The long wait finally came to an end as 9Mobile announced the winner of the 2018 9Mobile prize for literature in a private ceremony in Lagos last night.
In January 2018, 9Mobile released a shortlist of three which had “Stay with Me” by Nigeria’s Ayobami Adebayo, “What it Means When a Man Falls Down From the Sky” by Lesley Nneka Arimah, another Nigeria, and “Asylum” by Marcus Low, a South African, following a longlist that was unveiled in 2017.
18 months down the line, nothing was said or heard from the organizers of the prize until June 2019 when the board members of the prize, in a press release, announced their resignation. This possibly galvanized the management of 9Mobile to releasing a press statement, just two days after, reiterating their commitment towards announcing the 2018 winner of the £15,000 prize.
In a tweet from 9mobileNg yesterday, Ayobami Adebayo became the fifth winner of the 9Mobile prize for literature.
Besides the £15,000 prize money, the winner also receives an engraved Montblanc Meisterstück pen and a sponsored fellowship at the University of East Anglia, where they will be mentored by Professor Giles Foden, author of The Last King of Scotland. And in addition to 9Mobile purchasing 1,000 copies of each of the shortlisted books for distribution to schools, libraries and book clubs across the continent, all the finalists will further participate in a multi-city book tour.