The winner of the Etisalat Prize for Literary excellence, Jowhor Ile, will be undertaking a fellowship with UEA’s school of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing (LDC).
His 256-page novel, ‘And After Many Days’, was declared the winner out of three shortlisted novels on May 20 last month, during the award presentation ceremony.
The winning novel was selected by a three-member Judging Panel chaired by award-winning novelist and poet, Helon Habila. She believed his book, “met the required standards of originality, creative excellence and African sensibility, in keeping with the objective of the Etisalat Prize.”
Established by Etisalat, the international telecommunications company in 2013, the prize was created to support new and upcoming novelists of Nigerian and other African origins who wish to develop their English and to help promote the African publishing industry. In four months, the winner will be given the chance to learn from the Creative Writing community at UEA.
Chief Executive Officer of Etisalat Nigeria, Matthew Willsher said, “Our vision at Etisalat has been to support innovation, creativity and talent development.”
He added: “We have stayed focused on providing platforms that enable people, not only communicate and stay in touch with one another, but also to express their individual creative abilities.”
The fellowship includes a generous £15,000 awarded to the recipient. In addition to the 1000 copies of all the shortlisted books that will be purchased and donated to charities in Africa, the three finalists will be sponsored by Etisalat to tour around three chosen African cities. Etisalat have announced that various schools, book clubs and libraries across the African continent will receive these books.
‘And After Many Days’ tells a story of a family in 1995 living in the oil-rich Niger-Delta region of Port Harcourt, whose loss of a son splits them apart. Some of Ileís short stories have been published in McSweeneyís Quarterly and Litro Magazine.
Mr Ile will take on the fellowship mentored by author of ‘The Last King of Scotland’ Professor Giles Foden.
Past winners of the Etisalat Prize for Literature include Democratic Republic of Congoís Fiston Mwanza Mujila for his novel ‘Tram 83’, South African writer Songeziwe Mahlangu for his novel ‘Penumbra’, and Zimbabwean writer NoViolet Bulawayo for her novel ‘We Need New Names’.