Kwani? Manuscript Prize Longlist

by - 09:29

"To celebrate the African novel and its adaptability and resilience, Kwani Trust announces a one-off new literary prize for African writing".  

April 2012, Kwani? announced its call for submission of unpublished fiction manuscripts from African writers across the continent and in the Diaspora. One year later, the long list of 30 has been selected from 280 submissions and 19 African countries. Congratulations to all longlisted authors!!!

Kwani? writes:

'The longlist of 30 has been selected, without the author’s name attached, by a panel of 9 readers, made up of writers, editors and critics from East, West and Southern Africa, as well as the UK and the US. The longlist represents 10 African countries and showcases literary fiction across and between a range genres from fantasy to crime to historical fiction. Kwani Trust’s Managing Editor, Billy Kahora said: 

This longlist begins the actualization of a long-held Kwani? ambition - to build a significant novel series of new original voices across the continent. To replicate the work we’ve been doing for the last 10 years with the short fiction form, creative non-fiction, spoken word and poetry in East Africa when it comes to the novel form.”
The longlist has now been passed to our panel of judges, chaired by Sudanese novelist Jamal Mahjoub. Working with him will be deputy editor of Granta magazine Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, leading scholar of African literature Professor Simon Gikandi, Chairman of Kenyatta University’s Literature Department Dr. Mbugua wa Mungai, editor of Zimbabwe’s Weaver Press Irene Staunton and internationally renowned Nigerian writer Helon Habila. The manuscripts will be read and debated anonymously by this high profile panel, as the judges look for new voices that explore and challenge the possibilities of the ‘African novel’.

A shortlist will be announced at the beginning of June 2013 and the three winners announced at the end of June 2013. The top three manuscripts will be awarded cash prizes totaling Ksh 525,000 (c. $6000). Kwani Trust’s Executive Director, Angela Wachuka said:
“This prize speaks to a core pillar of our institution; the identification, development and production of literary talent. Our short story competition in 2010 introduced 15 new voices from Kenya, and this prize aims to increase opportunities for contemporary writers on the continent and elsewhere when it comes to the novel.”
In addition, Kwani Trust plans to publish 3-5 of the longlisted manuscripts by April 2014, and will be appointing an in-house editor to work with authors through this process. The Trust will also be partnering with regional and global agents and publishing houses to secure high profile international co-publication opportunities'.

You can find out more about the Kwani? Manuscript Project here.

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