Tram 83 Etisalat Nomination!

Tram 83 is nominated for the Etisalat Prize!

Congratulations to Fiston Mwanza Mujila & translator Roland Glasser, TRAM 83 has been nominated for the prestigious 2015 Etisalat Prize for Literature, created in 2013 as the first pan-African literary prize for authors of debut fiction. This is a huge honor for Fiston, as he is accompanied by a lineup of some of the most amazing authors from Africa today, including the Booker-nominated Chigozie Obioma and ZP Dala (both of whom are represented by the same literary agency as Fiston, the Pontas Agency!). This is also a huge deal for us and Fiston AND Roland, as Tram 83 has become the first non-Anglophone African novel ever nominated for this prestigious prize, we are so thankful to the Etisalat Prize for acknowledging that translated works belong in the same discussion as their English-original counterparts!!

Etisalat 2015 longlist - Cover

More about the prize from the press release:

Lagos, Nigeria: November 12, 2015: Nigeria’s most innovative and fastest growing telecommunications services company, Etisalat, today announced the longlist for the 2015 Etisalat Prize for Literature. This year’s longlist of nine books have been chosen from a field of over 100 titles submitted from across the continent.

The longlist for the 2015 Etisalat Prize for Literature:

  • Ifeoluwapo Adeniyi (Nigeria), On the Bank of the River
  • Penny Busetto (South Africa), The Story of Anna P, as Told by Herself
  • Z P Dala (South Africa), What About Meera
  • Kurt Ellis (South Africa), By Any Means
  • Paula Marais (South Africa), Shadow Self
  • Fiston Mwanza Mujila (Democratic Republic of Congo), Tram 83
  • Masande Ntshanga (South Africa), The Reactive
  • Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria), The Fishermen
  • Rehana Rossouw (South Africa), What Will People Say?

The longlist was selected by an esteemed three-member judging panel: Professor Ato Quayson (chair of judges), Professor of English and inaugural Director of the Centre for Diaspora Studies at the University of Toronto (Chair of Judges); Molara Wood, writer, journalist, critic and editor; and Zukiswa Wanner, author of Men of the South and London Cape Town Joburg.

Judging Panel’s comments:

Professor Ato Quayson: “The range of submissions for the Etisalat Prize this represents the vitality of literary writing on the continent, and the longlist is a selective showcase of the best to be found. The subjects covered in the longlist are so fascinating and varied that it would take another novel just to describe them all. Magnificent!”

Zukiswa Wanner: “The books on the longlist evoked many emotions in me as a judge and as a reader for the originality of their plots and the beauty of the language used.   I know I shall be revisiting and gifting to friends many of them long after the winner has been announced.”

Molara Wood: “The longlisted books push the boundaries in their themes and inventive use of language. This is a rich array of bold new writing on what it means to be human in the world today, by irresistible African voices.”

The judges now have the task of selecting a shortlist of three at a retreat in the Seychelles in December. The shortlisted writers will go on a multi-city sponsored tour to be announced in December 2015 and will also have 1,000 copies of their books purchased by Etisalat for distribution to schools, libraries and book clubs across the Continent.

The winner of the 2015 Etisalat Prize for Literature will receive £15,000, an engraved Montblanc Meisterstück pen and will attend an Etisalat sponsored fellowship at the University of East Anglia, mentored by Professor Giles Foden, author of The Last King of Scotland.

The Etisalat Prize for Literature launched in June 2013 is the first pan-African prize that is open solely to debut fiction writers of African citizenship and has now established itself as the most prestigious literary prize for African fiction.

The distinguished Patrons of the Etisalat Prize are noted African writer Ama Ata Aidoo (Ghana), Pulitzer Prize winner Dele Olojede (Nigeria), Former deputy editor of Granta magazine and former senior editor at Jonathan Cape, Random House, Ellah Allfrey, OBE (UK, Zimbabwe), Writer and Intellectual best known for his works of fiction, Kole Omotoso (Nigeria), Editor, writer, broadcaster, consultant and co-founder of Allison & Busby, Margaret Busby, OBE (UK/Ghana) and Novelist, Poet and Playwright, Zakes Mda (South Africa).

