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Local Coordinating Organization

CODE-Ethiopia is the local coordinating organization administering the Burt Award for African Literature – Ethiopia. CODE-Ethiopia and CODE have been working together for over 15 years on literacy development programming in primary schools in Ethiopia.

Objectives of the Award

  • To recognize excellence in young adult fiction
  • To support and motivate the development of supplementary reading materials for a critical stage of learning – secondary school - where English medium instruction begins - by producing highly relevant fiction connected to students’ life and culture.
  • To strengthen the English language skills and other learning skills of youth and help foster enthusiasm and love for reading.
  • To stimulate and support the Ethiopian publishing industry and the development of African literature.
  • To increase the stock of English readers in established school libraries and other libraries.

Developing Youth literature in Ethiopia

Workshops to strengthen writing and writers, editing and editors of youth literature in English will bring existing or interested parties in writing, editing and publishing and the wider community of language and library professionals together – and provides an opportunity to foster the beginnings of a private publishing industry. Publishers of Burt Award books have the added benefit of exposure to a market beyond Ethiopia.

Process to select the winning titles

Manuscripts are evaluated and judged on an individual basis. Each year there is a week-long deliberation process to determine winning submissions.


Six professionals are involved in judging submissions. Among them five are Ethiopian and one Canadian. The jury members are carefully selected on the basis of their knowledge and expertise in the areas of youth literature, linguistics, publishing and writing.

The Canadian jury member, Ted Staunton, was selected by IBBY Canada to join the Ethiopian Burt Award jury. Ted Staunton is an award-winning author and teacher. In addition to judging manuscripts, Mr. Staunton is supporting writers and editors in Ethiopia a by co-leading workshops on literature for youth.

Prizes and Guaranteed Purchase or Titles

Writers win monetary awards of $9,000 for first prize, $7,000 for second prize and $5,000 for third prize (CAD), while publishers receive a guaranteed purchase of 3,000 copies of each title to be distributed to schools and libraries in their country. Publishers print an additional 2,000 copies to market and sell commercially.

Distribution of Books to Schools and Community Libraries

As part of making the books accessible to readers, CODE-Ethiopia distributes the titles to reading rooms (community libraries) throughout the country. In addition, they will facilitate the use of these materials in schools and the greater community through activities such as authors’ speaking tours, essay writing contexts and radio dramatizations of the titles.

Contact Information

CODE-Ethiopia CODE-Ethiopia
Addis Ababa
tel: +251-11-515-31-66


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Sep 08, 2017

CODE is delighted to announce its Burt Award for African Young Adult Literature shortlist. This first regional competition is dubbed the All-Stars edition because all of the first prize winners of CODE’s Burt Award in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, and Tanzania since 2009 are being considered for this grand prize.

Celebrating the Winners of the 2015-16 Burt Award for African Literature

Apr 26, 2016

CODE congratulates the winners of the 2015/2016 Burt Award for African Literature! The past few months have been busy for CODE’s partners in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania. They each awarded talented local authors of English language literary works for young adults with CODE’s Burt Award for African Literature. Ghana On September 18, 2015, CODE’s partner, the Ghana Book Trust celebrated...

Burt Award featured in OWL Magazine

Jan 02, 2014

OWL Magazine featured an article on CODE and the Burt Award for African Literature - Ethiopia in their Jan/Feb 2014 issue. The magazine for children ages 9 to 13 includes a section called World Watch, where they write each month about global issues. Read the article here