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The 9Mobile Prize for Literature has announced its 2017 longlist. Founded in 2013 as the Etisalat Prize for Literature, the £15,000 award is the first pan-African literary prize created to honour only debut books of fiction—novels or short story collections.

Here are the chosen titles.

  • What It Means When a Man Falls Down from the Sky, Lesley Nneka Arimah (Kachifo Limited)
  • Like it Matters, David Cornwell (Penguin Random House)
  • Radio Sunrise, Anietie Isong (Jacaranda Books)
  • Taduno’s Song, Odafe Atogun (Canongate Books)
  • The Printmaker, Bronwyn Law-Viljoen (Penguin Random House)
  • Stay with Me, Ayobami Adebayo (Canongate Books)
  • Being Kari, Qarnita Loxton (Kwela Books)
  • Asylum, Marcus Low (Picador Africa)
  • A Casualty of Power, Mukuka Chipanta (Weaver Press)

The judges are: Harry Garuba, who is the chair; Doreen Baingana; and Siphiwo Mahala. Here are Garuba’s comments on their choices:

The entries range through a variety of themes and preoccupations that mirror the expanse and diversity of the continent. 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.

The winner will be announced at the prize ceremony in 2018, and will, in addition to £15,000, receive an engraved Montblanc Meisterstück pen and a sponsored fellowship at the University of East Anglia, where they will be mentored by Professor Giles Foden, author of The Last King of Scotland.

In addition to 9Mobile purchasing 1,000 copies of each of the shortlisted books for distribution to schools, libraries and book clubs across the continent, all the finalists will further participate in a multi-city book tour.

Congratulations to the longlisted authors.

 

About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young

Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, academic, and Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review (“Mulumba,” 2016), Transition (“A Tenderer Blessing,” 2015), and in an anthology of the Gerald Kraak Award (“You Sing of a Longing,” 2017), for which he was shortlisted. His work has further been shortlisted for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship in 2016 and a Pushcart Prize in 2015. His conversations appear in Africa in Dialogue, Bakwa, SPRINNG, and Dwartonline. He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of themed e-anthologies of writing and visual art exploring different aspects of Nigerianness. The first, Enter Naija: The Book of Places (October 2016), focuses on Nigerian cities. The second, Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (June 2017), focuses on professions in Nigeria. Born in Aba, he combined history and literature at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is currently completing a postgraduate programme in African Studies, and teaches English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. When bored, he just Googles Rihanna.

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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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