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The shortlist for the Arthur C @ClarkeAward for best science fiction novel of the year has been announced!

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

Read "Apollo", a New Short Story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Published in The New Yorker

The New Yorker has published a new short story by Nigerian literary darling Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in their latest issue. The story is titled “Apollo” and tells of Okenwa, a young man who visits his elderly parents, only to find that the way he relates to them has changed dramatically.

Willing Davidson spoke to the author to find out more about the characters in “Apollo”, the condition the title refers to and the undercurrent of attraction that is so evident in the story, albeit in a subtle way.

“I am drawn as a reader to stories of childhood told in an adult voice, stories full of the melancholy beauty of retrospect. I am interested in the regrets we carry from our childhoods, in the idea of ‘what if’ and ‘if only.’ A novel I love, ‘The Go-Between,’ by LP Hartley, does this very well,” Adichie says.

Read the short interview:

Raphael eventually contracts conjunctivitis. In the story, the condition is called “Apollo.” Where does this name come from?

In Nigeria—and in some other parts of Africa—Apollo is the colloquial term for conjunctivitis. I remember a friend telling me, in primary school, that it was called Apollo because the men who went to the moon had returned with the red-eyed infection. This friend and I had just had Apollo, and it was perhaps her way of making our plight seem special.

Read the story:

Twice a month, like a dutiful son, I visited my parents in Enugu, in their small overfurnished flat that grew dark in the afternoon. Retirement had changed them, shrunk them. They were in their late eighties, both small and mahogany-skinned, with a tendency to stoop. They seemed to look more and more alike, as though all the years together had made their features blend and bleed into one another. They even smelled alike—a menthol scent, from the green vial of Vicks VapoRub they passed to each other, carefully rubbing a little in their nostrils and on aching joints. When I arrived, I would find them either sitting out on the veranda overlooking the road or sunk into the living-room sofa, watching Animal Planet. They had a new, simple sense of wonder. They marvelled at the wiliness of wolves, laughed at the cleverness of apes, and asked each other, “Ifukwa? Did you see that?”

Half of a Yellow Sun Purple HibiscusAmericanahAmericanahAfrica's Best StoriesThe Thing Around Your Neck


Related stories:

I Felt Violated: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Reveals Her Anger at The Guardian Over Article on Depression

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Image courtesy of The New Yorker and Riposte Nagazine

"The Unique Gift of the Short Story" - Henrietta Rose-Innes on Writing and the Magic of Lost Stories

Henrietta Rose-Innes
Green LionnullNinevehHomingThe Rock AlphabetShark's Egg


Writing Short Stories Bloomsbury Publishing has shared an extract from its new publication Writing Short Stories: A Writers’ and Artists’ Companion, featuring writing advice from Henrietta Rose-Innes.

Rose-Innes’ much anticipated new novel, Green Lion, will be launched at the Franschhoek Literary Festival in May

Read the excerpt:

Lost stories
Henrietta Rose-Innes

Henrietta Rose-Innes is a South African writer based in Cape Town. She is the author of a short story collection, Homing, and three novels, Shark’s Egg, The Rock Alphabet and Nineveh. Her story ‘Sanctuary’ won second place in the BBC International Short Story Award in 2012, and she won the South African PEN Literary Award in 2007 and the 2008 Caine Prize for African Writing.

There was that one about the body of a green giant, washed up on a beach. And the one about the blue birds, who made you happy if you stroked their feathers. The brother and sister, wandering through an infinite graveyard. A man, erotically instructed in a train carriage as it crossed a dark plain on a foreign planet, lit by
stars …

These pictures are all from short stories, 30 years old or more. Maybe you read them too; maybe you remember a different set of pictures.

Most of them are science fiction stories, I think, because that was what I was reading age 12, 13, when these images pressed themselves into my receptive brain. Crouched between the shelves in the Cape Town Central Library, lost in the sci-fi compendiums. I don’t recall their titles or the names of the authors. Back then I wasn’t concerned with provenance, just greedy for raw images.

The pictures remain as bright as postage stamps, steamed free from the letters they came on. I’ve lost the envelopes, lost the addresses. Lost the letters, too: I don’t remember plots, characters, the beginnings or endings of any of those stories. Just: the green giant, the blue birds, the gravestones, the train. And others. Each image has its own particular synaesthetic taste, sharp or bittersweet. Mystery, longing, adventure, a touch of grief.

These lucid moments are, for me, the unique gift of the short story. (The sense memory of a novel is different: less concentrated, a more complex accretion.) And this is what I grope after in my own writing. Each story I have ever written has been an attempt to print a vivid postage stamp and mail it to the reader: the bust of a queen, a national bird … I’d love to know that some bright image, peeled off one of my stories, has found a place in someone’s collection.

It is harder to have that purity of experience now. The sensations don’t arrive so cleanly. These days, my reading – and my writing – is more selective, cautious, tangled up in awareness of canon and context. I take note of authors’ names. My books are bought not borrowed. If I need to, I can lay my hand on a particular story, I can cross-check. I may never lose a story again – and perhaps I’ll never find one again in quite the same way, with that same serendipitous magic.

Over the years I’ve thought of those stories often. Replayed so frequently, the images become fixed, and no doubt distorted. By now they are probably unrecognizable facsimiles of the original. I’ve often wanted to track them down. Recently, after a couple of tries, I successfully googled that green giant; I thought he might be one of Ray Bradbury’s monsters. Turns out the story was, of course, Ballard’s ‘The Drowned Giant’ – and the giant was never green, but ‘pearl-coloured’. I think I’ll let the other stories stay lost. I rather like my pictures as they are.

