Thursday, December 6, 2007

John Ngong Kum Wins First EduArt Literature Award

The winner of the 2007 EduArt Awards for Cameroonian Literature written in English has been announced. John Ngong Kum is the winner of the highly contested Bate Besong Poetry Award (for poetry published in 2006) for his poetry collection Walls of Agony. According to Tanure Ojaide, renowned poet and Distinguished Professor of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte who headed the panel of judges,

“Ngong’s Walls of Agony is superior in its use of English and poetic language. It has consistency of imagery in the symbolic “wall” that permeates the poet’s vision of life, society, and politics as he explores personal and public concerns… Ngong also has a strong sense of form, which shows on the pages of his book. Most of the poems are in regular stanza and that gives the impression of organization and good craftsmanship. There is a sense of evenness in his work. As they stand, Ngong’s Walls of Agony is the best in language, unified vision, and form. He deserves the poetry prize.”

Prof. Ojaide also commended the runners up, Mathew Takwi for his collection On their Knees and Kamara Kimvala’s (A. F. Ndangam) Tears of Rage and described both volumes as exuberant.

The award ceremony will take place early in 2008 in Cameroon at which time the 2009 EduArt awards will be launched. The cash award for the winner originally advertised as 200.000 Francs CFA has been increased to 500.000 Francs CFA. The winner and runners up will all receive recognition plaques.

It should be noted that the Rufus & Jane Blanshard Award for Fiction had no winner this year because there were no entries for fiction published in Cameroon for 2006. The Victor E. Musinga Drama Award also received no winner because only one entry was submitted and this did not make for a credible competition. To allow for more entries, the EduArt Awards for Literature will now be held bi-annually. They will include a category for finished but unpublished manuscripts, and an award for the best Anglophone Cameroon literary text published in the Diaspora irrespective of genre.

EduArt Inc, a non profit organization founded by Dr. Joyce Ashuntantang, launched this competition earlier this year for works written in English by Cameroonians and published in 2006 in Cameroon or anywhere in Africa. Dr. Ashuntantang hopes that the Bate Besong award for poetry will not only keep the late poet-playwright’s name alive, but that the EduArt awards in general will encourage the production of more creative writing by Anglophone Cameroonians while boosting publishing in Cameroon as well.

To learn more about the awards and EduArt Inc, visit or email

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