In 2017, the second level category of the Burt Award was established.
CODE’s Burt Award for African Young Adult Literature (BAAYAL) was an English-language, multi-country prize, supported by smaller national prizes that determined the works eligible for the grand prize. The national prizes included CODE’s Burt Award for Ethiopian Young Adult Literature; CODE’s Burt Award for Ghanaian Young Adult Literature; CODE’s Burt Award for Kenyan Young Adult Literature; and CODE’s Burt Award for Tanzanian Young Adult Literature.
The objective of the award was to provide African youth with access to engaging, high quality, culturally relevant reading materials. The award was open to English-language young adult novels, short story collections by a single author, non-fiction (with some restrictions), and graphic novels.
For this award, the term “young adult” generally referred to readers from ages 12 through to 18. Publishers were to consider whether a work was written for the appropriate reading and maturity level and if it was emotionally and culturally relevant to African young adults before submitting it to the award.
Eligible publishers submitted entries to CODE’s implementing partners in each participating country: CODE-Ethiopia; Ghana Book Trust; National Book Development Council of Kenya; and Children’s Book Project for Tanzania.
A local jury in each participating country selected a shortlist of up to five titles, with one declared the national winner. The winning creator(s) received a prize of $1,000 CAD.
The publisher of the winning title was awarded a guaranteed purchase of 3,000 copies by CODE, which was to be donated to schools, libraries, community centres, and NGOs in its country of origin.
All winners and finalists of each national competition were eligible to move forward to the grand prize. In total, up to 20 entries were considered for the grand prize, based on a shortlist of up to five titles from each of the four participating countries.
Only winners and finalists of the national competitions were eligible for the grand prize.
The grand prize jury selected a shortlist of up to five finalists. One title was adjudged the grand prize winner, its creator(s) received a prize of $10,000 CAD. The second winning title was named the Honour Book with its creator(s) receiving a prize of $2,000 CAD. The remaining finalists each received a $1,000 CAD cash prize.
CODE purchased up to 3,000 copies each of the Grand Prize and Honour Book winning titles for each of the four participating countries. This was up to 12,000 copies per title. These were to be donated to schools, libraries, community centres, and NGOs in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, and Tanzania.
Additionally, the publishers of the grand prize winner and honour book prize winner each received a grant of $2,000 CAD to support the promotion of their BAAYAL titles.
In the first edition of the BAAYAL Grand Prize Awards held in Nairobi, Kenya in 2017, Ghana won two places. The first prize was won by Ethiopia with a book entitled Waiting for the Sun by Elshadai Tesfaye. The Step-Monster by Ruby Yayra Goka won the Honorary Prize and The Twelfth Heart by Elizabeth-Irene Baitie won a place as one of the finalist.
In 2018, the second edition of the BAAYAL Grand Prize Award Ceremony was held in Accra, Ghana. Ghana again won two places out of the three. The first prize was won by Kenya with the book Finding Colombia, written by Kinyanjui Kombani. The Honorary Prize was won by Ruby Yayra Goka with the book To Kiss a Girl and the third place was also won by Elizabeth-Irene Baitie with the book The Lion’s Whisper.