Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Baobab Prize: An African Literary Award

The Baobab Prize 2009, an African literary revolution for children

August 2009 -This month marks the launch of the second annual Baobab Prize, an international literary award established to encourage the writing of African literature for young readers. Issuing a statement to commemorate the launch of the prize, co-founder and director of the prize Ghanaian Deborah Ahenkorah said, “The success of our inaugural year gives us confidence as we launch today. We received entries from nine African countries and our participating writers ranged in age from eleven to sixty-four years. It is clear that the Baobab Prize is here to stay and to revolutionize African literature as we know it.”

The Baobab Prize annually invites entries of unpublished African short stories written for audiences either 8-11 years or 12-15 years. This year the prize will award $1,000 to the best story in each category and $800 to the most promising young writer (18 years and below). Also all short listed stories will be considered for possible publishing. The Baobab Prize is open to African citizens of all ages. Deadline for submission is April 15, 2010.

Rama Shagaya, Senegalese co-founder of the prize says, “the mission of the Baobab Prize is to identify the literary giants of the next generation and produce classic stories that will be appreciated for years to come. This year, we want to challenge African writers to unleash their imagination. Tell us a story we've never heard before. A winning story this year will be a story that stands out."

The winners of the inaugural year of the Baobab Prize were Lauri Kubuitsile from Botswana with Lorato and her Wire Car, the best story written for readers aged 8-11 years; Ivor W. Hartmann from Zimbabwe with Mr. Goop, the best story written for readers aged 12-15 years and Aisha Kibwana from Kenya, the most promising young writer with Strange Visitors that took her Life Away. The Baobab Prize has lofty dreams about the future of African literature. It envisions that in ten years bookstores all over the world will be brimming with top quality African stories written for children. The Baobab Prize was founded in July 2008. Two top stories from its inaugural year have been picked up for publishing in Africa. This literary award is made possible with funds provided by Bryn Mawr College, The Global Fund for Children and members of the Baobab Prize administrative team.

For more info on the competition, email Deborah Ahenkorah, or visit the BAOBAB website...

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