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unpublished fiction from African writers, is delighted to announce a longlist of 30 titles:

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)

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 Manuscript Project was launched in April 2012 and called for the submission of unpublished novel manuscripts from African writers across the continent and in the diaspora.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 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 IreneStaunton and internationally renowned Nigerian writer Helon Habila. The manuscripts will beread 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 totalling 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.

We wish to thank the following organisations for their support, advice and help launching this new literary prize: Africa Book Club, African Books Collective, African Writers Trust, Arterial Network, Association of Nigerian Authors, Bakwa Magazine, Black Book News, Book Slam, British Council, Caine Prize, Cassava Republic Chimurenga, Commonwealth Foundation, Femrite, Ghana Association of Writers, Ghana Book Publishers Association, Goethe Institut, Granta, Jungle Jim, Malawi Writers Union, Mazwi, Pambazuka, PEN Sierra Leone, Royal Africa Society, Samandari, Saraba Magazine, Sea Breeze Journal, Spoken Word Rwanda, Storymoja, The Star, Uganda Modern Literary Digest, Wamathai, Wasafari, Writers Association of Botswana, Writers International Network Zimbabwe, Writers’ Project for Ghana, Zambia Women Writers Association, Zimbabwe Women Writers.

Kwani Trust is also indebted to Lambent Foundation for financial support towards the administration of this project, as well as the Prince Claus Fund for a Euros 25,000 prize in recognition of the Trust’s work that acted as seed money for this project.

For further information, images or interviews, please contact:

Kate Haines, Associate Editor, Kwani Trust

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