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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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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, literary journalist, and Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review, Transition, and in an anthology of the Gerald Kraak Award 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. He attended the 2018 Miles Morland Foundation Creative Writing Workshop. 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 cities in Nigeria. The second, WORK NAIJA: THE BOOK OF VOCATIONS (June, 2017), focuses on professions in Nigeria. He studied History and Literature at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. He is currently completing a postgraduate programme in African Studies. He has completed a collection of short stories, YOU SING OF A LONGING, and is working on a novel. He is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. When bored, the boy just Googles Rihanna. Find him at otosirieze.com.

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.

Leave a Reply

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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