Awards Outstanding African literary awards 2016

We present to you the outstanding literary awards 2016.

2016 has been an amazing year for the African literary community. The books have been coming in droves from new literary stars with awards old and new recognizing them and literary festivals giving them a platform.

Here is a snapshot of 2016 with both our favourites and those we think are deserving of recognition. We have divided them into categories like books, authors, festivals and more.  If you have another suggestion to make we will be happy to consider it; put it on the comments or contact us.

>> Books

  • Poetry collection of the year: The Headline That Morning & Other Poems by Kagayi Peter
  • Crime Fiction novel: Easy Motion Tourist by Leye Adenle
  • Speculative Fiction: Azotus The Kingdom By Shadreck Chikoti.
  • Book cover of the year (sponsored by Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (so many options from our pal BookshyBooks)
  • Overall Book: Season of Crimson Blossom by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim
  • Anthology: Water by Short Story Day Africa
  • Short Story Collection: Affluenza by Niq Mhlongo
  • Bridecode Whistleblower book: UNsilenced by Rasna Warah.
  • Outstanding Kenyan novel 2016: Ghosts of 1894 by Jagero Oduor.

> Authors and other players

Egyptian Novelist Ahmed Naji
Egyptian Novelist Ahmed Naji
  • Most imprisoned author: Ahmed Naji who was only released this month after being in jail for the most dubious of reasons. That was the worst.
  • Most stylish author (sponsored reluctantly by Taiye Selasie (traffic is coming my way people!)
  • Reviewer of the year: Joel B Nevender beats out so many good reviewers.
  • Most nominated author: Elnathan John with Born on a Tuesday.
  • Most money won in a year for one book: Abubakar Adam Ibrahim.
  • Breakout star: Moses Kilolo of Jalada Africa
  • Most travelled author: Zukiswa Wanner
  • Death of a Library: Elechi Amadi (in June). May he RIP.

>> Literary Awards

Pan African Prizes

Fiston Mwanza Mujila

National Prizes

John Habwe and Ng'ang'a Mbugua
John Habwe and Ng’ang’a Mbugua

Literary Festivals

  • Literary Festival of the year: Again this was difficult as a mother but “Abantu Book Festival’s” euphoric entry into the market just pips Ake Festival.
  • New Literary Festival of the year: Rutanang Literary Festival, Tlokwe, South Africa.
  • Poetry Festival of the year: Lagos International Poetry Festival.
  • Most surprising location for a literary festival: Mogadishu Literary Festival, Somalia.
  • Fastest loss of voice by a festival curator: usually this one goes to Lola Shoneyin but this year’s record went to Panashe Chigumadzi who lost her voice on the night BEFORE the opening ceremony of her festival.
  • Most local language used at a festival: Hargeisa International Literary Festival (Somali in case you are wondering).
  • Most successful relocation of a festival: Storymoja Festival. Kenya to Ghana.
  • Most selfies by a festival headliner: Our poor Ngugi Wa Thiong’o at Ake Festival, Nigeria.
  • Festival closing party: Rutanang Literary Festival.
  • Most banana based food eaten at a festival: Writivism Festival, Kampala.
  • Most fire filled festival panel: Kadaria Ahmed moderating Teju Cole and Helon Habila. Fire! Watch it below. (starts at 0.52 minutes)

  • Poetry performance at a festival: It was close .Titolope’s performance at Ake Festival was on point but this one has to go to Koleka Putuma for Water. Here is the official video that the performance referenced below;



Abidjan Lit Collective
Abidjan Lit Collective
  • Language Champions Overall: Jalada Africa.
  • French Champion: Abidjan Lit
  • Arabic Champion:
  • Portuguese Champion: Mozambique’s Festival Fim do Caminho.
  • Kiswahili Champion: Ken Walibora for Tuzo ya Fasihi ya Ubunifu.
  • Lingala Champion: Richard Ali Mutu.
  • Yoruba Champion: Kola Tubosun for
  • Setswana Champion: Sabata-Mpho Mokae.
  • Shona Champion: Masimba Musodza

> Others

Thando Mgqolozana
Thando Mgqolozana
  • Most navel gazing interview: This turd wins it. No other contenders.
  • Radio show of the year: Classic FM 97.3 #BookOnReview (Nigeria)
  • TV show of the year: Channels Book Club (Nigeria).
  • Best new blog: (Since discontinued).
  • Podcast of the year: longstorySHORT.
  • Blog of the year: We won’t do it.
  • Instagram account of the year: Bagus Mutendi.
  • Facebook Status of the year: This was hard. Ricard Oduor Oduku had a worthy status but this one has to go to the man of the moment Thando Mgqolozana’s epic Easter status.
  • Most likely to tag you on Facebook: Alexander Ikawah. The multiple Commonwealth Short Story Prize shortlistee is notorious for tagging you and 99 other people as he outlines a position he feels strongly about.
  • Scandal of the year: Redscar Macodindo K’oyuga when it emerged that he is a serial plagiarist.
  • Book Club of the year: Text Book Centre Book Club. Since its debut in Nairobi this year, hundreds have attended the monthly meetings that have happened every second Saturday.
  • Movie from a book: The Whale Caller by Zakes Mda.

By James Murua

This blog is run by James Murua a Nairobi, Kenya based lover of books.

4 replies on “ Outstanding African literary awards 2016”

[…] This will not be the first time that some of these writers have been featured on this blog. Abu Amirah for instance was a mentee last year and got to the shortlist of the Writivism Short Story Prize 2016. Kafula Mwila featured in the Caine Prize workshop that happened in Zambia last March. Caiphus Mmino Mangenela was the winner of the Bessie Head Short Story competition last year. We here at deemed Joel Benjamin Ntwatwa who runs as the best book reviewer in our outstanding literary awards of 2016. […]

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