Nairobi, 12 April 2013: The Kwani? Manuscript Project, a new one-off literary prize for unpublished fiction from African writers, is delighted to announce a longlist of 30 titles.
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 Manuscript Project was launched in April 2012 and called for the submission of unpublished novel manuscripts from African writers across the continent and in the diaspora.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 30 titles are spread across 10 countries in West Africa, 3; East Africa, 3; Central Africa, 1; and Southern Africa, 3. Kenya led the pack with 7 titles; followed by Nigeria with 6, South Africa with 4, Ghana with 3, Zimbabwe with 3, and Botswana and Cameroon with 2 each. Liberia, Uganda, and Tanzania both had a title each in the longlist.
- A Night Without Darkness (Nigeria)
- Across the Mongolo (Cameroon)
- Azanian Bridges (South Africa / UK)
- Becoming God (Nigeria)
- Born Different (South Africa)
- Carnivorous City (Nigeria)
- Diary of a Criminal (Botswana)
- Dining with the Dictators (Kenya)
- Ghettoboy (Kenya)
- Homebrew (Botswana)
- Invincible Nubia (Kenya / Norway)
- Monsoon and Miracle (Kenya / UK)
- My Mother’s Breasts (Zimbabwe)
- One Day I Will Write About This War (Liberia)
- Penny for an Orphan (Nigeria)
- Pilgrims from Hell (Tanzania)
- Ramseyer’s Ghost (Ghana)
- Saturday’s People (Ghana / US)
- Stay with Me (Nigeria)
- Taty Went West (South Africa)
- The Blacks of Cape Town (South Africa)
- The Colour of Oil (Nigeria)
- The Haggard Masturbator (Kenya)
- The Inheritors (Cameroon)
- The Kintu Saga (Uganda / United Kingdom)
- The Mad Brigadier (Ghana)
- The Water Spirits (Kenya)
- They are Coming (Zimbabwe / US)
- Useful Knowledge for the World Class Detective (Zimbabwe)
- Zephyrion (Kenya)
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 the panel of judges, chaired by Sudanese novelist Jamal Mahjoub, 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.