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International prize for postgraduate

22 October 2020

Postgraduate student awarded inaugural prize honouring global icon in African studies

PhD student Fayssal Bensalah has scooped the first ever Toyin Falola Prize for African writing announced at the prestigious Ake Arts and Book Festival in Nigeria.

His story is one of eight shortlisted from nearly 800 entries and takes the inaugural prize named in honour of the historian and global icon of African Studies, Professor Toyin Falola. Among the eight shortlisted were writers from Algeria, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa.

The Toyin Falola Prize celebrates short stories that creatively imagine the history of a place, people, time, or event on the African continent written by younger generation Africans between the ages of 18 and 35.

Winning short story The Last Shot of Ahmed Bey's Cannon examines a middle-aged academic's return to Algeria after many years living and working in France, posing the pursuit of a youthful fantasy against the realities of home.

International student Fayssal from Algeria is studying for his doctorate at the School of English, Communication and Philosophy and the School of Modern Languages, supervised by writer and Creative Writing lecturer Dr Meredith Miller and Lecturer in Translation and Interpreting, Dr Abdel-Wahab Khalifa.

Writing in his third working language alongside Arabic and French, Fayssal said:

“It has always been my aspiration to be among the first Algerian writers who write in English, to pioneer a new literary tide of Anglophone Algerian fiction, and this award has turbocharged me to pursue this aspiration further and to keep writing unabated.”

Award-winner Fayssal wins a $1,000 prize plus a fully-funded trip to attend the BIGSAS Festival of African and African-Diasporic Literature in Bayreuth, Germany.

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