Poet Sidang is 2017 Burt Award winner

Poet Adipo Sidang was named the winner of the Burt Award for African literature.

Mr Sidang’s entry was the best literary script in a category reserved for Kenyan writers.

His book, A Boy Named Paw Paw won him 10,000 Canadian dollars (about Sh83,000).

“This is a testament that we have a chance to improve literature and better Africa,” Mr Sidang said on Friday during the ceremony at Mayfair Hotel, Nairobi.

Kenyan writers however failed to shine in the regional category where Ethiopia’s Elshaddai Tesfaye emerged winner with her book Waiting for the Sun.

The Burt Award for African Young Adult Literature is organised by CODE, a Canadian NGO that has been running in four African countries since 2009.

This year, the competition was combined to pick one winning book from Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana and Ethiopia.

The grand prize winner and the runners up were announced last evening.

In what could invite questions about our literary standards, CODE unveiled the Burt Award 2017 All-Stars Shortlist of five books with no Kenyan title gleaming in the constellation.

This comes amid frequent claims of low quality writing by literary observers and critics.

Kenya missed from the shortlist that features two books each from Tanzania and Ghana while Ethiopia has one.

Some Kenyan titles that have won the award Goro wa Kamau’s Ghost and the Fortune Hunters, Christopher Okemwa’s Sabina and the Mystery of the Ogre (2015), Moraa Gitaa’s Shark Attack (2014), Argwings Otieno’s A Taste of Fame (2013) and Anthony Mugo’s Never Say Never (2012).


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