Abolished – Public Voting as Part of Evaluation of Afrika Redefined Indie Book Prize

The move aims to preserve the integrity of the Prize and accord all shortlisted books and authors a fair chance. Kenya, 15 May 2024: The Afrika Redefined Indie Book Prize (ARIBP), an annual prize sponsored and managed by Mystery Publishers Limited, a premier pan-African publisher of choice,  appreciates your continued support in celebrating independent African authors. The ARIBP aims to recognise quality self-published books with unique and extraordinary stories addressing current and future Africa (Afro-currency and Afro-futurism), and to that end, empowering self-published (indie) authors to produce professional and quality books that meet industry-standard books. Previously, the shortlisted books were taken through a public voting system, which aimed to introduce the books and the authors to the public and different audiences; this contributed to ten per cent (10%) of the overall book evaluation criteria. However, this approach to evaluating shortlisted books conferred an unfair advantage to the authors with a large reader base, popularity, many social media followers, or lobbyists behind them, which does not automatically mean that such works are of better quality. This also created an illusion of winning the Prize because, psychologically (and conveniently so), the human mind will always consider the person or book with many votes as the best (or worst) in that list. In our endeavour to preserve the integrity of the Prize and ensure fairness for all shortlisted books and authors, the ARIBP Secretariat, in consultation with the Advisory Board, has abolished public voting as part of the evaluation criteria of ARIBP. The 2024 and subsequent prizes will only be evaluated by a panel of judges drawn from diverse backgrounds—readers, writers, editors, and publishers (not necessarily a MUST for the panel to comprise all backgrounds). Before submitting the books to the judging panel, Mystery Publishers’ editorial team shall review all submitted books to select those that meet the minimum quality publishing standards for shortlisting. The Judging Panel shall then take the shortlisted books through stringent quality parameters and evaluation criteria and share the reports with the authors. This was a difficult decision, as we know the effect it can have on you. We thank you for your understanding and support during this change, and as always, we promise to endeavour to preserve the integrity of the Prize and accord all independent authors a fair chance. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please get in touch with us at: Email: bookprize@mysterypublisherslimited.com

Press Release | 70-year-old Kenyan writer Engineer Peter Nduati Wins the 2023 Afrika Redefined Indie Book Prize

The Afrika Redefined Indie Book Prize is delighted to announce that the 2023 winner is 70-year-old Engineer Peter Nduati, for his semi-biographical and social commentary book, Gooka from the Village to the City, published in 2022.   The 2023 prize was open to Kenyan authors only, and seven (female – 2 [28.57%], male – 5 [71.43%]) submitted eight books (fiction – 6, non-fiction – 1, children’s – 1), but seven were shortlisted. Chaired by Lexa Lubanga, founder of Kenyan Readathon and ardent supporter of Kenyan writers/literature, the Judging Panel recommended to the Advisory Board Engineer Peter Nduati as the 2023 winner of the Afrika Redefined Indie Book Prize, who was approved and announced during the Prize award ceremony held at the multimedia library of the Alliance Française de Nairobi. Regarding the judging criteria, Lexa said: “Different books scored differently. Some would be strong in writing style but fail in professionalism and theme; others were strong in professionalism but failed in theme; while others were good in theme but failed in writing style and professionalism. As a general rule, the winning book MUST score more than 90 per cent (Judge’s Score) on professional rating; if none, no winner shall be announced, and the prize shall not be awarded. For a book to address Afro-currency/Afrofuturism well, it MUST score over 80 per cent. The Runners-up MUST score over 80 per cent and less than 90 per cent, i.e. be within the 80 to 89.99 percentile (Judge’s Score in professionalism).” The evaluation criteria entailed public voting (introducing the works to the public and allowing the readers to vote for the book with the most compelling story), which is 10% of the overall rating, and evaluation by a judging panel, which is 90% of the overall rating. The winning book is the first non-fiction book moulded in historical, scientific, and mathematical satire. The judges said it was the best professionally (self-)published, scoring 91.34 per cent on professionalism and 88 per cent on addressing the theme of Afro-currency and Afrofuturism. Engineer Peter Nduati joins the previous winner, Jerusha Kananu Marete, as the pioneers of this noble prize envisioned to be the premiere prestigious book prize for African independent writers. The judging panel comprised reader and passionate supporter of African literature, Lexa Lubanga (Kenya) as the chairperson; Dr Michael Dickel (Israel) as the vice-chairperson; and members writer and columnist Empress Ciku Kimani-Mwaniki (Kenya), writer Lesalon Kasaine (Kenya), avid Xavier Omweri (Kenya), and Ugandan journalist and writer, Philip Matogo. The Prize secretariat is guided by an advisory board comprising multi-artist expert Dr Gameli Tordzro (Ghana); veteran Kenyan journalist and broadcaster John Sibi-Okumu (Kenya); Dr Amakove Wala (Kenya); activist Mbizo Chirasha (Zimbabwe); media practitioner and founder Qazini, Damaris Agweyu; and literature enthusiast Dr Robert Aron (USA). Engineer Peter Nduati received a cash prize of Ksh.30,000, an increase from 2022 when the winner received Ksh.20,000. His winning book captures his daily experiences mirrored in his village days toggled and enmeshed with the past, making the narrative both semi-biographical and a social commentary. The Afrika Redefined Indie Book Prize aims to recognise quality, professionally self-published books that address AfroCurrency or Afrofuturism themes, help improve reading culture in Africa, and create opportunities for authors. The first runner-up was The Leaves of May (novel) by Muthoni Maina, and the second runner-up was Back-Fence Talk and Other Stories (short stories) by Caroline Kinya Mbaya. They were both presented with a certificate. Other shortlisted authors were: Davis Njoroge; Beyond (novel, Sci-fi) – 2022 Peter Muchai; The Alternative (novel, crime) – 2022 Bonface Nyamweya; Peeling the Cobweb (novel – 2022 Hamisi Wawire; Hot Chalice (novel) – 2022