Commonwealth Writers Prize for Africa Region Shortlist

The Commonwealth Writers Prize for Africa Region Shortlist has been announced. I got this information from Accra Books and Things who also led me to Africa is a Country, where the list have been posted. In the Best Book category there are six books: 4 from South Africa, 1 from Nigeria and another 1 from Sierra Leone. In the First Best Book category there are again 6 books equally shared between Nigeria and South Africa. 

Hey! What are the writers in the other countries doing? Is this indicative of the dearth of excellent writers in the remaining fifty-two countries? 

Africa Best Book:
  1. The Memory of Love by Aminata Forna (Sierra Leone)
  2. Men of the South by Sukiswa Wanner (South Africa)
  3. The Unseen Leopard by Bridget Pitt (South Africa)
  4. Oil on Water by Helon Habila (Nigeria)
  5. Blood at Bay by Sue Rabie (South Africa)
  6. Banquet at Brabazan by Patricia Schonstein (South Africa)
Africa Best First Book:
  1. Happiness is a Four Letter Word by Cynthia Jele (South Africa)
  2. Bitter Leaf by Chioma Okereke (Nigeria)
  3. The Fossil Artist by Graeme Friedman (South Africa)
  4. Colour Blind by Uzoma Uponi (Nigeria)
  5. Voice of America by E.C. Osondu (Nigeria)
  6. Wall of Days by Alastair Bruce (South Africa)
The announcement of the winners would mean that my Commonwealth Writers Prize for Africa Region Reading Challenge would increase by two books. Like fractals, this is possibly a challenge that would not end, or whose end is a function of when organisers would stop awarding writers, at least for the African Region. And I hope it does not end.

Like Accra Books and Things, most of these writers are new to me especially the South African authors. I hope to expand my readings and enrich my mind with these readings.


  1. Nana, in my opinion, I believe that there are countless number of talented writers in the other countries but the thing is all about lack of quality publishing companies who should market the writers and their books. South Africa boasts of well established publishing industry. My recent interview with Rosa tshuma even proves that the literary and publishing scene in South Africa is great. Nonetheless, it is so sad that no Ghanaian was able to make it to shortlist. Aw!

  2. @Geosi, that's a good point. It's all about publishing. It's sad that most African writers only make it 'big' when they leave this continent. I believe we shall get there soon.

  3. Definitely a challenge with no end :) It is surprising that most of the books are from SA and Nigeria and I think what Geosi said is true. The missing piece there is the publishing industry unfortunately. I must say though that I am very happy to see Habila's Oil on Water listed. I really enjoyed that book.

  4. @Amy, I hope so. I am yet to read any of these. I have added all 12 books to my wishlist, which like yours keep growing.

  5. Sadly, only The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna is available at my library. They do have Habila's Measuring Time so there's hope they'll get Oil on Water in the future. And I'm hoping they get the winner if not a few more of the nominees over time. I'll be interested to see what everyone thinks of these books.
    I'm hoping to read the nominees in the other three Commonwealth categories too, availability is the only drawback. Take care.

  6. @Sandra, same here. I have only added all of them to my WISHLIST. Isn't it funny? The books are not available in Ghana. I haven't read any of these. I hope they become African enough with their distribution. I would still be on the look out for these and would let you know my thoughts. I would also look out for your thoughts. Thanks


Post a Comment

Help Improve the Blog with a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

10. Unexpected Joy at Dawn: My Reading

Quotes for Friday from Ola Rotimi's The Gods Are not to Blame I

69. The Clothes of Nakedness by Benjamin Kwakye, A Review