A PhD student at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) is set to further his award-winning writing career after publishing his first novel exploring unethical journalism practices in Nigeria.
Anietie Isong, who is researching New Media at DMU, wrote Radio Sunrise after working for a radio station in Nigeria where he witnessed first-hand the issues journalists face.
Radio Sunrise, which is Isong’s first novel, paints a satirical portrait of ‘brown envelope’ journalism in Nigeria, where journalists are expected to accept cash from news sources when they provide information.
The novel follows Ifiok, a young journalist working for the government radio station in Lagos, who, after travelling to his hometown to make a documentary about a band of ex-militants, is forced to confront the ugly truth about the future of his country and his existence.
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Mr Isong was awarded a prestigious Authors’ Foundation grant by the Society of Authors in the UK to enable him to complete his novel.
Radio Sunrise has received highly positive reviews, with 2017 Man Booker international judge Chika Unigwe saying: “Isong weaves a profoundly personal story about contemporary Nigeria even when dealing with broader societal and cultural issues.”
Marina Lewycka, author of best-selling novel A Short History of Tractors in the Ukraine, said: “Anietie Isong is a keen observer of his society, with an exceptional gift of narration.”
Anietie said: “I am very excited about this as I have had an interest in writing since secondary school and this developed even more while studying for my degree, where I published my first short story along with articles in journals, anthologies and newspapers.
“I wrote the novel five years ago and it was supposed to be published then, but there were some issues with it, so I was surprised that there was still an interest.”
Mr Isong has won several awards for his writing, including the Commonwealth Short Story Award, the inaugural Olaudah Equiano Prize for Fiction and the maiden Remember Oluwale Writing Prize.
He hopes that the publication of Radio Sunrise will help to draw attention to brown envelope journalism in Nigeria, which has a negative impact on corporate organisations in the country as well as the careers of journalists.
Isong said: “Investigative journalism can be daunting in Nigeria and, given the financial rewards associated with ‘brown envelopes’, a journalist might find it difficult to remain impartial, especially at a time of economic uncertainty.”
Mr Isong, who also has a master’s degree in Communications and Globalisation, has seen Radio Sunrise chosen as one of the books for Kingston University, Surrey's Big Read, in which every undergraduate and post-graduate student is given a book to read before they start at the university.
Posted on Wednesday 22nd February 2017