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2015 Writivism Short Story Prize Shortlist Announced, Including Local Author Saaleha Bhamjee


Alert! The 2015 Writivism Short Story Prize shortlist has been announced, and it includes local author Saaleha Bhamjee.

“The shortlisted stories vary widely in theme and setting. They distinguish themselves from the other entries by managing to be boldly imaginative, wonderfully entertaining and (mostly) emotionally gripping. There were some original ideas which challenged our understanding of the short story form,” Chika Unigwe, chair of the judging panel, writes in the announcement on the Writivism blog.

Here is the shortlist in full:

  • “Being a Man” by Adeola Opeyemi (Nigeria)
  • “Caterer, Caterer” by Pemi Aguda (Nigeria)
  • “Devil’s Village” by Dayo Adewunmi Ntwari (Rwanda)
  • “Dream” by Saaleha Bhamjee (South Africa)
  • “Social Studies” by Nnedinma Jane Kalu (Nigeria)

The shortlist was selected from 277 entries and a longlist of 14 stories. The panel of judges this year is chaired by Unigwe and comprises Mukoma wa Ngugi, Tendai Huchu, Ainehi Edoro and Rachel Zadok. The winner will be announced during the 2015 Writivism Festival to be held in Kampala from 16 – 22 June.


Mornings in JeninMornings in JeninBhamjee recently wrote an interesting, and important, blog post weighing in on the ongoing “white literary system” debate. She adds a fresh perspective to the conversation writing as a Muslim reader and writer, drawing on an experience she had at the annual Time of the Writer Festival in Durban when Palestinian author Susan Abulhawa drew bigger crowds than local writers.

“They didn’t stay to listen to the next author,” Bhamjee writes of the brown faces who only came out to listen to Abulhawa. “I shook my head in disgust.”

Read Bhamjee’s article to understand her point, and see her suggestions for the raging debate:

I start with this thought:

Wear not your blackness as a wound.

I extend this principle further:

Wear not your womanness as a wound.

Wear not your gayness as a wound.

Wear not your Muslimness as a wound.

Now hang on. Before you decide to school me on the injustices inflicted on black people the world over, injustices that continue to be perpetrated against them even now to varying degrees, let me remind you that women too are marginalised. Gays continue to face bigotry. And as a Muslim I sometimes have to convince people that I don’t have a bomb under my hijab.

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