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Chinelo Okparanta Battles 2 South Africans for £15,000 Etisalat Prize for Literature

The three shortlisted finalists for the 2014 Etisalat Prize for Literature have been announced:

  1. Songeziwe Mahlangu (South Africa), author of Penumbra.
  2. Chinelo Okparanta (Nigeria), author of Happiness, Like Water.
  3. Nadia Davids (South Africa), author of An Imperfect Blessing.

The three finalists will compete for this year’s award which is the second edition of the award created by Etisalat Nigeria in 2013 to celebrate young, first-time African writers of published fiction books and to promote the reading culture in Africa. The Etisalat Prize for Literature is the first ever pan-African prize celebrating such first-time African writers of fiction.

The winner will be awarded a cash prize of £15,000, a high-end device and a book tour to three African cities. The winning writer will embark on the Etisalat Fellowship at the University of East Anglia, which will afford him/her significant opportunities to network with other writers and publishers as well as time and resources to work on their second book. The two runners up will also win a book tour and Etisalat will purchase 1,000 copies of all three books for distribution across the continent.

NoViolet Bulawayo, author of We Need New Names, which won the inaugural edition of the Etisalat Prize for Literature, previously expressed her delight at the opportunities opened to her after winning the award. The Zimbabwean, who is now a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University remarked, ‘I am thankful to the organizers, Etisalat Nigeria for this most excellent and necessary prize. We are all aware of the shortage of literary prizes and it is heart-warming to know that Etisalat Nigeria sees and values the significance of such literary works in Africa.

The winner of the 2014 Etisalat Prize for Literature will be announced at the Grand Finale, a black tie event on Sunday March 15, 2015 at the prestigious Intercontinental Hotel, Lagos. The event is expected to feature the who is who in African art, literature and entertainment, as well as performances from the Nigerian Idol Season 4 winner, Evelle and two-time Grammy award winner, Angelique Kidjo.


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