Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Baobab Prize

*Africans building Africa is very much in line with the spirit of this blog so I was excited to learn that one of our own, Ms. Deborah Ahenkorah has recently launched an annual writing competition-The Baobab Prize. While there exist prestigious awards like the Caine Prize and Commonwealth Writers Prize for African writing, until now, there has been no award matching the afore mentioned prizes in prestige for short stories targeted at young people. The Baobab Prize which aims to encourage African children to read and write literature with strong African content addresses this need. The submission deadline for 2008 is 31st October . Please visit their Web site for entry requirements and more details. You can also view their Facebook group.

The Baobab Prize is a wonderful first step, but I'd like to see more support for African writers beyond the prize money. I say this because in 2001, I won 2nd prize for a national writing competition in Ghana, and was given some money for it. The money was great, however between then and now, I've received little support in my pursuit of a literary career. I imagine that it would be feasible to use the writing competition to identify talent, following which young writers could be given creative writing workshops and opportunities to publish their work. I wonder who should take on the task of following up with young writers and providing them support. Is it the place of the organizers of writing competitions to do this? If so, in what ways can they help, and if not, who should do this? Put simply, after the prize then what?

I will be forwarding your suggestions to Ms. Ahenkorah the founder of the Baobab Prize but if the implementation of the ideas generated are outside the scope of their work, we (myself and readers of this blog) will identify the appropriate organizations/individuals to take up the task, and and create one where such organizations do not exist. I look forward to your

*Photo credits: Baobab Prize Web site

1 comment:

  1. I think this is a great idea... I've read you're writing and you've obviously very talented. But as you said, beyond the short term gratification of the prize money, there's no way to celebrate the achievement.