bigtimi - chinelo
(R-L) Mrs. Willsher, Chinelo Okparanta—Nigerian finalist—and Sarah Ladipo Manyinka—Chair of the judge’s panel

Yesterday—March 15—the wall separating pop culture and high literature fell down in what will go down in history as one of the most spectacular literary award ceremonies.

It was a night dedicated to celebrating African literature and Etisalat, the communications company sponsoring the prize, pulled out all the stops to ensure that attendees had fun.

Nigerian celebrities, on-air personalities, fashion designers, youth culture leaders, musicians, and actors  joined hands with writers, literary critics, publishing industry heavy weights and academics to celebrate contemporary African fiction.

The event also saw the emergence of South Africa’s Mahlangu Songeziwe’s Penumbra as the best debut novel by an African writer.

Songeziwe is 15,000 pounds richer, but he also walks away with a generous fellowship to study creative writing at University of East Anglia.

Congrats also to Neema Komba for taking home the 1000-pound flash fiction prize.

Angelique Kidjo stole the night with what many are calling an electrifying performance. [We have a vine video to prove it.]

When the official photos come out, you’ll be the first to see it. For now, feast your eyes on these images and videos sourced from Twitter and Instagram.

Watch Angelique Kidjo break the stage with killer dance moves. 

Watch Zimbabwean novelist Tsi Tsi Dangaremgba caught in mesmerizing display on the dance floor.

nadia and chinelo
Two finalists–Chinelo Okparanta and Nadia Davids–displaying some twitter love earlier in the day.
Angelique Kidjo making radio appearances the day before
Angelique Kidjo making radio appearances the day before
Cocktail lobby at the Intercontinental Hotel
And the winner is Mahlangu Songeziwe!
Flash fiction finalists
Flash fiction finalists
C. E. O of Etisalat Nigeria, Matthew Willsher, and his wife
Nigerian TV Presenter, Ebuka Uchendu
Fashion Desiger, Mai Atafo
Wole Soyinka and Matthew Willsher
Wole Soyinka
Wole Soyinka
(L) Singer and songwriter, Dare Art Alade
(L) Chibundu Onuzo, author of Spider King’s Daughter with a friend
(L) Chibundu Onuzo, author of Spider King’s Daughter with a friend
Nigerian actor, O. C. Ukeje
Nigerian actor, O. C. Ukeje

For the images, thanks to

1. Adegoke Pamilerin’s instagram @pamcomprintz

2. @etisalatnigeria

3. @chyzoma

4. @bigtimi