Nigerian writer, Jowhor Ile, has been announced winner of the 2016 edition of Etisalat Prize for Literature, the most prestigious literature prize for first-time fiction writers of African origin. Jowhor Ile was born in 1980 and raised in Nigeria, where he currently lives. His fiction has appeared in McSweeney’s Quarterly and Litro Magazine.
Jowhor Ile was awarded £15,000 for his novel which has already gathered rave reviews and recommendations from renowned writers. The ceremony held on the 20th of May 2017, at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos where Jowhor went home with an engraved Montblanc Meisterstück pen among several other rewards.
Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Matthew Willsher, congratulated the winner and the runners-up, and restated the company’s commitment to continuously offer Nigerians and other Africans the best platforms to express their passion and creativity.
And After Many Days, set in Port Harcourt in the oil-rich Niger-Delta region of Nigeria, details the story of a family whose 17-year old son and sibling, Paul Utu, goes missing during the rainy season of 1995. Burdened with the sudden loss, the family gets torn apart, as their search for answers uncovers several family secrets.
Jowhor will also be under the mentorship of Professor Giles Foden, the author of Last King of Scotland, and one thousand copies of his book shall be purchased by Etisalat.
Past winners of the Etisalat Prize for Literature include Democratic Republic of Congo’s Fiston Mwanza Mujila, for his novel, Tram 83; South African writer, Songeziwe Mahlangu for his novel, Penumbra and Zimbabwean writer NoViolet Bulawayo for her novel, We Need New Names.
Taiye Selasi, author of Ghana Must Go writes says about Jowhor’s winning novel, “One rarely finds ‘page-turner’ and ‘poetry’ in the same sentence, but And After Many Days is a rarity indeed…An achingly tender portrait of family life, a brilliantly executed whodunnit, a searing critique of Nigerian politics, a meditation on love. The Utu family will stay with me always.”