Jowhor Ile’s ‘And After Many Days’ Makes 2016 Etisalat Prize Shortlist

We’re extremely excited to announce that Jowhor Ile’s debut novel, And After Many Days, has been shortlisted for the 2016 Etisalat Prize for Literature.

According to this year’s Chair of Judges for the Prize, Helon Habila, “In addition to originality of voice and literary excellence, our purpose was to also select a work that portrays an ‘African sensibility'”.

The winner for the 2016 Etisalat Prize for Literature will be unveiled at the Grand Finale in Lagos, scheduled to take place in March 2017.

Praise for Jowhor Ile’s And After Many Days:

“One rarely finds ‘page-turner’ and ‘poetry’ in the same sentence, but And After Many Days is a rarity indeed. At once calm, collected, lyrical and heartbreaking, Ile’s debut is many things: an achingly tender portrait of family life, a brilliantly executed whodunnit, a searing critique of Nigerian politics, a meditation on love. I couldn’t put it down and was forever changed when I did. The Utu family will stay with me always.” —Taiye Selasi, author of Ghana Must Go

“Ile creates an atmosphere of ominous tension and renders the grief of the family in restrained and moving language. He has a particular talent for reflecting the perfect details that make even a passing moment come to life.” —Chigozie Obioma, The New York Times Book Review

And After Many Days is a brilliant novel that paints a vivid picture of a changing society, effortlessly shifting between moments and years, all while keeping us grounded in a growing boy’s understanding of himself and the surrounding world. It is a book that offers profound insight into a country that headlines can never capture. A wonderful debut.” —Uzodinma Iweala, author of Beasts of No Nation

“Jowhor Ile is rooted in the lush mindscape of the Niger delta. For here is a writer whose rare insight is evident not only through the voice he breathes into his characters but also in how deep he digs to tap the wellspring of their history. Bumps of pleasure and flashes of recognition lie in ambush on page after page of this smooth-singing, hard-hitting novel—a tender and lucid accomplishment by a distinctive talent.” —A. Igoni Barrett, author of Love Is Power, Or Something Like That
 
“Jowhor Ile is a rare talent. This rich book is ripe with mood and full of love, masterfully written with the perfect emotional pitch. Nigeria has a new star.” —Binyavanga Wainaina, author of One Day I Will Write About This Place

Buy copies of And After Many Days online, or call us on 0807 736 4217. 

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Financial Times/OppenheimerFunds Emerging Voices Awards 2015

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Financial Times/OppenheimerFunds present the Emerging Voices Awards 2015. The award, in its inaugural year, aims to recognise extraordinary talent in the arts, including fiction, film and art.

“There is a remarkable structural shift in the world, propelled by economic progress in the developing markets and the advanced reach of the Internet. More connectivity and greater variety of voices in the business, science and arts communities are leading to a new renaissance. The Financial Times and OppenheimerFunds are delighted to provide a platform to recognise the people contributing to these markets.”

The fiction award is open to nationals or residents of emerging nations in Africa and the Middle East. Only books first published between 1 January 2014 and 30 September 2015, and having a minimum of 20,000 words, are eligible. Entries are open until 30 April 2015, and winners in each category will be announced at a special gala on 5 October 2015. Winners in each category will receive the sum of $40,000.

For more information on entry criteria, entry categories and the awards schedule, please visit the awards website.

Writers and Literary Awards

In a letter to the editor of The New York Times, novelist Richard Greener says:

…writing is not a competitive or comparative endeavor; nor is a writer best identified by a group association, be it gender, race, age or any other such human membership.

Writing is an isolated, personal activity, the creative act of an individual not to be misattributed to or mistaken for any grouping of other people regardless of what they may share with the writer. They do not share the work.

Literary prizes may have value to those who market and sell books, but I am confident that within the heart and soul of most writers such prizes are not seen as any true measure of literary worth. One author does not compete with another. Thus, an award based on such a standard adds nothing to the merit of one’s work.

As writers, we would all do better to just write, say what we have to say and leave the judgment to the reader.

Culled from New York Times.

What do you think; should writers concern themselves only with the business of writing? Are writing prizes and awards any measure of literary merit?

Commonwealth Writers Final Call for Entries

If you haven’t already sent in your entries for the Commonwealth Book Prize or the Short Story Prize, now is a good time to do so. You can read the details below.

Commonwealth Writers final call for entries:

Last few weeks remaining to enter the new Commonwealth Book Prize and Commonwealth Short Story Prize. The prizes are part of a new initiative, Commonwealth Writers, an online hub to inspire, inform and create a community of writers from all over the world. Together with the prizes, Commonwealth Writers unearths, develops and promotes the best new fiction from across the Commonwealth.

Commonwealth Short Story Prize: Wednesday 30 November 2011 (5pm GMT)

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction in English (2000-5000 words). Regional winners receive £1,000 and the overall winner receives £5,000.

Commonwealth Book Prize: Friday 9 December 2011 (5pm GMT)

Awarded for best first book, the Commonwealth Book Prize is open to writers who have had their first novel (full length work of fiction in English) published between 1 January and 31 December 2011. Regional winners receive £2,500 and the overall winner receives £10,000.

Enter online at www.commonwealthwriters.org.