May 20th, 2017 left the Nigerian literary community in a state of elation as a fellow Nigerian writer, Johwor Ile was announced the winner for the Etisalat Prize for Literature 2016 for the first time since inception of the prize, the most prestigious literature prize for first-time fiction writers of African origin, for his novel And After Many Days.

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Ile was presented his prize of £15,000 and an engraved Montblanc Meisterstück pen among several other rewards at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. The judging panel chaired by multiple award-winning novelist and poet, Helon Habila saw him worthy of this prize following a unanimous selection from the panel.

Habila, while congratulating the winner and the runners-up, disclosed that the prize-winning book met the required standards of originality, creative excellence and African sensibility, in keeping with the objective of the Etisalat Prize, which is to promote literary excellence in Africa.

In addition to the prize money, other rewards for Ile include an Etisalat-sponsored fellowship at the University of East Anglia where he will be mentored by Professor Giles Foden, author of The Last King of Scotland’.  He and the two runners-up will participate in a multi-city book tour of three African countries also sponsored by Etisalat Nigeria. Furthermore, Etisalat will purchase 1,000 copies of their books for distribution to schools, libraries and book clubs across Africa.

The runners-up for the prize include Another Nigerian, Julie Iromuanya, author of the book, Mr & Mrs Doctor, and a South African, Jacqui L’Ange, author of The Seed Thief.

Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Matthew Willsher, congratulated the winner and the runners-up, and restated the company’s commitment to continuously offer Nigerians and other Africans the best platforms to express their passion and creativity.

Past winners of the Etisalat Prize for Literature include Democratic Republic of Congo’s Fiston Mwanza Mujila, for his novel, Tram 83; South African writer, Songeziwe Mahlangu for his novel, Penumbra and Zimbabwean writer NoViolet Bulawayo for her novel, We Need New Names.