The jury of 2018 edition of 9mobile Prize for Literature has released a longlist of nine books from an array of authors from across the continent, who entered for the prize, by 9mobile. The longlist is made up of entries received from first-time African writers, whose books were published within the last 24 months before the call for entries. Now in its fifth year, the prize is already acknowledged as the most prestigious literary prize for African fiction.
The nine books that made the longlist are Aniete Isong – Radio Sunrise, Ayobami Adebayo – Stay with Me, Bronwyn Law – Viljoen- The Printmaker, David Cornwell – Like It Matters, Lesley Nneka Arimah – What It Means When a Man Falls Down from the Sky, Marcus Low- Asylum, Mukuka Chipanta – A Casualty of Power, Odafe Atogun – Taduno’s Song, and Qarnita Loxtan – Being Kari.
In his comments, Chair of the Judging Panel, South Africa-based Nigerian writer and teacher, Harry Garuba, noted that the books testify to the abundance of talented new voices emerging from the African continent.
“The entries range through a variety of themes and preoccupations that mirror the expanse and diversity of the continent,” he noted. “The care and craft that the authors bring to the exploration of their chosen themes show a level of skill and artistry not often found in first works of fiction. These works give us a glimpse of the exciting literary landscapes ahead for African fiction.”
Director, Brand and Experience, 9mobile, Elvis Ogiemwanye, expressed delight at reaching this stage of the prize and commended the judges saying, “The prize is what it is today because of the independence and competence of the judging panel, whose rich and varied experience boosts the entire process.”
He also stated that the 2018 edition of the prize marks the fifth year the telecom company has sustained the platform that celebrates the richness and strength of African literature, which 9mobile Prize for Literature is designed to promote.
The Judging Panel include Garuba, Ugandan Doreen Baingana and South African Siphiwo Mahala, who now have the tough task of screening the books even further to arrive at the shortlist of three ahead of the grand finale/award ceremony next year. The shortlisted writers will have copies of their books purchased by 9mobile for distribution to schools, libraries and book clubs across the African continent, while the winner receives £15,000, an engraved Montblanc Meisterstück pen, and a 9mobile-sponsored fellowship at the University of East Anglia, where he or she will be mentored by Professor Giles Foden, internationally renowned literature teacher and author of The Last King of Scotland.