Did we mention we’re opening a bookstore in Dallas this fall?!?!

That’s right, Deep Ellum is getting its first (and hopefully not the last) bookstore in a long long time, as our friends at Central Track discussed when breaking the news last week. We’ve moved our offices over to 3000 Commerce St. (on the corner of Commerce & Walton, just a block behind All Good Cafe, catty-corner from the Common Desk), and we’re opening an indie bookstore, cafe, and cultural center that will sell indie published titles (mostly, but not exclusively, translations); plus serve coffee, beer, and wine; and will serve as our home for our nonprofit programming (readings, translation workshops, creative writing classes, bookmaking workshops, etc), in addition to other readings, music, film, and art events. It will be programmed 7 nights a week, so get in touch if you have ideas.

We’re hosting a housewarming/launch party for the Deep Vellum Bookstore on December 9th at 6pm, so be there, then come for our inaugural Deep Vellum Book Club event on January 5th, where Sergio Waisman, translator of Ricardo Piglia’s Target in the Night, out officially everywhere tomorrow, will discuss his translation and the inner workings of Piglia’s masterpiece. This is a unique opportunity to delve inside the reading of a Deep Vellum book, it’s not a traditional reading, it is for all those who have been reading and enjoying DV books in our local community who have asked us to host a book club to get together with fellow readers to discuss further these amazing books, and now that we have the space, this will kick off a monthly series, starting with Piglia, then moving on to either Leila Chudori’s Home or Jón Gnarr’s The Pirate in February!

Sergio Waisman is also reading at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC on December 4th, and in Texas first at Deep Vellum’s own bookstore on January 5th, then at Brazos Bookstore in Houston on January 6th (and we’re working on an Austin event during MLA, where we’ll be in booth #221, for January 8th, stay tuned!).

Waisman LOC Event Target In The Night (12-4-15)Speaking of book clubs, for all our friends & readers in Houston, Brazos Bookstore’s own Brazos Book Club has selected Leila Chudori’s breathtaking epic novel Home as its January book club pick!! Pick up your copy from them today & start reading to join in the discussion on January 20th at Brazos!!

In more fun news, if you’re getting ready to do any shopping on Amazon this holiday season, please consider shopping using AmazonSmile and selecting Deep Vellum as your supported charity of choice. A percentage of every sale made through AmazonSmile is donated directly to Deep Vellum. Buy books from your local bookstores anywhere/anytime you can, but if you’re shopping Amazon, do a little bit of good at the same time, your support means the world to us! And if you don’t shop Amazon, you can always donate to us directly here or mail us a check or drop one off at our new bookstore we’re opening in Dallas this fall (3000 Commerce St.).


If you missed it over the weekend, Fiston Mwanza Mujila was interviewed in the awesome blog/digital culture journal (it’s so much more than a blog), Africa is a Country, by Pedro Monaville, check it out here:

Your novel conjures the energy of the Congo, yet you wrote it from Austria. Was it a challenge to write a novel that is so infused with disorder, vitality, and convulsions while living in a country mostly known for – excuse the clichés – its draconian sense of order, quaint national costumes and picture-puzzle landscapes?

The Congo is like a cumbersome piece of luggage that you would carry everywhere. When you leave the country, you take the Congo with you. You become the Congo. You get interested in everything that is going on back home and you become more Congolese than the people there. The teeming reality of the country imprisons you when you’re home and you don’t have to define yourself. When you are abroad, you look at the country in a different way. You feel more Congolese and you feel you have to define your difference.

That’s all for now, see you in the land of the literary living around Dallas this week, and if you’ll be at the Guadalajara Book Fair in two weeks, let’s meet up, I’ll be there on the publishers’ fellowship, very excited to attend for the first time!

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