At least three heads of state have signified their intentions to be part of the activities marking the fifth edition of the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature, which is coinciding with the 80th birthday of the Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka. The fifth edition of the Wole Soyinka Prize is being sponsored by national telecommunications carrier, Globacom.
The three heads of state who have given commitment to be at the presentation of a book in honour of the Nobel Laureate three days after the announcement of the Prize winner are Rwanda's President Paul Kagame, Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and President John Dramani Mahama of Ghana.
The book presentation is slated for Accra, Ghana on July 8, 2014, three days after the presentation to the Prize winner on July 5 at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Other distinguished individuals expected at the activities include Former President of the Republic of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and renowned Ghanaian author and former Education Minister in the Ghana government, Professor Ama Ata Aidoo.
The Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature is a biennial event staged to recognise the best literary work produced by an African. It was established by the Lumina Foundation in 2005 to promote literary excellence in Africa and has since become the African equivalent of the Nobel Prize.
The organisers of the award have announced a longlist of 10 African authors from a total of 163 entries submitted from 17 African countries in the genre of Drama, which is the focus of the 2014 edition.
A shortlist of candidates for the prize is expected to be announced shortly, while the ultimate winner is expected to emerge on July 5.
As part of the activities to make the event colourful, Globacom has concluded plans to invite some of its subscribers as guests of honour. To stand a chance to be invited, the subscribers are encouraged to increase the usage of airtime on the Glo network by 50 percent before June 24. Subscribers chosen will receive special perks from the operator in addition to being celebrated on the special night.
For this edition of the prize, entries were invited from authors of any published play or collection of plays by the same author of African descent, published within the last two years (that is, a play published between 2012 and 2013). Globacom was also the main sponsor at the last edition.