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Shortlist for the Kwani? Manuscript Prize

Alert! The shortlist for the inaugural Kwani? Manuscript Prize has been released. The shortlist of seven unpublished novels by African writers has been narrowed down from a longlist of 30.

Jamal Mahjoub, author of The Drift Latitudes, is chairing the panel of judges that includes Helon Habila, author of Waiting for an Angel, deputy editor of Granta Magazine Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, editor of Weaver Press Irene Staunton and Professor Simon Gikandi and Dr. Mbugua wa Mungai.

Mahjoub commented that they “were primarily looking for works that show promise in terms of the writing itself as well as the breadth and depth of vision brought to bear by the authors.” Billy Kahora from Kwani Trust, said that he is “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.”

The shortlist:

  • Ayobami Adebayo, Stay with Me (Nigeria)
  • Ayesha Harruna Attah, Saturday’s People (Ghana / US)
  • Stanley Gazemba, Ghettoboy (Kenya)
  • Toni Kan, The Carnivorous City (Nigeria)
  • Timothy Kiprop Kimutai, The Water Spirits (Kenya)
  • Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, The Kintu Saga (Uganda / UK)
  • Saah Millimono, One Day I Will Write About This War (Liberia)
Harmattan RainThe Stone Hills of MaragoliNights of the Creaking BedThe Drift LatitudesWaiting for an Angel

The three winning manuscripts will be announced on 1 July and will receive prizes totaling 525,000 Kenyan Shillings. Kwani Trust aims to publish three to five of the shortlisted manuscripts by April 2014.

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 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 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 of 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.’

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Scribd.com book preview:

Nights of the Creaking Bed

 

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