The Etisalat Prize for African literature has announced a new panel judges for 2014. With last year’s former judge Sarah Ladipo Manyika remaining as Chair for continuity she is joined by Alain Mabanckou, Jamal Mahjoub and Tsitsi Dangarembga.
We knew Sarah Ladipo as one of the judges for the previous edition of the inaugural judging list alongside previous chair Prof Pumla Gqola the Wits professor of literature and Billy Kahora of Kwani Trust and the multiple Caine Prize nominee with his hilarious own fan page on Facebook. That panel gave us Noviolet Bulawayo as the winner of the first Etisalat prize for the African writing for a first full length novel for her book We Need New Names.
Nigerian Sarah Ladipo Manyika has a written a lot; published essays, academic papers, book reviews and short stories. Her first novel In Dependence was published by in the UK by Legend Press and in Africa by Cassava Republic Press and was featured for Black History Month by the UK’s largest book store chain. She currently teaches literature at the San Francisco State University.
Alain Mabanckou was born in Congo-Brazzaville in 1966 and the prolific writer in French has his novels published in more than fifteen languages. His of his most famous novels is Verre Cassé (Broken Glass) which was unanimously praised by the press, critics and readers alike. He is also the first francophone sub-Saharan African writer to be published by Gallimard in its prestigious “collection” called La Blanche. His 2006 book Memoires de porc-épic (Memoirs of a Porcupine) garnered him the Prix RENAUDOT, one of the highest distinctions in literature written in French. He is currently a professor of French and Francophone studies at the University of California-Los Angeles.
Jamal Mahjoub was born in London and was raised in Khartoum where the family remained until 1990. He is an award-winning novelist, translator and essayist with seven novels under his own name and a series of crime fiction novels under the pseudonym Parker Bilal.
Tsitsi Dangarembga was born in Zimbabwe in 1959. In 1985, she published a short story in Sweden entitled “The Letter” and in 1987, she published a play in Harare entitled “She No Longer Weeps.” The publication of her debut novel, Nervous Conditions, in 1988 signalled a new era of African female writing. It is an exquisitely crafted story of gender and class in post-colonial Zimbabwe, and won the 1989 Commonwealth Writers Prize. Tsitsi Dangaremgba is also a successful filmmaker with productions such as “Kare Kare Zvako” (Mother’s Day) and Everyone’s Child which she co-scripted and directed in 1996. It was shown worldwide at various festivals including the Dublin Film Festival. In 2006, she published The Book of Not, a sequel to Nervous Conditions.