Renowned writer and chair of the judging panel of the 2016 Etisalat Prize for Literature, Helon Habila has described Etisalat Prize for Literature as a strategic initiative for developing the publishing industry in Africa.
Speaking after announcing the longlist for the 2016 Etisalat Prize for Literature at the fourth edition of Etisalat-sponsored Ake Arts and Book Festival in Abeokuta, he said the Etisalat Prize has been impactful on African literary landscape.
Habila told the gathering of eminent writers, poets, literary and art enthusiasts who graced the weeklong Art and Book Festival, that “the Etisalat Prize for Literature in its fourth year has made significant impact in encouraging new writer and in revamping the publishing industry in Africa.”
Also speaking at the festival, Director, Brands & Experience, Etisalat Nigeria, Elvis Ogiemwanye said Etisalat Nigeria is proud to be one of the major sponsors of Ake Arts and Book Festival. “We sponsor Ake Arts and Book Festival because it shares Etisalat’s vision of promoting and nurturing talents and providing a platform for Africans to communicate ideas and tell their own stories”.
He added that in line with the telco’s commitment to talent development in the areas of arts and literature in Africa, Etisalat created the Etisalat Prize for Literature as a pan-Africa literary prize which identifies and celebrates first time writers of published fiction books.
“The Etisalat Prize aims to serve as a platform for the discovery of new creative talent out of the continent and invariably the promotion of the growing publishing industry in Africa”, Ogiemwanye stated.
He noted that the Etisalat Prize for Literature is unique because it promotes the publishing industry by purchasing 1000 copies of all shortlisted books which will be donated to schools, book clubs and libraries across Africa.
Director, Ake Arts and Book Festival, Lola Shoneyin thanked Etisalat Nigeria, other sponsors and visitors for their support and attendance, and expressed joy that the festival has grown in leaps and bound over the short period of time.
“Ake Arts and Book Festival is what it is today because of you our sponsors, resource persons and visitors. You have given us your time and shared your passion for the advancement of the arts and literature in our continent”, she said.