Related stories:

Presenting Green Lion, The New Novel by Henrietta Rose-Innes

Henrietta Rose-Innes About Winning the François Sommer Literary Prize for Ninive, the French Translation of Nineveh

Fiction Friday: Excerpts from New Stories by Richard de Nooy and Henrietta Rose-Innes

20/20: A tiny story made of 50 first lines by Henrietta Rose-Innes

Book details

  • Nineve by Henrietta Rose-Innes
    Book homepage
    EAN: 9782881829147

2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize Shortlist Announced, Including Two South African Authors

Five African authors – including two South Africans – have made the shortlist for the 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.

The shortlisted South Africans are Jayne Bauling, for “Left”, and Fred Khumalo, for “Legs of Thunder”.

This year’s edition of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize attracted a record number of nearly 4 000 entries. The shortlist – 22 stories from 11 countries – was chosen by judges Leila Aboulela, Fred D’Aguiar, Marina Endicott, Witi Ihimaera, Bina Shah and chair Romesh Gunesekera. Five regional winners will be announced on 28 April.

Other African authors on the list are Alexander Ikawah and Muthoni wa Gichuru of Kenya, and Lesley Nneka Arimah of Nigeria.

2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize shortlist:

Rachel Stevenson (United Kingdom)
Alexander Ikawah (Kenya)
Alecia McKenzie (Jamaica)
Jennifer Mills (Australia)
Mary Rokonadravu (Fiji)
Souvankham Thammavongsa (Canada)
Jayne Bauling (South Africa)
Fred Khumalo (South Africa)

Lesley Nneka Arimah (Nigeria)
Toodesh Ramesar (Trinidad and Tobago)
Maria Reva (Canada)
Jessica White (Australia)
Amina Farah (Canada)
Steve Charters (New Zealand)
Susan Yardley (Australia)
Meenakshi Gautam Chaturvedi (India)
Jonathan Tel (United Kingdom)
Muthoni wa Gichuru (Kenya)
Kevin Jared Hosein (Trinidad and Tobago)
Siddhartha Gigoo (India)
Shahnaz Habib (India)
Darren Doyle (Trinidad and Tobago)

Feast, Famine and PotluckDreaming of LightStepping SoloBauling is the author of Stepping Solo and Dreaming of Light. Last year, she was shortlisted for a 2014 Golden Baobab Prize and was runner-up in the Short Story Day Africa competition, Feast, Famine and Potluck. Her story “Flight” was shortlisted for the 2012 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.

From “Left”

His accent is strange and rich to her ears. She must strain to understand what he is saying and even then the sense of it sometimes slips past her. His name, she knows from the board at the entrance downstairs, is Szymanski. She has never attempted it, nervous of mispronunciation, although her own name is nearly unrecognisable on his tongue.

She thinks of inviting him to call her by her first name, but suspects he would find it improper. He might even be alarmed, thinking her about to impose, to burden him.

She had never anticipated that loss would make her timid, fearful of oppressing others with her grief.

Touch My BloodZulu Boy Gone CrazyBitches' BrewKhumalo is the author of Zulu Boy Gone Crazy: Hilarious Tales Post Polokwane, the European Union Literary Award-winning novel Bitches’ Brew and a memoir, Touch My Blood, which shortlisted for the Alan Paton Prize for Non-fiction in 2007.

From “Legs of Thunder”

Look, she would say, you can clean tripe for hygienic purposes; you can package it glamorously; you can market it whichever way you want to upmarket consumers; you can call it exotic names – mala mogodu, itwani, upense, or whatever tickles your fancy. But for crying in a bucket don’t pulverize the darn thing by soaking it in bleach. When you do that, it turns completely white and textureless. With the colour gone, the funk is gone; the grit is gone; the grease is gone. And with the funk and the grit and the grease gone, the flavour is gone! So, what’s the point? Might as well eat bleached dishwashing rags and bleached veggies! Nomcebo was so determined to prepare a dish of proper tripe for dinner she did not mind driving up the busy Louis Botha Avenue, all the way to Hillbrow. Tripe and dumplings, ahhhhh …

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Johan Anker resenseer Spoorvat saamgestel deur Riana Scheepers en Leti Kleyn

SpoorvatUitspraak: wortel

Die tekste is nie spesifiek geskryf as kortverhaalmateriaal nie, maar daar is ’n hele paar wat myns insiens hul plek sal volstaan in enige Groot kortverhaalboek: stories soos onder andere Clinton V. du Plessis se “Dubbelvisie”, Heilna du Plooy se “Die foto”, Rita Gilfillan se “Ydelheid der Ydelheden”, Maretha Maartens se “ Die sagte oë van beeste”, Myra Scheepers se “Tuiskoms” en Jan van Tonder se “Die Queen se operator” verdien ’n tweede lees. Ander lesers sal moontlik ’n ander keuse uitoefen, maar dit is hoekom dit so lekker is om te lees
en te onthou.


Potgooi: Margot Luyt lees "Belhambra", ’n kortverhaal uit Desembers deur Petra Müller

DesembersMargot Luyt het onlangs ‘n kortverhaal deur Petra Müller op RSG se Kortom-program voorgelees.

Die verhaal se naam is “Belhambra” en word gevind in Müller se bundel Desembers: ‘n Kortverhaalkeur wat in 2010 by Tafelberg verskyn het en deur Rachelle Greeff saamgestel is.

‘n Ma en haar slapende baba rus in die skaduwee onder die Belhambraboom en wanneer sy omkyk sit daar ‘n man langs haar en begin oor die boom te gesels. Hy vertel dat hulle dit ‘n “hoenderbessieboom” genoem het en dring aan dat sy met hom moet gesels en nie ophou praat nie.

Die verteller wonder hardop of die vreemdeling nie dalk van lotjie getik nie, maar hulle begin tog te gesels.

Luister na die potgooi: