The James Currey Prize for African Literature has been announced. It is an annual award for the best-unpublished work of fiction written in English by any writer, set in Africa, or on Africans in Africa or in Diaspora.
It was established in 2020 by Nigerian writer, filmmaker, and publisher of Hattus Books, Onyeka Nwelue, in honour of James Currey, the leading publisher of academic books on Africa – dedicated to distributing books about Africa in Africa.
The winner receives £1000.
It is run by the World Arts Agency.
The late Currey, co-founder of James Currey publishers (established 1984) has been called “The Godfather of African Literature”. His publishing house is responsible for producing vast numbers of academic books, journals, fiction, and non-fiction books about Africa, especially in a period when it was considered not profitable to publish books about Africa. He together with Chinua Achebe under the auspices of Heinemann publishers, produced the famous African Writers Series (AWS) which has inspired many Africans around the world.
The Prize is awarded annually for the best first unpublished full-length work of fiction written in English.
The winner of the Prize will be selected from a long list of ten titles, followed by a shortlist of three outstanding manuscripts submitted for the prize.
A statement by the organisers said: “Any eligible manuscript, which is entered for the Prize, will only qualify if they meet the criteria for submission and it satisfies the conditions set out in the rules.
“The winning author will be signed to World Arts Agency if they do not have any agent. Each shortlisted author will be invited to attend the Prize ceremony.
“The curators reserve the right to vary the rules and conditions of Entry and may also alter the published programme without prior notice as necessary.
“Writers may enter up to two unpublished full-length manuscripts. Entry forms must be submitted by April 1st, 2021 to [email protected] Any full-length unpublished manuscript of fiction, is eligible. Short stories or novella are not eligible. The authors must be living at the time of submission. A longlist of ten titles will be announced on June 1st, 2021. A shortlist of three titles will be announced on July 1st, 2021. The winner will be announced on September 3rd, 2021.”
The panel is chaired by Sarah Inya Lawal, a producer, talent manager and business development manager working across theatre, film, TV and brand management for artists. Members are Bibi Ukonu, poet, novelist and publisher, Pinkie Mekgwe, the Senior Regional Advisor for Africa and West Asia at the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), Kennedy Ekezie-Joseph, the CEO & Co-Founder at Africave, Arun “Jay” Janakiraman, who has a track record of leading product management and design efforts, Barbara Adair, a writer and Ph.D. student at the University of Pretoria, Miko Yamanouchi, the President of Japan UNI Agency, Inc.
Sarah Inya Lawal (chair)