Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ has won the £15,000 9Mobile Prize for Literature for her novel, Stay With Me published by Nigerian publisher, Ouida Books.
Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ was announced the winner at an event, which held on 8th August 2019 at the 9mobile headquarters in Banana Island, Lagos. She also received a Montblanc Meisterstück pen among several other rewards.
Ayobami’s announcement followed the unanimous selection of her book by a new judging panel for the 2018 9mobile Prize for Literature.
On receiving the prize, Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ stated:
“It’s unexpected. I’m surprised not just in terms of winning the prize itself because it was a very strong shortlist. The other books were very amazing. Leslie Arimah’s collection of short stories, I think, is one of the best books that was published that year. Marcus Low’s Asylum is also really brilliant. So, it’s surprising to win the prize. I’m shocked.”
The 9Mobile Prize For Literature celebrates debut African writers of published fiction, and the judges for the 2018 edition of the award are Professor Harry Garuba (chair), Doreen Baingana and Siphiwo Mahala.
The prize shortlist had on it Nigeria’s Lesley Nneka Arimah, for What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky; Nigeria’s Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀, for Stay with Me; and South Africa’s Marcus Low, for Asylum.
Acting Managing Director, 9mobile, Stephane Beuvelet, congratulated the winner and the runners-up, and restated the company’s commitment to continuously support Nigerians and other Africans with the best platforms to express their passion and creativity.
“We will continue our sponsorship of the prize. It will continue; I assure you it’s not sunset.”