphiwo Mahala now have the tough task of screening the books even further to arrive at the shortlist of three finalists ahead of the grand finale/award ceremony in 2018.
The shortlisted writers will have copies of their books purchased by 9mobile for distribution to schools, libraries and book clubs across the African continent, while the winner receives £15,000, an engraved Montblanc Meisterstück pen, and a 9mobile-sponsored fellowship at the University of East Anglia, where he or she will be mentored by Professor Giles Foden, internationally renowned literature teacher and author of The Last King of Scotland.