Etisalat-Prize-Longlist-BannerThe long list for the inaugural Etisalat for Literature, the first pan-African prize open solely to debut fiction writers of African citizenship, is out. The longlist to the prize judged by professor Pumla Dineo Gqola the Chair of Judges and Professor at the University of Witwaterstrand, Sarah Ladipo Manyika a writer and academic and Billy Kahora the Managing Editor of Kwani Trust was announced on Friday 20th December.

The most familiar of the names on this list have to be Noviolet Bulawayo for her book We need new names which was in the running for winning a Man Booker prize although it didn’t happen. Sadly no Kenyans made it to the list this time round :'(

The full list of eight longlisted writers is;

  • Bomboy – Yewande Omotoso (Modjaji Publishers)
  • Daughters Who Walk This Path – Yejide Kilanko (Penguin Books Canada)
  • Finding Soutbek – Karen Jennings (Holland Park Press)
  • Sarah House – Ifeanyi Ajaegbo (Bookcraft Ltd)
  • The Great Agony And Pure Laughter Of The Gods – Jamala Safari (Random House Struik)
  • The Spider King’s Daughter – Chibundu Onuzo (Faber & Faber)
  • The Spiral House – Claire Robertson (Random House Struik)
  • The Whispering Trees – Abubakar Adam Ibrahim (Parresia Publishers)
  • We Need New Names – NoViolet Bulawayo (Little, Brown and Company)

With these being longs listed the judges will now have to pick three books to make the final shortlist at a retreat in Morocco in January. The shortlisted writers, lucky buggers, will have 1,000 copies of their books purchased by Etisalat and then go on a multi-city sponsored tour will be announced on Wednesday, the 15th of January 2014. I am hoping one of those cities is Nairobi (shameless plug) so that I am able to drink some of the mula these authors are going to be rolling in from sale of the books.

After their drinking around the continent the overall winner will be announced in a huge ceremony in Lagos, Nigeria on Sunday, the 23rd of February 2014. This lucky person will receive £15,000, an engraved Montblanc Meisterstück (writers and pens) and attend an The Etisalat Fellowship at the prestigious University of East Anglia mentored by Professor Giles Foden, author of the Last King of Scotland.

I really envy those who already have awesome books out there.