Nneka Arimah and Ayobami Adebayo, two Nigerians, alongside one South African, have been shortlisted for the 2018 9mobile Prize for Literature.


The prize celebrates new writers of African descent whose first fiction book was published over the last 24 months and accepts any printed books of any genre written or published in English translation.

While Arimah’s ‘What it Means When a Man Falls Down from the Sky’ and Adebayo’s ‘Stay with Me’ earned the duo their place on the shortlist, ‘Asylum’ by Marcus Low, a South African, is the third fictional shortlisted for the prize.

Layi Onafowokan, 9mobile’s acting director for marketing, in a press statement issued on Thursday, reiterated the telecommunication company’s commitment to promoting talents and fulfilling the promises made.


“The executive management of 9mobile will like to sincerely thank all the eminent scholars that have served as the Patrons and Judges of the 9mobile Prize for Literature initiative for their excellent service over the years,” he said.

“The winner from the shortlist for the 2018 edition of the 9mobile Prize for Literature competition — comprising ‘What it Means When a Man Falls Down from the Sky’ by Lesley Nneka Arimah, ‘Stay with Me’ by Ayobami Adebayo, and ‘Asylum’ by Marcus Low — will be announced soon.”

The 9mobile Prize for Literature, launched in 2013, is the first pan-African literary prize that celebrates African first-time writers of published fiction and it is open solely to writers from African countries — resident anywhere in the world.


Zimbabwe’s NoViolet Bulawayo won the inaugural edition of the prize in 2014 with ‘We Need New Names’, while Songeziwe Mahlangu, South African novelist, won with ‘Penumbra’ in 2015.

Fiston Mwanza Mujila from the Democratic Republic of Congo won in 2016 with ‘Tram 83’ and, in 2017, Nigeria’s Jowhor Ile won for his first book ‘And After Many Days’.

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