Afreximbank Launches the CANEX Prize for Publishing in Africa

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Writes Baboloki Semele
 Afreximbank has unveiled an initiative aimed at fostering literary excellence across the African continent. According to a press release from Afreximbank, the CANEX Prize for Publishing in Africa, a collaboration between the CANEX Book Factory and Narrative Landscape Press Limited, promises to invigorate Africa’s literary scene and bolster the continent’s creative economy.
The release says the CANEX Book Factory, an integral part of the CANEX program, seeks to cultivate a thriving literary culture across Africa and promote a sustainable business ecosystem within the literary sector. Launched by Afreximbank in 2020, CANEX is dedicated to driving development and creating job opportunities through the creative and cultural industries.
This initiative according to the release will enhance the African book value chain through various activities, including a Pan-African writing workshop, an e-newsletter focusing on African literature, and the CANEX Prize for Publishing in Africa. The program will culminate in a grand award ceremony during the CANEX WKND event, scheduled to take place in Algiers, Algeria, from October 16-19, 2024.
The highlight of the CANEX Prize is a USD 20,000 award for the publisher of the best trade book. Trade books encompass fiction, non-fiction, and poetry intended for a general audience, excluding textbooks and academic publications. Additionally, four finalists will each receive USD 2,000 in prize money.
Expressing her enthusiasm about the launch, Mrs. Kanayo Awani, Executive Vice president of African Trade and Export Development at Afreximbank, stated, “We are thrilled to announce the launch of The CANEX Prize for Publishing in Africa, a pioneering initiative by Afreximbank aimed at promoting and celebrating excellence in African publishing. This prize underscores our commitment to nurturing Africa’s creative industries and supporting the vibrant literary landscape across the continent. Through the CANEX Prize, we aim to recognize 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.”
Renowned writer and novelist, Ms. Chimamanda Adichie, highlighted the significance of initiatives like CANEX, saying, “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.”
Books will be judged based on the quality of writing, editing, and production. Priority will be given to books printed and produced on the African continent, as well as those published in indigenous African languages. Notably, for the inaugural year (2024), books published in the preceding two years will also be eligible for consideration.
By fostering an enabling environment for various creative sectors such as fashion, music, film, art, literature, gastronomy, and sport, CANEX aims to advance and expand the creative and cultural economy within Africa and its diaspora. This is achieved through a combination of financial and non-financial tools and initiatives.
The CANEX Prize for Publishing in Africa is a monumental step towards recognizing and celebrating the wealth of talent within the continent’s literary community. It stands as a beacon of hope and opportunity for African writers and publishers, promising to elevate Africa’s literary landscape to new heights.