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Fiston Mwanza Mujila has been announced as the 2015 winner of the Etisalat Prize for African Literature for his novel Tram 83.

The 34-year-old novelist was awarded the £15,000 prize minutes ago at the Intecontinental Hotel in Victoria Island, Lagos (19 March).

The little known author from the Democratic Republic of Congo broke into the global literary scene after the English translation (by Roland Glasser) of his debut novel was published by Texas-based publishing house Deep Vellum. He came out the winner in a closely contested race that had South Africa’s Penny Busetto and Rehana Rossouw in the running.

The win comes as no surprise. Mujila has been a favorite all season long among readers. Brittle Paper correspondent, Nmadiuto Uche, observed that the audience at the award gala was chanting Mujila’s name.

Tram 83, which has been acclaimed for “using jazz rhythms to weave a tale of human relationships in a world that has become a global village,” leaves us with the refreshing realization that African fiction is headed in an experimental direction. A very happy thing given the long history of a culture of aesthetic conservatism in African fiction.

The Etisalat Prize for African Literature reprises for the third time its role as the leading and most prestigious literary prize on the continent. For a prize that was established only three years ago, the meteoric rise of its status in the global literary community is nothing short of a miracle.

Apart from the cash prize, Fiston Mujila will head to the University of East Anglia to perfect his craft in a one year fellowship under the mentorship of Professor Giles Foden. While at the University, Mujila will have the chance to meet and work with a global community of writers, publishers and readers.

Congrats to Mujila! Congrats to an amazing panel of Judges, which comprised of Prof. Ato Quayson, Zukiswa Wanner, and Molara Wood. Kudos to the Etisalat Prize for Literature team.

Thanks to Brittle Paper writer Nmadiuto Uche for her amazing live coverage of the award gala. Brittle Paper was one of the most retweeted accounts all through the award ceremony because of her.

In the next few days, we will have official photos and more information about the ceremony, so stay tuned!

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Images by Lola Shoneyin via Twitter @lolashoneyin

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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.

5 Responses to “Congolese Novelist Fiston Mujila Wins 2015 Etisalat Prize for African Literature” Subscribe

  1. Jaja March 20, 2016 at 7:17 am #

    Is the Etisalat Prize the most prestigious–monetary or otherwise? No. Monetarily, it’s the NLNG Prize. In terms of discussion, it remains the Caine despite recent backlash. Unless you mean that the Etisalat Prize is the most popular, and the one fans trust most, in which case I’d overwhelmingly agree. Congrats Mujila. Nice suit.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. A Win for Translation: Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s novel Tram 83 wins Etisalat Prize for African Literature. (And I archive my articles of 2013 critiquing lack of translation) | A Tunanina... - March 19, 2016

    […] Congolese Novelist Fiston Mwanza Mujila Wins 2015 Etisalat Prize for African Literature – (c) Brittle Paper […]

  2. A Win for Translation: Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s novel Tram 83 wins Etisalat Prize for African Literature. (And I archive my articles of 2013 critiquing lack of translation) | A Tunanina... - March 19, 2016

    […] just announced its 2015 prize for African Literature at a ceremony in Victoria Island, Lagos. The winner of the £15,000 prize is Congolese novelist Fiston Mwanza Mujila for his novel Tram 83, originally written in French and published by Éditions Métailié, Paris […]

  3. Congolese Novelist Fiston Mujila Wins 2015 Etisalat Prize for African Literature | - March 21, 2016

    […] Source: brittlepaper.com […]

  4. Cerrando el 2016 | LitERaFRicAs - January 3, 2017

    […] ganaba otro premio literario. El mes vino, de todas formas, cargado de premios y nominaciones. Fiston Mujila se hizo con el Etisalat y fue nominado junto con Eduardo Agualusa al The Man Booker International. Y desde Afrofeminas nos […]

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