Oxford University Press East Africa author, Kinyanjui Kombani, has won the 2018 CODE Burt Award for African Young Adult Literature for his book Finding Colombia.
Kombani ‘the banker who writes’ was announced the winner at the Burt Award Ceremony held last week at the Ghana International Book Fair in Accra.
His winning book is based on the life of a street boy named Lex whose fortunes change after he gets recruited by officers from the Anti-Drugs Agency to work as an undercover agent in an investigation to track down a notorious but elusive drug baron.
“This is a great honour. When my manuscript was submitted, I didn’t have the slightest idea it would be shortlisted, let alone win the grand prize. I hope people get as much enjoyment from reading the book as I did from writing it. I would like to thank my publisher Oxford University Press for believing in me,” said Mr Kombani.
Kombani received a cash prize of $ 10,000 CND, while his publisher, Oxford University Press East Africa Ltd, received a guaranteed purchase of 2,000 copies for distribution in Kenya, 2,000 copies for distribution in Tanzania, and a $ 2,000 CND grant to market the title across Africa.
The 2018 CODE Burt Award for African Young Adult Literature Honour Book went to To Kiss a Girl (Ghana) by Ruby Yayra Goka, published by Digibooks Ghana Ltd.
The other finalists were The Lion’s Whisper (Ghana) by Elizabeth-Irene Baitie, published by Kwadwoan Publishers; Ebony Girl (Ghana) by Vera Akumiah, published by Kwadwoan Publishers; and Somebody’s Daughter (Ethiopia) by Hiwot Walelign published by Mega Publishing.
The CODE Burt Award for African Young Adult Literature is a literary prize and readership initiative that recognizes excellence in locally authored literature for young adults aged 12 to 18.
“Oxford University Press East Africa is proud of Mr Kinyanjui Kombani’s achievement. We recognize the role literature plays in shaping our youth and we believe in supporting authors in order to contribute to the literary wealth of African literature,” said Mr John Mwazemba, OUP’s General Manager.