It was a big night for poet and novelist Fiston Mwanza Mujila on Saturday, 19th March 2016 as he was announced the winner of the 2015 Etisalat Prize for Literature for his first novel, Tram 83. Originally written in French, Tram 83 was translated into English by Roland Glasser and published by Deep Vellum.
35-year-old Mujila is the first Francophone writer to win the prestigious Etisalat Prize, the first ever pan-African prize that celebrates debut fiction books by African authors.
Fiston Mujila was announced winner by the Chair of judges, Ato Quayson, at the award ceremony held at Intercontinental Lagos Hotel, which was broadcast live on Hip TV and viewed by over 30 million people across Africa. The event was also live-streamed on the internet. Quayson was accompanied by fellow judges Molara Wood and Zukiswa Wanner.
He was presented with a £15,000 cheque, an engraved Montblanc Meisterstück and an Iphone 6S. He will also have the opportunity to attend the Etisalat Fellowship, worth £13,000, at the prestigious University of East Anglia, United Kingdom, under the mentorship of Professor Giles Foden.
It was an event to remember with all the books being been acted out by a theatre troop. There were also performances by African music superstars Asa and Darey and a poetry presentation by Efe Paul Azino.
Also at the event were prize winners of a competition that we here at JamesMurua.com where readers of this blog could attend the festival for free. This is what Olaolu Victor one of the winners had to say about the whole ceremony;
The 2015 edition of the Etisalat Prize for Literature has set another milestone and witnessed a groundbreaking success across Africa; leaving the writers and literary audience with an experience that is truly African and creatively inspiring. While not only uniting Africans around the values of diversity in literature and excellent storytelling, theEtisalat Prize encourages the culture of originality among emerging African writers. The twin events (book reading and the awards ceremony) that marked the 2015 edition of the literary prize was nothing short of phenomenal. The Book Reading which preceded the Awards gave the African audience a close-up encounter with the shortlisted writers in South Africa, Kenya, and Lagos, Nigeria.
To wrap up what was an amazing awards ceremony that presented the literary ingenuity of South Africa’s Penny Busetto (The Story of Anna P as Told by Herself), Rehana Rossouw (What Will People Say) and Dr Congo’s Fiston Mujila (Tram 83) to the audience through live stage adaptations of their shortlisted books and later presenting Dr Congo’s Fiston Mujila Tram 83 as the winner of Africa’s most prestigious literary prize, the air was lit with stellar performances by Nigeria’s Darey and Asa.
Thanks to James Murua for the invite to attend the book reading.
Here are more images and videos from the glam event.