Prof Henry Indangasi.
Prof Henry Indangasi.

The Kenyan short list for the Burt Award for African Literature 2014 was announced at a breakfast today.

The Burt Award for African Literature is an award for fiction targeted at young adults in four African countries; Kenya, Ghana, Ethiopia, and Tanzania. The award which started in 2012 is sponsored by Code, a Canadian NGO that supports literacy and learning in Canada and around the world. In Kenya the award is managed by the National Book Development Council of Kenya (NBDCK).

The Kenyan winner in 2012 was Anthony Mugo for his book Never Say Never about a young boy who is taken into the approved school system. Last year the nod went to Argwings Otieno for his book A Taste of Fame about a young man and his interaction with celebrities.

The 2014 edition of the prize is here. The judging panel of the awards include some of Kenya’s most well known literary names that include Prof Henry Indangasi – Chair, Dr Waveney Olembo (Kenyatta University) and Dr Tom Odhiambo – University of Nairobi. There is no teenager in the panel which is sad if you consider that this books are targetted at their age group.

The shortlist as announced at a breakfast today include;

  • Moraa Gitaa The Shark Attack, submitted by Moran Publishers.
  • Elizabeth Kibue The Choice, submitted by Longhorn Publishers.
  • Anthony Mugo Ask the Stars, submitted by Longhorn Publishers.

So what do the winners get? Well they will go home with CAD$ 9,000; 7,000 and 5,000 for positions 1, 2 and 3 respectively. With todays exchange rate between the Canadian dollar and the Kenya Shilling being 1 to 77 that means the winners will go with;
1. Kshs693,000
2. Kshs539,000
3. Kshs385,000
Its not only that. The NBDCK will also buy 3,000 of each of the books and require that the publisher pays 17.5% royalties to the writers. Not bad at all.

The winner will be presented on September 2014 during the Book Week at a date to be announced.