Three Ghanaian authors who distinguished themselves in their literary writings were awarded prizes at the William Burt Award for African literature 2013 in Accra.
They are Dr Ruby Yahyra Goka, Nana Yaa Amankwa and Manu Herbstein.
Dr Goka who came first with her book “Perfectly Imperfect” was given a cash Prize of GH₵ 30,150, Nana Yaa Amankwah who was second with her book “Ossie’s Dream” received a cash Prize of ₵23,750 and Manu Herbstein who emerged third with his book “The Boy who Spat in Sargranti’s Eye” was given a cash prize of ₵16,950.
The Second Lady, Mrs Matilda Amissah-Arthur said at the award ceremony that getting people to read, especially young people remains one of her passions. “There is nothing I like more than to see people reading and enjoying it,” she added.
She said: “As a country we have lost the reading culture and so anything that helps in any way to whip up the interest in reading excites me.” Mrs Amissah-Arthur noted that while much attention has been given to adult literature, African literature for young adult remains a neglected area.
She said the subject matter and story lines of young adult literature are typically consistent with the age and experience of the main characters, adding that the theme in young adult stories often focus on the challenges of the youth.
Mrs Amissah-Arthur said the culture that surrounds and absorbs young adults plays a huge role in their lives. She said reading about issues that adolescents could relate to allows the youth to identify with a particular character and creates a sense of security when experiencing something that is going with their lives.
Mr William Burt, Founder and Sponsor, Burt Award encouraged the youth to read more in order to become better writers.
He asked the winners to write sequels for their books to enable readers identify with the characters in the novel. He also announced that his Foundation is instituting a Prize for best sequel in the William Burt Award for African literature.
Genevieve Eba-Polley, Executive Director, Ghana Book Trust presented a Kente cloth to Mr Burt for his foundation for supporting young African literary writers.