Connect with us


Zimbabwean NoViolet Bulawayo wins the Inaugural Etisalat Prize for Literature



On Sunday 23rd of February 2014, Zimbabwean NoViolet Bulawayo emerged as the winner at the inaugural edition of the Etisalat Prize for Literature. The prize was announced in June 2013 {Click here if you missed the announcement} with a prize money of £15,000 for the winner, along with a Samsung Galaxy Note and a Montblanc Meisterstuck. The winning writer will also embark on the Etisalat Fellowship at the University of East Anglia mentored by Professor Giles Foden (author of The Last King of Scotland) which will include significant opportunities to meet other writers, publishers and most importantly work on their second book. Shortlisted writers will win a Samsung Galaxy Note and also go on a book tour to two major African cities.

The books shortlisted for the prize were:
Bom Boy by Yewande Omotoso
Finding Soutbek by Karen Jennings
We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo

The Prize has been described as ‘the first ever pan-African prize celebrating first time writers of published fiction books. The Prize aims to serve as a platform for the discovery of new creative talent out of the continent and invariably promote the burgeoning publishing industry in Africa.

By recognizing and celebrating writers and other members of the literary community across Africa, Etisalat plans to bring some much needed awareness and acclaim to the art of Fiction writing while also applauding and rewarding the efforts of those who have ventured into this genre in recent times.’

Speaking on the novels that made the cut, one of the judges, Manyika, said: “The diversity of these debut novels, both on the level of content and narrative style, makes this a very exciting shortlist. Whether it is Bulawayo’s coming of age story set in the context of contemporary global migration, or Omotoso’s cross-cultural tale with its slowly unfolding secrets and interconnected narratives of love and loneliness, or Jennings’ multilayered exploration of history and allegory, each story is uniquely compelling.

NoViolet Bulawayo & Uche Okonkwo

In the Flash Fiction category, the winner gets £1000 cash prize,a Smart Tablet Device and a Published E-book promoted online and via SMS. The two runners up  receive £500 cash prize (each) and Smart Tablet Device. Uche Okonkwo, emerged as the winner in this category. BellaNaija recently published her story Lady of The Night. {Read Uche’s story recently published on BellaNaija here}

You can read the 20 stories in the shortlist here.
And I Had Blood In My Hands – Chiamaka Igili

Biola! – Olugbenga Ogunbowale

Dressed Like A Prince – N. Bassey

Fear – Bonaventure Chukwu O

Invisible Scars – Osasuyi Okungbowa Emmanuel Davies

Life Is Just Funny – Eric Arthur

Lost Memoirs – Adesina Oluwatobiloba

Mirage – Chizoba Deborah Onyike

Mother’s Energy; Father’s Allergy – Obele Kenechi Chioma

Neverland – Uche Okonkwo

Silent Screams – Jeremiah Oluwabamise Nzere

Tainted Hope – Chukwumerije Chukwuka Godson

The Accidental Surprise – Sharon-Ann Onohitare Alofokhai

The Antidote – Gabriel Faniyan

The Dead Nurse Who Came For Her Baby – Kenechukwu Ezenwa-Ohaeto

The Seamstress – Tee Jay Dan

The Waiting – Lawal Fu’ad Olalekan

There’s A Hero In Diaspora – Timothy Chukwunwogor

Unforeseen – Nnaemeka Ugochukwu

When Death Is Not Enough – Collins Opurozor

Congratulations to the winners and the shortlisted writers. We’re very proud of you and we look forward to reading more of your great work.


  1. @edDREAMZ

    February 25, 2014 at 10:41 am

    Nice one to see a nigerian emerging as one of the winners…… Uche God bless yu jor….

  2. Bella

    February 25, 2014 at 10:41 am

    Kai -a beg is that her real name now? Chai wicked parents!!

    • zimbabwean

      February 25, 2014 at 10:08 pm

      It’s her pen-name

  3. CAROL

    February 25, 2014 at 10:50 am

    makorokoto mudikani

  4. Troll

    February 25, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    I’ve read through the stories and I’d say that Uche’s story deserved to win; not so much of a story line but the writing was effortless. Another good contender would have been “The Seamstress” though I feel like I haven’t really gotten the message behind it. While some stories IMO shouldn’t have even made this shortlist, our writers can’t possibly be this bad..can they?

  5. tatafo!

    February 25, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    We Need New Names is a great book….I recommend everyone read it if you get a chance to do so. Very very relatable story.

    • Tosin

      May 16, 2014 at 3:30 pm

      I still haven’t read this novel…time time time…but will soon insha’Allah

  6. zimbabwean

    February 25, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    yay! NoViolet Bulawayo is her pen name, her parents were kind to her lol, have read a few of the other stories (love Nigerian literature) but my love for We Need New Names was biased because it took me back home, great prize & I love the Pan Africanism. 1 Africa, Africa Unite!

  7. yinka

    February 26, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    She deserves it..kudos!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Tangerine Africa

Star Features