Cash price award for authors launched

mukoma wa ngugi   Mukoma wa Ngugi

Authors can now submit their published works of fiction, poetry, memoirs and graphic novels for the Mabati-Cornell Kiswahili Prize.

The prize launched last weekend at the Ake Arts & Books Festival in Abeokuta, Nigeria, will see works published within two years of the award year, honoured.

The manuscripts should go above 50,000 words for fiction and 60 pages for poetry creations, and should be submitted by March 31, 2015.

The winning entries will be published by East African Educational Publishers (EAEP). Africa Poetry Book fund will translate and publish the winning poetry work.

To cap it all, the first prize winners of both fiction or non-fiction, and poetry will walk away with $5,000 , while  $3,000 will be awarded to the second prize winners in any genre; and $2,000 for the third prize in any genre.

The winners will also attend a one-week residency at Cornell University and another one-week residency at a partner institution in the US or Africa.

The prize focuses on recognising literary creations in African languages as well as encouraging translations of those creations, between African languages, and from non-African languages to African languages.

“The prize recognises that all languages are created equal and no one language should thrive at the expense of the other.

But beyond that recognition, the Prize sets a historical precedent for African philanthropy by Africans and shows that African philanthropy can and should be at the centre of African cultural production,” said the co-founder of the Prize, Prof Mukoma wa Ngugi.

Celebrated Kenyan author, who is also the Prize’s Member of the Board of Trustees, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, said there is need for such an awarding body to recognise literature written in African languages.

“The Mabati-Cornell prize is a major intervention in the struggle for writing in African languages, for their place and visibility in the global sun of literary imagination.

Prizes have generally been used to drown African Literature in African languages under a Europhone flood. I hope that this prize becomes an invitation for other African languages to do the same and much more,” he commented.