According to Helon Habila, chair of judges, the writers were selected from a long list after fulfilling some criteria.
“In addition to the originality of voice and literary excellence, our purpose was to also select a work that portrays an African sensibility,” said Habila.
The three shortlisted books are:
The Seed Thief by Jacqui L’Ange (Umuzi Publishers, South Africa);
And After Many Days by Jowhor Ile (Kachifo Limited, Nigeria);
Mr & Mrs. Doctor by Julie Iromuanya (Coffee House Press, USA).
Other judges included South African writer/activist, Elinor Sisulu and Ivorian writer and Africa39 laureate, Edwige Renée Dro.
The winner will be unveiled at the grand finale in Lagos, scheduled to take place in March 2017.