Derek Lubangakene: The Only Ugandan on the 2013 Golden Baobab Prizes Longlist
By: Nanama B. Acheampong
When the 2013 Golden Baobab Prizes longlist was announced over two weeks ago, we were curious to see how many of the writers would be from Uganda. The answer is one. Derek Lubangakene is on the longlist for the Golden Baobab Prize for Early Chapter Books for his story Of Ghosts and Grave-Robbers.
Derek is an avid reader, a blogger, an occasional sketch artist and an origami dilettante. Although he trained as a Purchasing Officer, he has always been passionate about writing. He is currently working on his second fantasy book. Apart from stories, Derek writes poetry, some of which have been published in The Proposal, an anthology Black Rainbow Poetry and in the Kalahari Review. His poem, Jailor, was selected as one of the top five poems of the month of July 2013, for The Missing Slate.
Speaking about his reaction when he found out he was on the longlist, Derek says, “When I got the news over the phone, I literally froze for a moment, not sure whether a shout would suffice to express my gratitude for the consideration. Truth is, no words are enough. Being on the longlist of such a prestigious prize is hands down one of my highlight moments for 2013. As a writer, such validation of your hard work and perseverance is priceless!”
Derek’s story, Of Ghosts and Grave-Robbers, is about a boy, Ethan, who stops speaking when his sister, Ethele, dies. He only resumes speaking when he receives a mysterious letter from her, postmarked: Heaven, after which the two siblings start communicating regularly. Ethan decides he wants to become a ghost to stay close to his sister. Problem is, no one around him knows how to become a ghost. He resorts to staking out a cemetery at night to find an actual ghost to ask, but he instead runs into a girl and her dog and together the three of them stop two grave-robbers from getting their filthy paws on two precious coins.
To view the full longlist, visit the Golden Baobab website. The 2013 Golden Baobab Prizes shortlist will be announced on October 30, 2013 and the winners will be announced on November 13, 2013.
About The Golden Baobab Prizes
The Golden Baobab Prizes for literature was established in July 2008 to inspire the creation of enthralling African children’s stories by gifted African writers. The Prizes invite entries of unpublished stories written by African citizens irrespective of age, race, or country of origin. The Prizes are organized by Golden Baobab, a Ghana-based pan African social enterprise dedicated to supporting African writers and illustrators to create winning African children’s books. The organization’s Advisory Board includes renowned authors Ama Ata Aidoo, Patrice Nganang, Jay Heale and Maya Ajmera. Golden Baobab is proudly supported by Echoing Green, Reach for Change, The Global Fund for Children and The African Library Project.
Nanama B. Acheampong is the Coordinator for the Golden Baobab Prize