GPLA 2018 Finals: Maybe the Year of English

The sixth edition of the Grand Prix of Literary Associations is running to an end. It might probably be a happy end for Shakespeare. Sure, it’s time an English-speaking author be awarded, and if it happens, it would be the first time ever, since its launch in 2013, for the GPLA having an Anglophone author awarded, particularly in the Research and Belles-Lettres categories.

Despite the increasing notoriety of the GPLA in many countries where the language of Shakespeare is the literary vehicle, books written in English have not been further than the finals. This time might likely be the right one, given the high representation of English-speaking authors in the just released shortlist. They are four English-speaking authors out of a total of nine finalists; Francophones come in second place with three nominees, then follow by two other languages ​​with an author each, namely Spanish and Kikongo, an African language spoken in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but also in Angola and Gabon.

For the record, Spanish language is eligible for the GPLA since the last edition, where it made a triumphal entry with sixteen books amongst the pre-selected, three of which reached the finals, with an award winning work in the Research Category: “Hispanoamérica: visión contemporánea”, a book by Cameroonian co-authors Ebénézer Billè and Georges Moukouti Onguédou. Ivorian writer Macaire Etty for his part was crowned in the Belles-Lettres Category for his work entitled “La geste de Bréké”.

The laureates of the current edition will be announced on April 23 at the GPLA 2018 awards ceremony in Yaoundé. Cameroonian poet and fabulist Patrice Kayo, winner of the Grand Prix des mécènes 2015, is announced in the press as the Chairman of the Jury.

In the meantime, here are listed below the nine nominees of the GPLA 2018; remember that there were initially 129 pre-selected books, endorsed by 102 associations, from 39 countries.

Research Category

1- “Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela: Mbandu ya luzingu“, by Protais Yumbi (DRC), endorsed by Association les Amis du Livre(Congo Brazzaville)

2-“Yemen in Crisis“,  by Helen Lackner (UK), endorsed by Middle East Studies Association(US)

3- “Africa in transition: A New Way of Looking at Progress in the Region“, by Ejeviome Eloho Otobo (Nigéria), endorsed by Iqra Books Nigeria

Belles-Lettres Category

1- “Los versos lunares“, by Edmundo Vélez Alcívar (Ecuador), endorsed by Colectivo Cultural Initiava Poética (Veracruz – Mexique)

2- “Je verbe”, de Kouam Tawa (Cameroon), endorsed by La Compagnie Feugham (Asso-prize 2014)

3-“Ms Ice Sandwich“, by Mieko Kawakami (Japan), endorsed by Japanese Language House(Boston University)

4- “KHALIL“, by Yasmina Khadra, endorsed by Association culturelle la Grande Maison de Tlemcen(Algeria)

5- “Dance of the Jakaranda“, by Peter Kimani (Kenya), endorsed by Kenya Oral Literature Association

6- “Quandla montagne explosera“, by Eddy Broussillon (France – Guadeloupe), endorsed by Institut Monnerville

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