By Onyekachi Onouha
What is the worth of a literary prize that is obtained by consistent begging of friends and relations on social media to vote? What is the validity of such votes and the worth of such stories if they actually voted? It seems to me that Etisalat is redefining what creative fiction is, but this redefinition is actually destroying creativity and the dignity of art and the writer.
I am not seeking for political correctness in my views. As a matter of utmost urgency, lovers of art must stand up to call on Etisalat to review the method of their judgment excluding “begging” as a criteria for winning Etisalat prize for flash fiction.
It is necessary to note that, the completion of a work of art itself is a prize on its own and it performs a spiritual function beyond the monetary rewards. However, the introduction of Etisalat prize for fiction that should have been meant to promote flash fiction is fast turning our young writers into beggars on social media for votes. Etisalat has succeeded in turning our writers into beggars as if they are in a reality show.
I am embarrassed by the number of appeals I received by writers of “Etisalat Flash Fiction” soliciting for votes. It keeps me wondering if Etisalat has no better means of awarding a literary prize that the writers have to become practical beggars to enjoy the spoil Etisalat promise.
Etisalat by its action is instituting a manner of validating a literary work at an initial stage and depriving the art the strength of independence from the writer. What this holds is that emerging African art has nothing positive to hope for.