You are here: HomeNews2003 12 09Article 48004

Entertainment of Tuesday, 9 December 2003

Source: This Day

Macmillan Releases Shortlist of Writer's Prize

Writers from Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and Zambia have been shortlisted for the 2004 Macmillan Writer's Prize for Africa, the only prize to recognise the very best in unpublished African fiction for children and young people.

The shortlist of seven has been chosen from an impressive number of entries totaling just over 500 manuscripts. Entries were submitted by both new and experienced writers from 18 different countries across the continent: Egypt, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. There were also a number of entries from writers living overseas.

This year's Chair of the judges Beverley Naidoo comments: 'The Macmillan Writer's Prize for Africa has once again revealed enthusiasm and talent in writers across me continent exploring a variety of themes. Reaching our shotlist wasn't easy. We actively debated individual merits in widely differing scripts, assessing them in terms of originality, quality of writing and appeal to intended audience. While our shotlist was unanimous, each of us was affected by yet other stones mat touched us while not quite meeting ad of our criteria.

The shortlist which includes four new writers is in two categories as follows:

Junior Award for an original unpublished story in English for children between the ages of 8 and 12. Nominees in the category include Jackee Budesta Batanda (Uganda) for "The Blue Marble", Anthony Kwamlah Johnson (Ghana) for "The Bamboo Girl", and Gichaba Joseck (Kenya) for "The Talking Pot".

The Senior Award for an original unpublished story in English for teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 category has four nominees including Osita Okoroafor (Nigeria) for "Begotten of the Gods", Ellen Mulenga Aaku (Zambia) for Wandi's Voice", Elizabeth Irene Baitie (Ghana) for Lea's Christmas", and Alice Muthoni Gichuru (Kenya) for "I Refuse to be a Static".

The judging panel for the Macmillan Writer's Prize for Africa is: Awardwinning children's author Beverley Naidoo (Chair) and Meshack Asare; writer and broadcaster Aminatta Forna; and newspaper columnist and winner of the 2002 Best New Children's Writer Award Susan Kajura.

The winners will be announced on 15 January 2004 along with presentation and publication details.