In an interesting recap of last year’s award, Lauri Kubuitsile of Botswana has extended her winning streak by coming tops at the latest edition of the Golden Baobab prize for children’s literature. Her Mechanic’s Son won in the ‘Literature for 12-15 years’ category, where she also triumphed last year with her Lorato and her Wire Car. Lauri is not exactly unknown to readers of African Writing (The Empty Space on the Paper & The Dandelion Wishers).
Mirirai Moyo of Zimbabwe, who won in the 8 – 11 years category for Diki, The Little Earthworm, is new to the award list, although her country is not: Ivor Hartmann, last year’s winner is also Zimbabwean.
In addition, 16-year old Ahmed Farah of Kenya got the Rising Writer’s Award for his Letters from the Flames. Again, he retains the prize for Kenya, following on Aisha Kibwana’s win from last year.
Other writers on the shortlist selected by the six-person judging panel (Jay Heale, Nana Ayebia Clarke, Muthoni Garland, Bibi Bakare-Yusuf, Cynthia Pon and Meshack Asare ) are:
- Dorothy Dyer for War Stories,
- Gothataone Moeng for The Rainmakers of Botalaote,
- Jenny Robson for Only the Stones Still Cry, and
- Patrick Ochieng for Neighbours.
It is early days yet for the Golden Baobab Prize and founders, Deborah Ahenkorah and Rama Shagaya. If the object is to create a prize whose shortlist brings writers to the attention of children and parents not just across Africa but throughout the world, there are still hillocks to climb… but there is a measure of success already: last year’s winning stories in the two main categories are already in print, having been published by South Africa’s Vivilia Publishing (Ivor Hartmann’s Mr. Goop was first published online in African Writing). Not a bad record for a well-regarded 2-year-old award.