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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

On Etisalat Flash Fiction Prize

You see, in this part of the world, we scramble for so many things, just anything. Sometimes, your hustle for the scramble is worthy. Most times, it is damn pyrrhic. You should know, there is an Etisalat Flash Fiction Prize going on. It’s big. It is £1,000, a Samsung Galaxy Note/iPad and a publishing deal for the first winner. Whose mouth wouldn’t water? Etisalat will say they are also helping our literature and sickening many will believe they are doing so. I refuse to believe that. This prize is just another pigswill pretending to do our literature good. This is just a fun party, yimu if you want, #IDonSAIDit. 

I got to know of this prize through a friend on WhatsApp many days ago. And the same pity connected us both. We both wondered what democracy has just got to do with rewarding some people’s literary skills. Believe me, there are many flash fiction pieces which wouldn’t get anywhere in this prize. Many beautiful pieces we should all be talking about and engaging. They would all be voted out in no time. Such a pity. In winning this prize, damn your literariness. Everybody can text-write, simple. To win this prize, you must be ready to lick asses, eat snouts out of peoples’ noses, grin to friends and haters, put on your campaign armour and bully all contacts on your list into voting for your entry. You just must do anything to win. That is the basis for winning this prize. So, you still believe Etisalat is helping our literature? That’s hogwash thinking.  Darn it!*dodges punches*.

Etisalat Flash Fiction Prize has got this all wrong. They are leading us on our mediocre mentality. Africans love democracy always, even where and when it doesn’t apply. Many up and coming writers, savvy texters, and backyard-established hustlers had already jumped at this. Seriously, the money, the tab and the deal will help anyone’s personal economy. At least, it will do for me. But I have no interest in this. I know what it takes to weather it through in a prize like this. I had done so here before for $100 and won. However, I still appreciates for that. But really, this isn’t how you want to help African literature: inviting people to submit entries and leaving them at the mercies of skewed voting choices to scale to the Judging process. My question to Etisalat is this: wouldn’t it have been better if the Judges see to picking good entries out by longlisting and shortlisting them for the prize? Like I said earlier, this is no serious thing, it is a fun party. And any wobbly written piece with the highest number of votes gets to the Judges’ table. That’s the simple mathematics. Etisalat is promoting African Literature and we really can vote. You’d better start soliciting for votes if you had entered for the prize (sic). Today’s October 1st. And the voting already started. You are on a Loooong thing. Hehehe. :D

Anyway, I have decided I will be reviewing five of the many entries I come across in the pack. Tell your friends who had entered for the competition to send over links to their entries and I will blog about them, in so far as they are good.

I stumbled on the Twitter conversation on Bassey’s Dressed Like A Prince yesterday. You should all go read that flash fiction piece. It is here. The writer does it good. This is one entry worth spending one’s time on. Don’t rush voting for the entry. You even shouldn’t if you don’t find it good. Bassey got me thinking at the end of the story, spinning around different what-ifs in my head. That’s really what a good flash fiction does to you. It should make you long for more in its aftertaste. Moreover, this story is gripping too:

“When I rise and limp round the bend, Godspower is kneeling by the road. His T-shirt is red, soaked in his blood. I wail; helpers come, before we get to clinic, he dies…”
Bassey captures how funny it is when death also helps us fulfill our dreams. I love this entry. Read it here

Remember, send over links to your stories and your friends’ and let me talk about them. I want to micro-review four more entries. It’s all for the love of literature.

Later. :D


Read the concluding part HERE


  1. Read mine & comment.

    1. I will read and get back to you. Thanks for the link. :)

  2. Hi,

    I am Kenyan. I entered my story but the number of Nigerians who submitted and the number of Nigerians who can vote just shows where my chances are hehehe!

    But here goes:

    Micro-review that one for me.

    And thank you for speaking out like this.

  3. Thank God say una don win this kind prize before. That notwithstanding, you expressed just my thoughts on the prize. I've engaged a couple of friends on it too and we all share the same view.
    I hope the 'writer' with the largest fanbase wins. Dexterity seems not to matter here.

    Welldone Joe, and I am looking forward to the 'flash' reviews.

  4. Joseph, please ignore the entries, i sent u, including mine. All three of us have withdrawn. Thank u.

  5. @Linda. I will get to your story now and see if I'd be adding it to the four. You could still weather through the 'tight' contest.

    @Oyebanji. The thing tire me o. Skill really doesn't matter o. Votes is the power, man.

  6. I love ur blog man, here is my link.

  7. A friend said something about first time kinks when we were talking about this etisalat prize. I still think it's a publicity stunt and a pat on the head for writers, 'so they won't say we never did anything for them' prize. I sha still entered a piece and I'd love for you to review it

    Kudos for speaking up.

  8. @John. Thanks man! I will go read your story now.

    @JytE. You're so on point. This prize does not just mean well for our literature. It is just another 'so they won't say we never did anything for them' prize. Everyone wants the money anyway, so we still put in. Pity. I will get to your story now.

  9. @Pearl. Seriously?! Etisalat voting system must have really vexed and put you off big time. Bold step you took there for withdrawing.

  10. True talk, jare! Etisalat's voting system for the flash fiction prize is not encouraging at all! Me wey no sabi campaign where I wan start? *sigh*
    Please, read and review my story "In nightmare" -

  11. I have read Dressed Like a Prince, it is good writing. About the prize, I would have been more comfortable if entries are currently being read by judges and not voted for by every and any means. I hope I am not sending the link to my story too late? Thanks for this outlet you have created. Here is the link:

  12. @Okoro. I do not like the voting system too and that's what spoils the whole system for me. I will go read your flash piece now.

    @Samuel. Abi. Hehehehe

    @Anonymous. I will go read your story. And lucky you, I am publishing the sequel of this series in some hours' time. If the writing is good, I'll be blogging about it.

  13. I do not like the voting system too. Its really bad because its not just about how good your are, its about how good you can make people vote for you. I have tried my best and I do not even know where I stand. Alot of good pieces in the contest. I sent an original story ''The Blame Switch'' here : ... But maybe it was too long ( I was naive then. I left alot of dots in the story to design it very well) maybe thats what didnt make it to be chosen. So i decided to slim my story down to ''Life is Just Funny'' , a much simpler story that people have liked. Its a very simple story that carries fundamental messages of ''trying to feel among'' and ''some funny serious things we all do in life'' ... This one was accepted... Here :

    1. Eric, just went to read your entry. It's cool. I hope you make it in the prize and good luck.

      Nobody, I think, likes the hassle that comes with the voting system Etisalat included in the prize.

  14. Oh btw, "Dressed like a Prince" put me off immediately I started. I don't like spoof, sorry. That was just a spoof of "We need new names." Hic

    1. Oh... Really? Interesting. It could remind one of Darling and her friends though. But I like the story anyway.


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