Nigerian writer, Jowhor Ile, has been announced winner of the 2016 edition of the Etisalat Prize for Literature, for his novel And After Many Days. Etisalat prize is the most prestigious literature prize for first-time fiction writers of African origin.
Ile received a prize of £15,000 and an engraved Montblanc Meisterstück pen among several other rewards.
In addition to the prize, he received 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.
Julie Iromuanya, author of the book, Mr & Mrs Doctor, and a South African, Jacqui L’Ange, author of The Seed Thief, emerged as the runners-up for the prize.
Multiple award-winning novelist and poet, Helon Habila congratulated the winner and the runners-ups. He 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.
Jowhor Ile was born in 1980 and grew up in the city of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. He started writing early and has had his short stories published in McSweeney’s Quarterly and Litro Magazine. His novel And After Many Days, set in Port Harcourt in the oil-rich Niger-Delta region of Nigeria, tells the story of a family whose 17-year old son and sibling, Paul Utu, goes missing during the rainy season of 1995. His family gets torn apart, as their search for answers uncovers several family secrets.