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Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Kwani? Manuscript Project Announces Shortlist

On June 17, 2013, the Kwani? Manuscript Project, a new one-off literary prize for unpublished fiction from African writers, announced the seven shortlisted novels selected from their longlist of 30:

Ayobami Adebayo, Stay with Me (Nigeria)
Ayesha Haruna Attah, Saturday's People (Ghana/US)
Stanley Gazemba, Ghettoboy (Kenya)
Toni Kan, The Carnivorous City (Nigeria)
Timothy Kiprop Makumbi, The Water Spirits (Kenya)
Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, The Kintu Saga (Uganda/UK)
Saah Millimono, One Day I Will Write About This War (Liberia)



Here's what Kwani? had to say:

The shortlist has been selected, without the author's name attached, by a high-profile panel of judges including Deputy Editor of Granta magazine Ellah Allfrey, leading scholar of African literature Dr. Mbunga wa Mungai, editor of Zimbabwe's Weaver Press Irene Staunton, and internationally renowned Nigerian writer Helon Habila. The Chair of Judges, award-winning Sudanese novelist Jamal Mahjoub, said:
"The five judges of the Kwani? Manuscript prize 2013 have carefully worked through a longlist of 30. These showed a wide range of styles, subjects and regional concerns. The judges were primarily looking for works that show promise in terms of the writing itself as well as the breadth and depth pf vision brought to bear by the authors. The final shortlist of seven entries reflects the overall consensus of the judges and summarises their individual interests".
These seven novels from five African countries take us through the underbelly of Lagos, class divisions in Nairobi and war-torn Monrovia, through families cursed, self-destruction and reuniting, bringing new scrutiny to the epic, dictatorship and points-of-views in stories that are brave, tender and beguiling. 

Kwani Trust's Managing Editor, Billy Kahora said:
"In reviewing the shortlisted stories, I'm blown away by the potential these manuscripts hold, the different styles, concerns and voices that they bring to new contemporary African literature, and further add to Kwani's fiction list. We can't wait to bring them out as novels in the region and partner with publishing houses across the continent to make them available across Africa".
The Kwani? Manuscript Project was launched in April 2012 and called for the submission of unpublished novel manuscripts from African writers across the continent and in the diaspora. The prize received over 280 qualifying submissions from 19 African countries.

The top three manuscripts will be announced on Monday 1st July 2013 and will be awarded cash prizes totaling Ksh 525,000 (c. $6000). In addition, Kwani Trust plans to publish 3-5 of the shortlisted manuscripts by April 2014. The Trust will also be partnering with regional and global agents and publishing houses to secure high profile international co-publication opportunities.

More on the seven shortlisted stories can be found on the Kwani? Manuscript Project website. Congratulations to all shortlisted authors.

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