New Etisalat Prize Judges 2016 seek your entry (Self-published folks need not apply)

The Etisalat Prize Judges 2016 were announced yesterday and they are already looking for your submissions. Only books by debutant authors from publishing houses who have published in the last 24 months are eligible. The current holder of the prize is Fiston Mujila who was announced a few months ago.

The judges for the Etisalat Prize for Literature were announced yesterday in Lagos, Nigeria. The three judges are chair Nigerian Helon Habila joined by his team of South African Elinor Sisulu and Ivorian Edwige-Renée Dro.

Helon Habila
Helon Habila

Helon Habila is a writer, poet, author and an associate professor of creative writing at George Mason University, USA. His novels include, Waiting for an Angel (2002), Measuring Time (2007), and Oil on Water (2010). He won the Commonwealth Writers Prize, Africa Region best first book in 2003 for Waiting for an Angel and got on the shortlist for the same prize for the Best Book Africa Region for Oil on Water in 2011.

He has other accolades include the Caine Prize which he won in 2002, the Windham-Campbell Prize which he took last year and many more. He lauded the prize which he shall be judging in the next year at the press conference where he explained what they shall be doing in their year.

“Think about the need to tell African stories, that’s all we are doing. We are getting these obscure writers that would never get the chance,” Helon Habila.

Elinor Sisulu Photo/
Elinor Sisulu Photo/

Sisulu on the other hand is a writer, human rights activist and political analyst. Some of the books she has written are Walter and Albertina Sisulu: In Our Lifetime; The 50th Anniversary of the Women’s March: A Personal Recollection, and A Different Kind of Holocaust: A Personal Reflection on HIV/AIDS.

This won’t be her first stint as a judge at literary projects. In the past she has judged prizes like the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize, the Golden Baobab award, and the Sunday Times Alan Paton prize.

Renee Edwige Dro
Renee Edwige Dro

Cote D’Ivoire’s finest Edwige-Renée Dro, who recently headed up an Abidjan based publishing firm, translates for PEN International as well as Global Voices Online. She worked on the translation of Les Cités Fantastiques (The Fantastic Cities), a coffee-book featuring some poems and paintings by Werewere Liking. She keeps her own blog at and runs a book reading group in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. She won the 2015 PEN International New Voices award and was shortlisted for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship in 2014. She is also one of the Africa39ers.

Also speaking at the press conference was the Etisalat Nigeria CEO Matthew Willsher who was accompanied by prize patrons: renowned literary icon, Prof Kole Omotoso and award-winning author, Dele Olojede.

Mr. Willsher said the Etisalat Prize was designed to serve as a leading platform for the discovery and encouraging of creative writing talents as well as the celebration of literary arts by African writers.

Willsher added that only books by debutant writers published not later than 24 months before submission, will qualify for entry. “They must also be by registered publishing houses not less than six years as incorporated publishers with registered ISBN Number or the equivalent, and who must have published a minimum of six authors. All entries should be accompanied by seven copies of the book entered along with an acceptance of our publicity terms. A publisher may submit a maximum of three books. The rules and guidelines for entry are available online,” he said.

So there you have it. Self-published folks need not apply; this one is for those who have been vetted by reputable publishing firms. Good luck to y’all.


One response to “New Etisalat Prize Judges 2016 seek your entry (Self-published folks need not apply)”

  1. Waita Muoka avatar

    Thanks for sharing that.

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