CODE have made a call for submissions to its 2017 Burt Award for African Young Adult Literature. The award replaces the Burt Award for African Literature, which comprised four separate prizes in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania. The new award will be awarded to “an outstanding work of English-language, young adult literature by an Ethiopian, Ghanaian, Kenyan or Tanzanian author, translator and/or illustrator.” It will consider both published and unpublished works of fiction as well as selected non-fiction and graphic novels.

The single winner will receive $10,000 CAD while the runner-up will receive $2,000 CAD and be designated an “honour book.” Other finalists will each receive $1,000 CAD. In addition to this:

CODE will purchase 3,000 copies of the winning title and 3,000 copies of the honour book for each of the participating countries, up to 12,000 copies per title. The books will be donated to schools, libraries, community centres, and NGOs. Aditionally, the publishers of the winning title and honour book will each receive a grant of $2,000 CAD to support the promotion of their Burt Award titles.

Last year, the 2012 winner of CODE’s Burt Award in Ethiopia, Linda Yohannes, was published by us.

Commenting on the award’s makeover, CODE’s Manager of Literary Awards and Publishing, Hadley Dyer, said: 

“The new Burt Award in Africa is even bigger and better than the previous iteration of the award, recognizing the best young adult literature from the four participating countries and we hope additional African nations in the near future. Transitioning to a multi-country award means the competition is steeper, so it will be quite an achievement to be named to the shortlist.”

CODE’s Program Officer for Literary Awards, Claire Bolton, has this to say:

“The writers, illustrators, translators and publishers who create the grand prize-winning title and honour book will not only receive a generous monetary award but also have thousands of copies of their books donated to schools, libraries, and community in all participating countries, hugely expanding their audience. As well, CODE has committed to supporting the award program and the cause of literacy through a new public reading campaign, aimed at encouraging youth to fall in love with reading.”

Here are things to know.

In order to be eligible for the BAAYAL competition, works must first be finalists in one of the following national competitions: CODE’s Burt Award for Ethiopian Young Adult Literature, CODE’s Burt Award for Ghanaian Young Adult Literature, CODE’s Burt Award for Kenyan Young Adult Literature, CODE’s Burt Award for Tanzanian Young Adult Literature. Publishers operating in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania can now submit to CODE’s local implementing partners.

The deadline for submissions to the national competitions is May 15, 2017. The national winners will be announced in the fall of 2017.

Only finalists for the national competitions will be eligible for the grand prize, with a deadline for submissions of March 15, 2018. National finalists may be revised and improved before submission for the grand prize. The shortlist for the grand prize will be announced in July 2018, and the winner and honour book will be announced at a gala celebration in Accra, Ghana, in the fall of 2018.

Download the submission guidelines on the CODE Website.

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Please Note: Brittle Paper is not responsible for the organization or further promotion of this call for submissions, neither do we have a stake in its popularity. Thank you.

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young was shortlisted for the 2016 Miles Morland Writing Scholarship. His first published story, “A Tenderer Blessing,” appears in Transition and was nominated for a 2015 Pushcart Prize. His second story, "Mulumba," appears in The Threepenny Review and has been translated into the German. His story, "You Sing of a Longing," is currently on the 2016 Gerald Kraak Award shortlist and is forthcoming in an anthology by Jacana Literary Foundation and The Other Foundation. His essays appear in Interdisciplinary Academic Essays and Brittle Paper where he is Submissions Editor. He edited Enter Naija—The Book of Places, an anthology of writing, photography and digital art about places in Nigeria created to mark Nigeria’s 56th Independence anniversary. Otosirieze teaches English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. When bored, he blogs popular culture at naijakulture.blogspot.com or just Googles Rihanna. He is currently looking for an agent for his short story collection.

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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