Big New Pan-african Fiction Prize for First-time Novelists

The “Etisalat Prize for Literature” — not to be confused with the million-dirham Etisalat Prize for Arabic Children’s Literature — launches this year, calling itself “first ever pan-African prize celebrating first time writers of published fiction books”:

logoSubmitted works must be the writer’s first novel of over 30,000 words and must have been published within the twenty-four months previous to the call to entry. They also must be written originally in English: No translations are eligible.

Authors and their publishers can be based anywhere in the world, but the authors must have African citizenship and publishers can’t be start-ups: They must have brought out works by at least 10 authors.

Sylva Nze Ifedigbo ‏(@nzesylva) commented on Twitter that “gives a straight red card to self published authors & those under ‘once-in-a-blue-moon’ publishers” and added: “Wondering how many Nigerian publishers have released 10 books in the last 3 years. *counting on my fingers* #etisalatprize”

However, books can also be called in by the judges.

The winner will receive £15,000 and a sponsored book tour of three African cities. The three shortlisted writers will get a two-city book tour.

The prize further promises to buy 1,000 copies of each of the shortlisted books and donate them to various schools and libraries. Complete guidelines can be found on Etisalat’s website.


Call to Entry 5th June 2013
Entry Deadline 30th August 2013
Longlist announced November 2013
Shortlist announced January 2013
Winner announced February 2014


The prize can be followed on Twitter at @etisalatreads and on Facebook at