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Etisalat Prize for Literature 2017 Calls for Entries

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Following the successful completion of the fourth edition of its flagship pan-Africa literary prize for first-time writers of African origin, Nigeria’s most innovative telecommunications company, Etisalat, has called for entries for the 2017 edition of the Etisalat Prize for Literature. The submission of entries which commences on June 26th, 2017 will close on September 13th.

The 2016 edition of the Etisalat Prize was concluded on May 20th with an award ceremony in Lagos, where Nigerian writer, Jowhor Ile, emerged the winner for his first published novel, And After Many Days. Ile is the first Nigerian to win the Etisalat Prize launched in 2013. Past winners include Democratic Republic of Congo’s Fiston Mwanza Mujila (2015); South Africa’s Songeziwe Mahlangu (2014), and Zimbabwe’s NoViolet Bulawayo (2013).

Announcing the call for entries which marks the commencement of the 2017 edition of the Etisalat Prize, Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Matthew Willsher, said the company was delighted to flag off the fifth edition of the Etisalat Prize for Literature, which has become a leading platform for the discovery of creative talents of African origin and promotion of African literature.

“We at Etisalat are glad to call for entries for the 2017 edition of the Etisalat Prize for Literature. This marks the beginning of the submission and the selection process of the fifth edition of the Prize. It also underlines our firm commitment and continued support for the development of African literature”, he said.

Willsher added, “Over the years, we have seen the Etisalat Prize for Literature impact on the African literary space by encouraging creative writers and publishers to help in telling compelling stories about the African continent. The Etisalat Prize is about creativity and excellence, and it is our conviction that the judging panel, made up of very experienced writers and editors, are committed to continuously uphold the legacy and reputation of the Prize.”

In further demonstration of the telco’s commitment to innovation, Willsher disclosed that more new judges have been appointed to bolster the list of existing eminent literary icons that will serve as members of the Judging Panel for the 2017 prize.

After the September 13th close of entry, the Judging Panel will screen the submitted entries to select the books that will make the longlist. The entries on the longlist will go through a second round of screening in the selection process, and then the judges will announce a shortlist of three finalists ahead of the grand finale/award ceremony of the pan-African Prize.

The guidelines and entry criteria for the Etisalat Prize include: the books to be submitted must have been published in the last 24 months from the date of call for entries; such book should contain not less than 30,000 words, and it must be the author’s first published fiction book. Also, the author must be an African, but may reside anywhere in the world.

Furthermore, the books must be registered by publishing houses that have existed for not less than six years as incorporated publishers with registered ISBN Number or the equivalent. The publishers must have published a minimum of six authors. All entries are expected to be accompanied by seven copies of the book entered, along with an acceptance of the publicity terms of the Prize. A publisher may submit a maximum of three books.

The Etisalat Prize for Literature is the first pan-Africa literary prize that celebrates debut African writers of published fiction. The Prize also incorporates the Flash Fiction Prize, an online-based competition and is open to all African writers of unpublished short stories of 300 words. The Etisalat Prize winner receives £15,000, an engraved Montblanc Meisterstück pen, and an  Etisalat-sponsored fellowship at the University of East Anglia including mentoring by Professor Giles Foden, author of The Last King of Scotland‘. The winner and the two runners-up also enjoy multi-city book tour sponsored by Etisalat. The telco will also purchase 10,000 copies of their books for distribution to schools, libraries and book clubs across the African continent.

Similarly, the winner of the Flash Fiction Award receives £1,000 Pounds while the two runners-up get £500 each in addition to high-end devices for the three.

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