The highly anticipated Grande finale of the Etisalat Prize for Literature 2015 held last weekend at Intercontinental Lagos Hotel. Fiston Mwanza Mujila emerged winner for his debut fiction novel, Tram 83, and he walked away with a £15,000 cheque, an engraved Montblanc Meisterstück and an iPhone 6s. He will also attend the Etisalat Fellowship at the prestigious University of East Anglia, United Kingdom, under the mentorship of Professor Giles Foden, the author of The Last King of Scotland.
Mujila is the third winner of the Pan-African literary prize for first time published authors in the fiction category instituted by Etisalat Nigeria since 2013.
Chief Executive Officer of Etisalat Nigeria, Matthew Willsher, said the philosophy of the prize is borne out in the theme, ‘Representing the Diversity of African Voices.’ According to him, “The Etisalat Prize for Literature bears out this year’s theme – diversity as something that has beauty in it, a foundation for innovation, something we truly believe in, something in our roots, that we have to innovate. Diversity is very true in literature; innovation is also very important in the literary world.“
The Etisalat Prize for Literature Awards ceremony embraced other brilliant ways of selling the African narrative as the three shortlisted books were adapted to invigorating theatrical performances. The stage plays were directed by Ifeoma Fafunwa, one of the best stage directors in the country.
Kuti Ojuolape Modupe was also announced winner of the Flash Fiction category of the Etisalat Prize. She received 1,000 Pounds and a high-end device.
It was a riveting evening of literary panache as notable personalities such as The Deputy Governor of Lagos State and Commissioner of Education, Dr. Idiat Adebule (represented by her Permanent Secretary, Dr. Olusola Yinka Ayandele); Commissioner of Science and Technology of Lagos State, Femi Odubiyi; Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Majority Leader, Federal House of Representatives; Professors Femi Osofisan and Ahmed Yerima (playwrights); Prof. Remi Raji (poet), Dr. Frank Edozien; thespians Taiwo Ajai-Lycett, Genevieve Nnaji and Bimbo Akintola; and members of Etisalat Nigeria Board, Prof. Isabella Okagbue and Junaid Dikko converged for the award ceremony.