CANEX Book Factory names judges for its publishing prize

What you need to know:

  • The CANEX Book Factory, a key intervention under the CANEX programme, aims to promote a vibrant literary culture across Global Africa and encourage the development of a sustainable business ecosystem in the literary sector. 

The CANEX Book Factory has unveiled the distinguished panel of judges for the inaugural CANEX Prize for Publishing in Africa. 
Chaired by author, Dr Wale Okediran, the 2024 panel of judges features Ivorian writer and essayist Edwige-Renée Dro along with Egyptian poet, novelist and journalist Ashraf Aboul-Yazid.
 
Okediran serves as the secretary-general of the Pan African Writers’ Association (PAWA). An accomplished author, he has published 14 novels, many of which are part of the reading curriculum in various Nigerian universities. In 2010, he co-founded the Ebedi International Writers Residency in Iseyin, Oyo State, the first of its kind in Nigeria. 

Okediran is also the deputy secretary-general for the Union of Writers from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. His novel, Tenants of the House, was adapted into a movie that has been featured on Netflix. 
Dro is a writer, literary translator, and literary activist from Côte d’Ivoire. Her short stories and essays have been widely anthologised. Her interests lie in exploring linguistic justice via the various variations of English and French spoken in Africa. She has served on the juries of Caine Prize for African Writing; the PEN International Short Story Prize; and has been a member of the advisory board of the PEN/HEIM Translation Fund. 
Aboul-Yazid, also known as Ashraf Dali, has been a significant figure in cultural journalism for more than 30 years, authoring and translating nearly 40 books. 

Aboul-Yazid’s dedication to culture and literature has earned him prestigious awards, including the Manhae Prize in Literature in 2014 in the Republic of Korea and the Arab Journalism Award in Culture in 2015 in the UAE. He has served as the president of the Asia Journalist Association since April 2016, and is a founding member of the Congress of African Journalists (CAJ). 

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) launched the CANEX Prize for Publishing in Africa, a partnership between the CANEX Book Factory and the Narrative Landscape Press Limited. The prize is part of the CANEX Book Factory. The CANEX Book Factory is an annual programme of events of the Creative Africa Nexus (CANEX) initiative of the Afreximbank that is designed to spotlight and elevate the African book value chain. This year’s award ceremony will be held in Algiers, Algeria from October 16 to 19. 

The CANEX Book Factory, a key intervention under the CANEX programme, aims to promote a vibrant literary culture across Global Africa and encourage the development of a sustainable business ecosystem in the literary sector. 

The judges will present a long-list of 10 publishers in August followed by a shortlist of five finalists in September. A $20,000 (Shs74m) prize will be awarded to the publisher of the best trade book at the CANEX WKND. The remaining four finalists will each receive $2,000 (about Shs7.4m) in prize. 

“Through the CANEX Prize, we aim to recognise 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,” Kanayo Awani, the Executive Vice President-Intra African Trade and Export Development Bank at Afreximbank, said. 

On the importance of initiatives such as CANEX, renowned writer and novelist Chimamanda Adichie 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.” 

The competition
Submissions will be judged on the quality of writing, editing and production. Priority will be given to books printed and produced in Africa as well as to books published in indigenous African languages. CANEX invites publishers in Africa to submit published trade books for the inaugural CANEX Prize for Publishing in Africa, via: https://canex.africa/canex-book-factory. The deadline for submissions is June 30, 2024. CANEX was launched in 2020 by Afreximbank as a key driver for development and job creation in Africa.