Sunday, May 26, 2013

Nigerian Professor's First Novel Wins Commonwealth Book Prize for Africa



E.E Sule.

Dr. Sule E. Egya writing under the pen name of "E.E. Sule" is among the regional winners of the 2013 Commonwealth Book Prize for his first novel Sterile Sky.

The coming of age story of the gifted young Murtala who had to confront the horrors of the violent riots and the woes of his family in Kano.
Stalked by monsters real and imagined, desperate to preserve a sense of self and the future, Murtala hunts for answers in the wreckage of the city – and gives us a unique insight into modern life in northern Nigeria.

Sule is an Associate Professor in Department of English at the Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai, Nigeria. Besides published academic work and essays, Dr.Egya is the author of the short story collections Impotent Heavens and Dream and Shame, and the poetry volumes Naked Sun, Knifing Tongues and What the Sea Told Me. His poems, short stories, and critical work have appeared in numerous journals, anthologies and literary magazines. Sterile Sky is his first novel.

 “This is great news for me! I’m bursting with excitement! I consider it a milestone in my career as a writer – that moment you think you have got a needed impetus, in fact a revelation, to perform better, to aim higher. I also feel confident that Sterile Sky is a worthy work; it has begun its own journey in life. I sincerely thank everyone involved in making it what it is,” Sule exclaimed as he received the good news of his prize.

Press release

The Commonwealth Foundation has announced the regional winners for the 2013 Commonwealth Book Prize and Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Representing Africa, Asia, Canada and Europe, Caribbean, and the Pacific regions, these writers will now
compete to become the overall winner, to be announced at Hay Festival UK on 31 May.

The Commonwealth Book Prize is awarded for the best first novel, and the Commonwealth Short Story Prize for the best piece of unpublished short fiction.

Part of Commonwealth Writers, the prizes unearth, develop and promote the best of new writing from across the Commonwealth, developing literary connections worldwide and consistently bringing less-heard voices to the fore. The cultural breadth of stories from this year’s regional winners includes Sri Lanka on the eve of independence from
British Colonial rule, the Socialist regime of 1970s Jamaica, and a South Africa riven by apartheid.

Commonwealth Book Prize

Regional Winner, Africa

Sterile Sky, E.E. Sule (Nigeria), Pearson Education

Regional Winner, Asia

Island of a Thousand Mirrors, Nayomi Munaweera (Sri Lanka), Perera-Hussein Publishing House

Regional Winner, Canada & Europe

The Death of Bees, Lisa O’Donnell (United Kingdom), William Heinemann

Regional Winner, Caribbean

Disposable People, Ezekel Alan (Jamaica), self-published.

Regional Winner, Pacific

The Last Thread, Michael Sala (Australia), Affirm Press

Commenting on the winners, Chair of the Commonwealth Book Prize, Godfrey Smith said:
“Choosing the regional winners from among the 21
shortlisted books was a rewarding journey across diverse cultures,
through soaring – sometimes shocking – imaginations, movingly connecting
us with a fascinating range of human situations. The five regional
winners are an impressive mixture of bold, ambitious, powerfully
descriptive and emotionally riveting writing that will leave us with a
deeper appreciation and understanding of our world.”

Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Regional Winner, Africa

“The New Customers”, Julian Jackson (South Africa)

Regional Winner, Asia

“The Sarong-Man in the Old House, and an Incubus for a Rainy Night”, Michael Mendis (Sri Lanka)

Regional Winner, Canada & Europe

“We Walked On Water”, Eliza Robertson (Canada)

Regional Winner, Caribbean

“The Whale House”, Sharon Millar (Trinidad and Tobago)

Regional Winner, Pacific

“Things with Faces”, Zoë Meager (New Zealand)

Chair of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, Razia Iqbal said, “The short story is among the hardest forms to master. The five stories we chose as regional winners all pass the judges’ tests of capturing a distinctive tone; creating fulsome characters; always deft in showing, not telling; subject matter both intimate and personal, as well as ranging across political landscapes. Reading them will transport you, as
all good literature does, and introduce you to voices we are sure you will hear again.”

Commonwealth Writers has partnered with Granta magazine to give regional winners of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize the opportunity to be published by Granta online during the week commencing 27 May.

John Freeman, Editor of Granta said: “The Commonwealth Short Story Prize searches across a vast territory with relentless curiosity to select the brightest new talent from each region, and this year is stronger than ever. With voices that arrest, affirm, disturb and illuminate, this new crop of writers turn our expectations for what a story can do, and of where they are calling from, inside out. This partnership is an example of what the magazine can be at best – a beacon for those writers we didn’t know we were missing out on – and we salute
Commonwealth Writers in their continuing good work.”









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