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Gambian Author Wins 5 Million CFA Senegambia Book Prize

By Yunus S Saliu

A Gambian author, Dr. Morro Krubally has won the Senegambia Book Prize and has served as a symbol of The Gambia and Senegal’s collective appreciation for the literary arts and its impact on societies.

Speaking on behalf of the Gambia Minister of Tourism and Culture at the prize presentation held at the Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute (GTHI) in Kanifing on Tuesday, Ma’am Isatou Drammeh, Deputy Permanent Secretary at MOTC disclosed that one of the pivotal provisions of the Kaffrine Agreement is the establishment of the annual Senegambia Book Prize, “a literary accolade aimed at recognizing and promoting the excellence of our talented writers.”

She noted that the prestigious prize, with its generous endowment of 5 million CFA, has served as a symbol of collective appreciation for the literary arts and its profound impact on societies.

Celebrating the inaugural Senegambia Book Prize, she enjoined everyone to also “reflect on the broader significance of this cultural collaboration,” which she said is beyond monetary rewards, as the initiative represents a bridge of understanding and dialogue between the two nations, fostering greater cultural exchange and mutual respect.”

She noted that the Ministry of Culture of both nations commended this bilateral partnership, and recognized its potential to strengthen the bonds forged over centuries of shared history and cooperation.

Through initiatives like the Senegambia Book Prize, she said, “We reaffirm our commitment to preserve our cultural legacy and promote literary excellence for generations to come.”

The presentation of the winning prize marked the inaugural edition of the Senegambia Book Prize for books, thesis, dissertations, and scientific articles.

However, a year ago the Gambia Honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture, the Minister of Cultural Heritage of Senegal, and other officials met in Kafferine, Senegal, and signed an agreement called the Kafferine Agreement.

Hassoum Ceesay, Director General of the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), The Gambia said the Kafferine Agreement contains many things in terms of promoting the culture and heritage of the two countries.

“But one of them was this book prize called the Senegambia Book Prize and for the past 12 months there were panels of juries set in both two countries which were headed by President of the Writers Association of The Gambia, Dr. Cherno Omar Barry for the Gambia Jurry and for the Senegal side is Professor Ramsey Senghore. They worked tirelessly to get the two winners from the two countries,” DG Ceesay emphasized.

However, Dr. Cherno Omar Barry, Head of the Jury of the Gambia expressed honour and privilege he had to discuss the Senegambia Book Prize while he gave the background and a little bit of narrative on how it all came about.

Meanwhile, he said it is important to know that the moment remains historic in the history of Gambian literature, in the history of culture, “but in general in the history of Senegambia.”

He noted that the Senegambia Book Prize is going to be a continuous and annual event focusing mostly on conducting research and publishing books, and scientific articles that will relate to Senegambia whether it has been done or is to be done.

However, the occasion was also used to present an award won in Senegal by the King of Kora Player, Dr Jalibah Kuyateh. The name of the award given to him is called Emparo of Kora and it is an esteemed trophy from Senegalese President Macky Sall.

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Yunus S Saliu

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