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Fiction Friday: “Sunkissed” by 2015 Writivism Short Story Prize Longlisted Author Saaleha Bhamjee

The 2015 Writivism Short Story Prize Longlist has been announced, including one South African – Saaleha Bhamjee – on the list of 14 writers.

Here’s the full longlist:

  • “A Ball of Thread” by Vivian Ogbonna (Nigeria)
  • “Being a Man” by Adeola Opeyemi (Nigeria)
  • “Blues for Absalom” by Erica Sugo Anyadike (Kenya)
  • “Caterer, Caterer” by Pemi Aguda (Nigeria)
  • “Devil’s Village” by Dayo Adewunmi Ntwari (Rwanda)
  • “Dream” by Saaleha Bhamjee (South Africa)
  • “Dying Gracefully” by Sima Mittal (Tanzania)
  • “Legacy by Muthi” Bentley David Nhlema (Malawi)
  • “Roses for Betty” by Sneha Shibu (Uganda)
  • “Social Studies” by Nnedinma Jane Kalu (Nigeria)
  • “The Crusade” by Oyebisi Dairo (Nigeria)
  • “To have and to hide” by Walter Ude (Nigeria)
  • “Voices” by Priscillar Matara (Botswana)
  • “Wise-aching” by Hassan Higenyi (Uganda)

According the her Writivism profile, Bhamjee is a “grower of children and of all things green. A baker of cakes and of stories. She is currently working on the God-alone-knows-how-many-eth draft of her novel, and blogs at Afrocentric Muslimah about her experience of writing, the South African Mulsim community and whatever else tickles her fancy.”

Unfortunately, the longlisted stories are not available online. However, we have found a story by Bhamjee written earlier this year after her participation in the Writivism Creative Writing Three Day Workshop.

For this week’s edition of Fiction Friday, read Bhamjee’s short story entitled “Sunkissed”:


The insistent scream of the telephone wrenches me back from the edge of deep sleep. I groan. I’ve only just managed to get Amal to settle down. She’s been feverish and fretful all day. And now this. I reach over for the receiver, knock her medication and a glass of water to the floor.

“Fuckit!” I hiss.

Hello?” Lord, I sound like a smoker.

I clear my throat. “Hello?”

I hear a sniff. A very definite sniff. And now I’m fully awake, swinging legs off the side of the bed, raking fingers through the stork’s nest that passes for my hair at night and sliding feet into my slippers.

“Asma…is this you?”

“Yes, I’m Asma. Who is this?”

“Asma, kind, it’s your father…. He… he had a stroke.”

The Writivism Festival is an annual Literary Festival held every June, in Kampala, featuring the leading contemporary African writers, where the winner of this competition will be announced.

The longlist was selected from 277 entries received before the deadline for the prize submission. The panel of judges this year is chaired by Chika Unigwe and comprises Mukoma wa Ngugi, Tendai Huchu, Ainehi Edoro and Rachel Zadok.


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