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Quramo Writers’ Prize 2023 announces longlist of 20 writers, unveils judges


Quramo Writers’ Prize (QWP), a one-of-a-kind competition for unpublished African writers, designed to stimulate a new breed of African writers around the world, has announced its longlist for the 2023 edition.

The prize is sponsored by Quramo, which also organises the highly innovative Quramo Festival (Qfest) every year. Announcing the longlist of 20 young writers at the Quramo office in Victoria Island in Lagos was Gbemi Shasore.

Thereafter, the manuscripts were handed over to the 3-man jury made up of Eghosa Imasuen, novelist and publisher, (jury head), Lechi Eke, writer and literary critic and Anote Ajeluorou, journalist and writer.

The shortlist of five manuscripts and their writers will be released in September.

The winning work chosen from among the five shortlisted manuscripts will be announced at Qfest 2023, scheduled to hold at Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos, in a week-long feast of words from October 4-8, 2023. The five authors will also be on a panel to discuss their works at Qfest 2023, so that festival audiences will have insight into their works in the build up to the prize award during Qfest 2023. The theme for Qfest 2023 is ‘Connecting The Dots’.

Quramo Writers’ Prize is worth N1 million given to the winner plus a publishing contract.

The writers whose manuscripts make up the longlist include: Husna Yussif, Obinna Paul Ezeodili, Oluwasegun Odetola, Chidi Nwakpa, Emmanuel Chukwunweike Monyei, Zainab U. Imam, Bisola Faith Akintomide, Mujahid Ameen Lilo, Chiziterem Chijioke, David Vera Sorochi, Grace Aggrey-Fynn and Ishaokanyie Otogbo. Others are: Sandra Uche Delumozie, Adejuwon Akande, Truth Bakare, Uduak Alphonsus Ikono, Chike Ibekwe, Darius Kwabena Partey, Chikezie Onwumere, and Chimezie Agumbah.

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Dr. Eghosa Imasuen is a Nigerian writer and executive director, business development at Narrative Landscape Press Ltd. He worked for several years as a medical doctor before writing his first novel, To Saint Patrick, published by Farafina, an imprint of Kachifo in 2008. He is also the author of Fine Boy and worked as chief operations officer at Kachifo Limited from 2013 – 2016. He is known for his powerful storytelling and deep insight into African culture.

Lechi Eke is a writer, book editor, and a literary scholar who has worked the ladder of the publishing industry from bottom to top, earning her the alias “The Tsarina” (of the publishing industry). She freelances as editor for some publishing companies and has written over 30 short stories and three unpublished long ones. Lechi writes a column for TheNiche and hosts occasional children’s book readings on NTA Educational Channel 10. She also convenes a literary programme called “Reading Café” at the University of Lagos. She is the CEO of Finished Work Enterprises, a book printing, bookselling, and promoting outfit.

Anote Ajeluorou is an accomplished journalist and writer. He worked with The Punch, The Nation and The Guardian, where he rose to become the newspaper’s Arts Editor and later Head of Politics. Ajeluorou has published one children’s book, ‘Igho Goes to Farm’ (Accessible Publishers Ltd) that was longlisted for The Nigeria Prize for Literature 2019 and a poetry collection, Libations for Africa. His novella, Bride of Infidels is due for publication. He recently had a conversation with the 11 longlisted playwrights at CORA-NLNG Book Party 2023.
Quramo Writers’ Prize was opened in April 2017 for the first time for African writers all over the world to submit short stories of 3000 to 5000 words.

In October 2017, the inaugural winner, Samuel Monye, was unveiled with his short story, Give Us This Day, which was then developed into a standard-length novella and released as Give Us Each Day at QWP 2018. The novella was later longlisted for The Nigeria Prize for Literature 2021. Open worldwide to unpublished Africans of any age, gender and nationality, the inaugural edition (QWP 2017) featured two award categories and a prize of ₦1million for each: The Quramo Writers’ Prize for YA and adult fiction.

The two recipients of the latter are Arshiya, for The Forgotten, and Esohe Isabella Cole for her essay on the topic “The World in 2030”.

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Submissions are for a manuscript of a minimum of 30,000 for adults aged 16 and up. The prize accepts entries in the English language and entry is free. Past Quramo Writers’ Prize recipients include: Samuel Monye (2017) for Give Us Each Day, Michael Emmanuel (2018) for Running Waters, Vivian Ibe (2019) for What Dreams Are Made Of, Alex Kadiri (2020) for Sunshower, Akintomiwa Akinnimi (2021) for Looking Glass Bullet, Ibrahim Babatunde Ibrahim (2022) for The Giveaway Bride.

Quramo has also published Mirror on the Wall by Jesutofunmi Fekoya (2018 longlist), which adaptation to film is ongoing, Guilty by Joan Thatiah (2019 runner-up) and The Paths That Take Us by Aliyu Baba-Ari (2020 runner-up).