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Anietie Isong’s novel Radio Sunrise has won the 2018 McKitterick Prize, making him the first Nigerian to take home the award. Anietie received the prize at the Authors’ Awards ceremony at the Royal Institute of British Architects, London, attended by over 400 guests from across the publishing industry.

In a review of the novel published by us, Kufre Usanga writes that the novel:

unequivocally addresses unethical journalism. The novel charts Ifiok’s descent from ethical journalism to the status quo after his cultural drama The River (the last surviving cultural drama on Radio) is taken off air due to low funding.

Radio Sunrise might be the first contemporary Nigerian novel to challenge and demand professional integrity from the media in this age of alternate truths and fake news.

Founded in 1990, the £4,000 McKitterick Prize, administered by The Society of Authors, recognizes the first novel by a writer aged over 40. Anietie joins the ranks of Petina Gappah, Helen Dunmore, and Mark Haddon.

Anietie Isong at The Society of Authors Awards.

Prize judge Aamer Hussein, short story writer and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, had this to say:

It’s a particular pleasure to discover the original, intriguing voice of Anietie Isong. In his brief, deftly-told Radio Sunrise, the author depicts his often hapless protagonist’s sexual mishaps and political travails on a journey to his hometown with a unique blend of humour and poignance. An intriguing and accomplished new novelist.

Anietie, who is a brother to Nollywood filmmaker Emem Isong, stated his excitement. “I wrote Radio Sunrise to help draw attention to a myriad of issues in Nigeria,” he said. “I am thrilled that this resonated with the judges.”

Anietie has worked as a journalist, speechwriter and communications manager in Nigeria and the UK. He holds a PhD in New Media and Writing. He will subsequently make an appearance at the UK’s Marlborough Literature Festival in September, where he will deliver a speech.

Congratulations to Anietie Isong.

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Otosirieze is deputy editor of Brittle Paper. He is a judge for the 2018/19 Gerald Kraak Prize. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He combined English and History at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is completing a postgraduate degree in African Studies, and taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. Find him at, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

2 Responses to “With Radio Sunrise, Anietie Isong Is the First Nigerian Winner of the McKitterick Prize” Subscribe

  1. Fred Khumalo 2018/07/25 at 10:55 #

    Congratulations, Anietie, my stablemate at Jacaranda Books. A more deserving novel couldn’t have been chosen for the honour. Well done

  2. Yoko 2018/07/26 at 22:32 #

    A revelatory work about journalism. Well deserved.

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