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Call for Entries for Queer Africa II: New and Collected Fiction

Queer AfricaMaThoko’s Books has sent out a call for submissions for the follow-up to its award-winning anthology, Queer Africa: New and Collected Fiction.

The book, which was edited by Karen Martin and Makhosazana Xaba, won the LGBT Anthology (Fiction) Award at the 2014 Lambda Literary Awards.

MaThoko’s Books invites writers to submit short stories of 2 000 – 6 000 words on a queer African theme by 31 January, 2016. Stories will again be selected and edited by Martin and Xaba. See the below press release for submission information.

Richard de Nooy was so taken with Queer Africa, he compiled a list of excerpt from the anthology on his Books LIVE blog:

“Queer Africa is a collection of charged, tangled, tender, unapologetic, funny, bruising and brilliant stories about the many ways in which we love each other on the continent,” writes Gabeba Baderoon in her foreword to this anthology edited by Karen Martin and Makhosazana Xaba. Having dog-eared this fascinating collection of stories I strolled back to collect my markers and celebrate that love with excerpts from each story.
“That’s the idea. Let it sound bush. I sing for the people. If I sound bush, the people will think they are better than me. If they’re better than me, they will pity me; they will want to help me; they will want to save me. With their money.”
(From Davina Owombre’s Pelican Driver)
“Hell, said Dominee Boonzaier, would have so many skelms from the bank that there wouldn’t be room for the Tswana and the English, and the godless people from Johannesburg.”
(From Emil Rorke’s Poisoned Grief)
“I kissed you on the mouth three days after we met. You said it was a complication you could do without, and then you smiled.”
(From Wamuwi Mbao’s The Bath)

Pumla Gqola writes in the Introduction to the collection:

Karen Martin and Makhosazana Xaba have achieved an extraordinary feat in bringing together this very welcome volume of stories that imagine queer Africa in such diverse and exciting ways. It is a beautiful and necessary project that presents a shared vision across the pages of the book whilst allowing the individual short stories, and the two excerpts from novels, to stand completely in their own stead. A shared vision is not premised on agreement or similarity, as these stories show; the editors of the collection gesture towards a political, aesthetic and imaginative community that is not premised on sameness. After all, each of these stories offers a slice of what it means to be queer in Africa because in a direct sense, that description and call is what the authors responded to or what their stories suggested, prompting invitations to publish here.

Press release


Queer Africa II: New and collected fiction

Following the international success of Queer Africa: New and Collected Fiction, MaThoko’s Books is delighted to announce a follow-up anthology: Queer Africa II.

We invite writers to submit for consideration short stories on a queer African theme. Stories will again be selected and edited by Karen Martin and Makhosazana Xaba.

Queer Africa won the 2014 Lambda Literary Award for a fiction anthology. According to the Lambda Literary Foundation, the awards “identify and celebrate the best lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender books of the year and affirm that LGBTI stories are part of the literature of the world”. The collection has since been translated into Spanish, and an Arabic translation is under discussion.

Queer Africa is being used to teach literature and queer theory at prestigious universities, and continues to be written about in academic journals. In a recent review by Ayub Sheik (University of KwaZulu-Natal), Queer Africa was described as a “milestone” and was celebrated for its groundbreaking representations of sexual and gender diversity:

Collectively these narratives posit sexual rights as political rights and celebrate queer sexuality as positive, pleasurable and empowering human experiences. (Agenda, Volume 29, Issue 1, 2015)

Queer Africa featured 18 stories by writers from six countries: Botswana, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe. Our goal for the follow-up anthology is to publish stories from as many African countries as possible. We want an anthology that reflects continental diversity, but that also delves into local specificities. We are looking for stories that evoke believable characters and that take their readers on worthwhile human journeys. We are committed to publishing creative explorations of our theme, and seek stories rich with layers, nuance and complexity. Our yardstick for selection remains literary merit.

We would be honoured to consider your unpublished fiction in English, or your literary translation into English of a previously published story. Where necessary, the editors will work closely with writers to develop and refine submissions. Writers need not identify as queer, but do need to identify as African.

For more information email or find MaThoko’s Books on Facebook. Please spread the word along your networks.

Submission Information

Stories of 2 000 – 6 000 words should be submitted to by 31 January, 2016.

Please provide a covering page with the title of the story, your full name, email address, telephone number and a bio of no more than 100 words.

For translations, please also provide the writer’s name, the original title of the story and any publishing details.

All submissions will be acknowledged, and the final selection will be made by 30 April, 2016.

About the Editors

Karen Martin writes short fiction, and is at work on her first collection. In 2014, she was awarded a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Syracuse University. During the three years of her studies, she won writing fellowships and residencies in the United States, and EC Osondu awarded her short story “Re-enactments” the 2013 Stone Canoe Prize for an emerging fiction writer. She is a professional editor and copyeditor. She has initiated and developed several publishing projects for Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action (GALA).

Makhosazana Xaba is the author of Running and Other Stories (2013), which won the 2014 Nadine Gordimer Short Story Award. “Running”, the collection’s title story, was selected for the Twenty in 20 project, a book celebrating 20 years of democracy and showcasing South Africa’s excellence in the short story genre. In 2005, “Running” won the Deon Hofmeyr Prize for Creative Writing. She is the author of two poetry collections: these hands (2005) and Tongues of their Mothers (2008). She holds a Masters in Writing from the University of the Witwatersrand.

About MaThoko’s Books

MaThoko’s Books is the publishing imprint of Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action (GALA), a Johannesburg-based centre for LGBTI culture and education.

Launched in 2011, MaThoko’s Books aims to be a corrective to the limited publishing support for queer writing in Africa and to act as a springboard for emerging and marginalised voices. It also provides a much-needed publishing outlet for scholarly works on LGBTI-related themes.

Recent titles from MaThoko’s Books include Under Pressure: The Regulation of Sexualities in South African Secondary Schools, Outside the Safety Zone: An Agenda for Research on Violence against Gender-nonconforming Women in South Africa and Reclaiming the L-Word: Sappho’s Daughters Out in Africa.

More information about MaThoko’s Books can be found at or at


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