What makes The Dusty Manuscript contest unique

Manuscript reviewer and jury member, Eghosa Imasuen; Managing Editor, Farafina, Enajite Efemuaye; Assistant General Manager and Head, Communication and External Affairs, GTBank, Oyinade Adegite; Manuscript reviewer and jury member, Toni Kan, and Chief Executive Officer, Okada Books, Okechukwu Ofili at the launch of GTBank Dusty Manuscript Prize… in Lagos

A new literary contest with a unique difference has been announced in Lagos. It is The Dusty Manuscript Contest, sponsored by Guaranty Trust Bank Plc. It will cater for budding writers and offer them the opportunity to win publishing deals for their finished, but yet-to-be published, manuscripts. Organised in partnership with publishing houses, Okadabooks and Farafina, the contest is part of the bank’s YouREAD initiative, aimed at promoting the culture of reading.

Essentially, the contest centres on genre writing, which is crime, romance, fantasy writing, and stories set in the future, but certainly not the usual hard literary offering. To submit a manuscript, interested writers are to visit

At the launch in Lagos last week, Assistant General Manager and Head, Communication and External Affairs, GTBank, Oyinade Adegite would not hide her excitement at the prospect of opening up the space for writers who might have lost hope of ever finding a publisher for their work.

Also, Chief Executive Officer, Okada Books, Okechukwu Ofili, said the process took two years to work out, saying they rode on the back of GTBank doing so much in the arts scene.

“In the literary space, we feel like making this big and try to show that Nigerians read. Our people are starving for knowledge, for people to read. We do know that it’s there; we only need to shine a light on it and feed the starving minds of our people and to see more of our people feed on what we have.”

Managing Editor at Farafina, Enajite Efemuaye, stated, “Nigerians are the most romantic people, but where the romance stories, crime stories, fantasy stories. People need an entry point to reading through genre reading. Crime, romance, fantasy, stories set in the future are an entry point. We want to recreate the pacesetter series.”

Entries in The Dusty Manuscript Contest will be assessed by a panel of four judges which includes Eghosa Imasuen, the author of widely acclaimed novel, Fine Boys, and Yejide Kilanko, a poet and therapist in children’s mental health and author of Daughters Who Walk this Path, Dr. Ainehi Edoro-Glines, an Assistant Professor of English and publisher of online Brittle Paper and Toni Kan, writer and PR executive, whose collection of short stories, Nights of a Creaking Bed, won the NDDC/Ken Saro Wiwa prize for literature. He is also the author of acclaimed The Carnivorous City

With The Dusty Manuscript Contest, the bank is seeking to address the challenges indigenous writers face in getting their books published. The top three entries in the contest will be rewarded with publishing contracts with Farafina as well cash rewards. The top 10 entries will get their books e-published by Okadabooks, including book cover design, book editing, and publicity. The top 25 book authors will also get a two-day boot camp training on writing, marketing and branding.

The Dusty Manuscript Contest is the latest in a long line of GTBank initiatives geared towards promoting the appreciation of art and supporting creative potential. In 2017 the bank remodelled the old Herbert Macaulay Library, Yaba, Lagos, into a state-of-the-art learning and recreational facility that would give people in the community and beyond the opportunity to build capacity, gain exposure and connect with the world. The remodelled library has been the venue of regular book readings and art expositions organised under the YouREAD initiative.

While commenting on The Dusty Manuscript Contest, Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank plc, Mr. Segun Agbaje, said, “At GTBank, we see art as not just a medium for creative expression but also as a means of livelihood, and by organising The Dusty Manuscript Contest, we are helping budding writers make a living off their works. By addressing the major barrier that our indigenous writers face in sharing their stories with the world, we hope to inspire and develop the next generation of award-winning and globally renowned authors.”

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