…Fiston Mwanza Mujila!
Poet and novelist Fiston Mwanza Mujila was on Saturday, 19th March 2016, announced as the winner of the 2015 Etisalat Prize for Literature for his first novel, Tram 83. Originally written in French, Tram 83 was translated into English by Roland Glasser and published by Deep Vellum. 35-year-old Mujila is the first Francophone writer to win the prestigious Etisalat Prize, the first ever pan-African prize that celebrates debut fiction books by African authors.
Fiston Mujila was announced winner by the Chair of judges, Ato Quayson, at the award ceremony held at Intercontinental Lagos Hotel, which was broadcast live on Hip TV and viewed by over 30 million people across Africa. The event was also live-streamed on the internet.
Tram 83 is the first novel by a DR Congo writer to be translated into English in over two decades. The novel centres around Lucien, an idealistic writer sucked into the dystopian world of his friend, Requiem, a gangster who reigns supreme in the outrageous, extravagant and glamorously debauched nightlife of a secessionist City-State. The Tram 83 of the title is a nightclub that forms the heart of the crumbling city, in which Requiem and a cast of colourful characters feast.
The judging panel for the 2015 Etisalat Prize for Literature was chaired by Ato Quayson, Professor of English and inaugural Director of the Centre for Diaspora Studies at the University of Toronto. The panel also comprised writer and editor, Molara Wood; and Zukiswa Wanner, author of Men of the South and London Cape Town Joburg.
The distinguished Patrons of the Etisalat Prize are: noted writer Ama Ata Aidoo (Ghana); Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Dele Olojede (Nigeria); Former deputy editor of Granta magazine and former senior editor at Jonathan Cape, Random House, Ellah Allfrey, OBE (UK, Zimbabwe); writer and scholar, Kole Omotoso (Nigeria); Editor, writer, broadcaster and co-founder of Allison & Busby, Margaret Busby, OBE (UK/Ghana); and novelist, poet and playwright, Zakes Mda (South Africa).
Great Reads 2016: Breathtaking inspirational true-life stories of courage, hard work, never giving up and having hope when there is hopelessness all around.