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Lillian Akampuria Aujo Wins the First Jalada Prize for Literature

The winners of the inaugural Jalada Prizes for Literature have been announced.

The Jalada Prizes were announced by Jalada, a pan-African writers collective, in early March, and are sponsored by the Kwani Trust. This year’s judges were Sofia Samatar, Richard Ali, Okwiri Oduor, Clifton Gachagua, Anne Moraa, Kiprop Kimutai, Abdul Adanis, Stephen Derwent Partington and Moses Kilolo.

This year’s main prize has been awarded to Ugandan writer and poet Lillian Akampuria Aujo, who wins $330 (about R3900) and an invitation to the 2015 Storymoja festival in September.

The other winners are:

First Runner-up (winning $110)
Suleiman Agbonkhianmen Buhari (Nigeria)

Second Runners-up (winning $110)
Ivor W Hartmann (Zimbabwe)

Poetry (winning $55)
Okwudili Nebeolisa (Nigeria)

Aujo’s biography from Jalada:

Lillian Akampuria Aujo is a Ugandan writer. She’s is a lover of words, and she hopes to move the world with them. Her stories have appeared in Suubi, an online magazine by the African Writers’ Trust, and ‘A memory this Size’ The Caine Prize anthology 2013. Her poems have appeared online in ‘The Revelator’, and Bakwa Magazine. Her poem ‘Soft Tonight’ won The BN Poetry Award in 2009. She is a member of FEMRITE, and some of her work appears there as well.

Read an excerpt from her work:

Read “Where pumpkin leaves dwell” by Lillian Akampurira Aujo

You watched as the road swallowed Mummy back into the city. You imagined how it wound in and out of the shaded hills, like it chose to rest from the sunshine before deciding to go on. Kaaka’s scaly palm scratched your soft one as she told you to turn around and head back to your new home. Eyes still fixed on the patches of the road, you half turned, wishing that sometimes roads would just stop so people wouldn’t have anywhere to go. If that happened your mother’s figure would reappear and she would tell you the road to Kampala, like her journey had ended.

The decision for you to stay in the village for more than the Christmas holiday had been arrived at like all the others in your life; a statement told to you by Mummy like she was trying to beg you for something when you actually knew she wanted you to know that you didn’t have a choice because you were the child and she was the adult.

“But Mummy, why can’t I come to your school?”

“It’s for adults and there are no children allowed.”


“Because there are no children there.”

“But children are everywhere.”

Related stories:

An Excerpt from Jalada’s Afrofuture(s) – “Boonoonoonoos Little Bit Boonoonoonoos” by Binyavanga Wainaina

Link Love: Jalada, a Pan-African Writers’ Collective (Plus: Excerpt from “The Bobbitt Wars” by Nkatha Obungu)

Image courtesy of Jalada


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