Grinzane for Africa awards three African writers

From the left: Ambassador Raffaele de Lutio, Ondjaki, Ngugi, Ben Okri, Gianni Oliva, Giuliano Soria

The first edition of Italian prix “Grinzane for Africa” took place last 23rd and 24th October in Addis Abeba, Ehtiopia. Three African writers have been awarded.

The winners are: Ngugi wa Thiong’o from Kenya, Ben Okri from Nigeria and Ondjaki from Angola.

“Grinzane for Africa”, the African side of the famous Grinzane Cavour Italian award, aims to award every year  “an Internationally reknown African writer”, as written on

“The Grinzane for Africa – is written on a press release of the event – wants to celebrate world famous African writers and promote new  authors, who are starting to face the international stage, maybe opening the door to an Italian translation of their works”.From the left: Ondjaki, Ngugi, Ben Okri

Each year from now, Grinzane for Africa will award the leaders of African literature of different areas of the continent. “The three awarded authors – it’s written in the same press release – represents two culturally important areas: one that speaks English and one that speaks Portuguese”.

The first edition of this award was realised with the Italian foreign ministry, the Regione Piemonte, UNECA (United Nations Economic Commission for Africa) and Italian embassy in Ethiopia.


Giuliano Soria, Ondjaki,Ben Okri, Ngugi wa Thiong'o

On October 23rd, just one day before the award, Italian cultural institute in Addis Abeba organised the “Time for Africa. The Kaleidoscope of African Literature“.

Cameroon writer Werewere Liking, Rwanda writer Scholastique Mukasonga, writers from Ethiopia Wondesen Adane, Sahle Sellassie Berhane Mariam, Sisay Negussu, Luca Doninelli, Claudio Gorlier, Giovanni Porzio and the winners Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Ben Okri e Ondjaki were present.

“The meeting – it’s still written in the press release – offer writers a moment to express themselves and to describe their world; a chance to discover that there is no just the Africa of hut, forests and wars but also that of skyscrapers, internet and mobile phones, of incredible traditions and of a very rich literature for styles and topics”.


Ben Okri Ben Okri Ben Okri and Ngugi

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