Alert! The final six stories have been chosen for this year’s Short Story Day Africa competition, with three South Africans making the cut.
SSDA, the brainchild of Rachel Zadok and Tiah Beautement, has proved itself to be a reliable talent scout; both Efemia Chela and Okwiri Oduor’s Feast Famine and Potluck stories were shortlisted for the Caine Prize, with Oduor taking the honours, for “My Father’s Head”.
The 2014 anthology, Terra Incognita, will be a collection of speculative fiction – horror, fantasy, dystopian, sci-fi, alternative history and magical realism. SSDA received a whopping 104 entries, and 18 were chosen for publication.
Now judges Richard de Nooy, Jared Shurin and Samuel Kolawole have whittled that list of 18 down to six:
“Leatherman” by Diane Awerbuck (South Africa)
“I am Sitting Here Looking at a Graveyard” by Pwaangulongii Benrawangya (Nigeria)
“In the Water” by Kerstin Hall (South Africa)
“Ape Shit” by Sylvia Schlettwein (Namibia)
“Swan Song” by Jason Mykl Snyman (South Africa)
“The Corpse” by Sese Yane (Kenya)
According to SSDA: “The judges commented that ‘Leatherman’ was ‘dark, twisted and visceral’. ‘Swan Song’ disorienting and memorable with lines like ‘Evil dreams and evil waking were blended into a long, nightmarish cocktail of bewilderment and terror’.
“‘Ape Shit’ was praised for its weirdness and bizarre climax, while ‘In The Water’, was called pure horror at its best. ‘The Corpse’, stood out for its brave use of stream of consciousness and interesting premise and ‘I am Sitting Here Looking at a Graveyard’ hit hard from the first line and captured the reader’s attention.”
These shortlisted stories will be passed on to Nnedi Okafor, who will choose the top three. The winners will be announced in November.