9Mobile Allays Fears Over 2018 Prize for Literature

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Yinka Olatunbosun

The 2018 edition of 9Mobile Prize for literature is soon to announce winners after a protracted wait since the release of the shortlist in January last year. On this shortlist are Leslie Nneka Arimah, Marcus Low and Ayobami Adebayo.

The delay has sparked different reactions from the patrons of the prize as well as the international media. 9Mobile Prize formerly known as the Etisalat Prize for African Literature was a toast of the literati and its grand finale is usually glamourous with A-list artists as headliners.

In response to the angst fueled by the stalled finale, the executive management of 9Mobile has reiterated its commitment to the literary prize.

“Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services (EMTS) wishes to reiterate its commitment to the development and promotion of talents and assures of fulfilling its commitment to the finalists of the 2018 edition of the 9Mobile prize for literature,’’ Layi Onafowokan, the Acting Director, Marketing, 9Mobile stated in a press release.

9Mobile Prize for Literature, launched in 2013, is the first pan-African literary prize that celebrates African first-time writers of published fiction. It is open solely to writers from African countries, resident anywhere in the world.

The debut winner of the prize is Zimbabwe’s NoViolet Bulawayo with the book, “We Need New Names.’’ In 2015, South African Novelist, Songeziwe Mahlangu won with Penumbra in 2015. Fiston Mwanza Mujila from the Democratic Republic of Congo won in 2016 with “Tram 83” and in 2017, Nigeria’s Jowhor Ile won with his first book, “And After Many Days.’’