The Golden Baobab Prize 2018 shortlist was announced on December 16, 2018. No finalist will be awarded this year.
The Golden Baobab Prize, established in 2008, celebrates outstanding African writers and illustrators of children’s literature. It honours manuscripts and illustrations for children that reflect the diversity of life, experiences, and cultures across the African continent. It offers cash prizes as well as publishing opportunities to outstanding entries. Previous winners include Lori-Ann Preston and Vennessa Scholtz (2016) as well as Mary Ononokpono, Xanele Puren, and Portia Dery (2014).
This year the Golden Baobab Prize invited entries of unpublished stories and illustrations by African citizens irrespective of age, race, gender or country of origin. It received over 300 new and original stories and illustrations from 17 African countries. The Jury, made up of prominent international publishing and literary professionals, went through a rigorous process to evaluate this year’s entries. The Golden Baobab Prize 2018 Longlist was announced on December 7 for picture books, early chapter books and African illustrators.
After a lengthy deliberation process, the jury announced that the Golden Baobab Prize 2018 would offer multiple awards but no winner. They concluded that the top entries of the literature prize were more ready for editorial support and mentorship than they were ready for publication. For the illustrator prize, while there were strong entries, the jury did not find illustrations that met this year’s criteria.
The Golden Baobab Prize 2018 jury has selected four stories for the shortlist and awarded them a prize package of editorial support, in addition to connections to publishing opportunities. It has selected one illustrator for the shortlist commending them for their creative interpretation of the illustration briefs provided. Those on the shortlist are:
- The Clock Can’t Jump Through Time by Adeola Adeyemo (Nigeria) for the Golden Baobab Prize for Picture Books.
- Think Before You Act, Kuku! by Thandazile Sakhile Mpofu (Zimbabwe) for the Golden Baobab Prize for Picture Books.
- Keeper of the Gates by David Kwakye (Ghana) for the Golden Baobab Prize for Early Chapter Books.
- The Era of the Afrocubs by Ayo Oyeku (Nigeria) for the Golden Baobab Prize for Early Chapter Books.
- Elizabeth Jeffery (South Africa) for the Golden Baobab Prize for African Illustrators.
Speaking on this announcement, Golden Baobab’s Executive Director, Deborah Osei-Agyekum said: “We support the jury’s decision for the Golden Baobab Prize to announce no winner for 2018 but rather offer awards to multiple entrants. The cash award from this year’s Prize will be rolled into future years with an increased focus on publishing. Over the past 10 years, the Golden Baobab Prize has successfully matched talented African writers and illustrators to publishing opportunities for children’s books and we are committed to do more. Stories and illustrators from the Golden Baobab Prize have gone on to be published by African Bureau Stories, Penguin Random House South Africa, Oxford University Press, Quramo Publishing and Cassava Republic Press among others.”