Afreximbank Offers $20,000 CANEX Prize for Publishing in Africa

May 21, 2024
CANEX Prize for Publishing in Africa

By Adedapo Adesanya

Afreximbank has announced the launch of the $20,000 CANEX Prize for Publishing in Africa to promote a vibrant literary culture across Africa and encourage the development of a sustainable business ecosystem in the literary sector.

The prize, which is open for submission, is a partnership between the CANEX Book Factory and Narrative Landscape Press Limited.

The CANEX Book Factory, a key intervention under the CANEX programme, was launched in 2020 by Afreximbank as a key driver for development and job creation in Africa, having recognized the relevance and opportunities provided by the creative and cultural industries.

The CANEX Book Factory will spotlight and elevate the African book value chain through a Pan-African writing workshop, an e-newsletter highlighting African literature and a prize for publishing in Africa.

This will culminate in the Award Ceremony at the CANEX WKND to be held in Algiers, Algeria between October 16 and 19, 2024.

A $20,000 prize will be awarded to the publisher of the best trade book. Trade books refer to books published for a general audience, including fiction, non-fiction, and poetry and exclude textbooks and academic books. Additionally, four finalists will each receive $2,000 in prize money.

Commenting on this announcement, Mrs Kanayo Awani, Executive Vice President-Intra African Trade and Export Development Bank at Afreximbank said: “We are thrilled to announce the launch of The CANEX Prize for Publishing in Africa, a pioneering initiative by Afreximbank aimed at promoting and celebrating excellence in African publishing.

“This prize underscores our commitment to nurturing Africa’s creative industries and supporting the vibrant literary landscape across the continent. Through the CANEX Prize, we aim to recognize and empower African authors and publishers who play a vital role in shaping our cultural identity and enriching our communities through literature in what is a multi-billion-dollar industry.”

The initiative has also onboarded award-winning Nigerian novelist, Ms Chimamanda Adichie, known for some of her critically acclaimed work including Purple Hibiscus, Half of A Yellow Sun, and Americanah.

She said: “Imagine being an African, dreaming about being a writer, surrounded by people in a room who share the same interests, it propels you, it gives you hope. I’ve always believed that there is nothing more essential to the human spirit than hope. For me, CANEX is about hope – the hope of many more African stories.”

According to a statement, submissions will be judged on the quality of writing, editing and production. Priority will be given to books printed and produced on the African continent as well as to books published in indigenous African languages. A key concession for the inaugural year (2024) is that books published in the preceding two years will be considered.

“By supporting the enabling environment for various creative sectors like fashion, music, film, art, literature, gastronomy, and sport; CANEX seeks to support the advancement and expansion of the creative and cultural economy, both within Africa and the diaspora, utilizing various financial and non-financial tools and initiatives,” the statement added.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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