4 Young Nigerian Authors Jostle for 2017 9Mobile Prize for Literature
Aniete Isong. Author Radio Sunrise.
London, Jan 14, 2018 (AltAfrika)– Aniete Isong, author of Radio Sunrise (United Kingdom/Nigeria) (Jacaranda Books) and three other young Nigerian authors are in line for global recognition later this month when the final shortlist of three books for the 2017 9mobile Prize for Literature is announced.
The four authors are competing with five others across African Continent who were announced mid December 2017.
In an exclusive chat with Alternativeafrika, Aniete Isong , a former Radio Nigeria staff said he was confident the book would survive the stiff competition and attract the recognition from the judging panels. “I am delighted to be shortlisted alongside talented writers from the continent. This Pan-African prize has brought attention to my book and i am very grateful.
He said ” my confidence stem from feedback from my publisher who told me the book is really doing well. You know, Radio Sunrise was shortlisted for the Kingston University Big read in 2017, and that prize actively promoted the book at three other universities in the UK. ”
Aniete, who is currently working on a collection of African stories said the novel was inspired by his experience in the media and the people he met that time. “One of the major themes in the book is corruption in Nigeria (Brown Envelope Syndrome) which is fuelled by lack of adequate remuneration. Journalists are very poorly paid and sometimes not paid at all. It’s very difficult to remain professional when you are not given your dues”
Aniete Isong, currently a PR Account Director had worked in the press office the Universities of Birmingham and Leicester
South African and Nigerian authors dominated the list announced in December with just one finalist originating from outside those two countries: Zambia’s Mukuka Chipanta, shortlisted for his novel A Casualty of Power.
The 9mobile Prize for Literature is a Pan African prize that celebrates debut African writers of published fiction. The winner takes home £15,000 (about R275,000) and a fellowship at the University of East Anglia to study creative writing.
Chair of judges Harry Garuba says this year’s entries are proof of an abundance of new talent 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 says. ‘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.’
2017 9mobile Prize for Literature longlist
- What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah (United Kingdom/Nigeria) (Kachifo Limited)
- Like it Matters by David Cornwell (South Africa) (Umuzi)
- Radio Sunrise by Anietie Isong (United Kingdom/Nigeria) (Jacaranda Books)
- Taduno’s Song by Odafe Atogun (Nigeria) (Canongate Books)
- The Printmaker by Bronwyn Law-Viljoen (South Africa) (Umuzi)
- Stay with Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ (Nigeria) (Canongate Books)
- Being Kari by Qarnita Loxton (South Africa) (Kwela Books)
- Asylum by Marcus Low (South Africa) (Picador Africa)
- A Casualty of Power by Mukuka Chipanta (United States/Zambia) (Weaver Press)
This year’s judging panel, chaired by Garuba, includes Doreen Baingana and Siphiwo Mahala, who will next choose a shortlist of three books, usually announced in January.
Previous winners of the Etisalat Prize are Zimbabwe’s NoViolet Bulawayo (2013), South Africa’s Songeziwe Mahlangu (2014), Democratic Republic of Congo’s Fiston Mwanza Mujila (2015) and Jowhor Ile of Nigeria (2017).