The CODE’s Burt Award for African Young Adult Literature is one of the leading literary prizes in Africa and focuses on the seemingly ignored area of young adult fiction. This award has been made possible and sponsored by CODE as well as William Burt. The idea of this award is to highlight the shortage of relevant, high-quality books for young people. It also promotes a love for reading and learning at the upper primary and secondary school levels. The CODE’s Burt Award for African Young Adult Literature was launched in 2008 in Tanzania and has expanded significantly to include other countries like Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, Canada and the Caribbean.
It is an English language, a multi-country prize that is supported by smaller prizes at the national level and they determine the works that are eligible for the grand prize. The national prizes include
the CODE’s Burt Award for Kenyan African Young Adult Literature, CODE’s Burt Award for Ethiopian African Young Adult Literature, CODE’s Burt Award for Ghanaian African Young Adult Literature and CODE’s Burt Award for Tanzanian African Young Adult Literature.
Objectives of the award
The CODE’s Burt Award for African Young Adult Literature 2020 seeks to provide the African youth with access to engaging in high quality and culturally relevant reading materials. It recognizes the excellence of young adult literature, supports and motivates the development of reading materials for students at a critical stage of learning, enhance the love for reading and learning as well as strengthen the English language skills of the youth. It also seeks to increase the stock of English books in libraries and schools.
Eligibility to participate in this award
The eligible publishers are supposed to submit entries to CODE’s implementing partners in each participating nation. They are then selected by a local jury in each participating country and shortlists up to five titles where one is declared the winner. The winning prize is $100 CAD. The grand prize winner receives CAD 10000 with other finalists receiving CAD 1000.
In Kenya, the Burt Award runs in conjunction with the National Book Development Council of Kenya. Some of the winners from Kenya include Elizabeth Kabui, Muthoni wa Gichuru, Charles Okoth and Kinyanjui Kombani.
There is no word yet about the dates for CODE’s Burt Award for African Young Adult Literature 2020 or submission of entries in any of the participating countries, but the award has inspired fantastic stories and publishers have received support to enhance young adult literature.