Published in Nigeria by Kachifo Limited, the winning book, which gets £15,000 for Ile, defeated Jacqui L’Ange (South Africa) The Seed Thief (Umuzi Publishers, South Africa); and Julie Iromuanya (Nigeria) Mr & Mrs Doctor (Coffee House Press, USA).
Ahead of announcing a winner, The jury, led by Nigerian novelist and poet, Helon Habila explained thatthe three writers were selected from a long list after fulfilling some criteria.
These, Habila said were ” in addition to originality of voice and literary excellence, our purpose was to also select a work that portrays an African sensibility”. The two other members of the panel are South African writer/activist, Elinor Sisulu; and Ivorian writer and Africa39 laureate, Edwige Renée Dro were among the panel.
When the three finalists were announced, the Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Matthew Willsher, stated: “This is by no means a simple task. The role of the judges is quite enormous and we want to thank them for the attention and dedication to the entire review process which birthed the top three finalists.”
Fiston Mwanza Mujil, The Democratic Republic of Congo was the previous winner with a book titled Tram 83. Past winners of the Etisalat Prize for Literature included South African novelist Songeziwe Mahlangu (Penumbra, 2014) and Zimbabwean writer NoViolet Bulawayo (We Need New Names, 2013). at the Grand Finale in Lagos, which took place almost two months behind schedule.