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Here is a literary project worth checking out. It is a writing contest that gives you the chance to re-write, update, reinvent, re-imagine African folktales for a contemporary audience. The contest comes with opportunity to get published in an anthology. Some of the best minds in African literature are backing the project—Chuma Nwokolo, Okey Ndibe, Maimouna Jallow, and Lizzy Attree, who are all serving as judges.

Entries are currently open, so start writing! Keep in mind that the deadline is May 20.

Contact the organizers here.

Here is more info about the contest.

Re-imagined! is a global online storytelling contest inviting African writers, poets, playwrights and journalists to re-invent and update the African folktale for a new millennium.

In keeping with the tradition of African folk tales, the challenge is to develop new narratives that speak of issues that are fundamental to Africa’s development – from corruption, to environmental degradation and religious radicalization – in a way that is unconventional but true to our past traditions of folktale and oral storytelling.

The stories should contain life lessons that are relevant for both young and old, however writers are invited to be as inventive and disruptive as they wish in terms of theme, form, language, characters, imagery and context.

Whilst the first edition of the contest will cater only for those writing in English, subsequent editions will seek to promote entries in African languages, as well as in French, Portuguese, Spanish and Arabic.

The aims of the contest are multiple:

  • To revive the rapidly dying age-old tradition of sharing wisdom through stories by re-adapting them for a modern context
  • To create more opportunities for African writers to get published
  • To contribute to a modern archive of stories by Africans writers
  • To influence public debate and include alternative voices to the traditional news agenda through stories that tackles issues critical to African development
  • To make available the stories to as broad an audience as possible through both traditional and new media platforms
  • To invite storytellers to perform the stories on stage, in schools and in communities across the world
  • To train teachers on storytelling techniques
  • To find new ways of encouraging communities to talk through difficult issues and heal trauma through the use of storytelling
  • To create a video archive of the storytelling performances

A New Anthology of Modern African Tales

Following a two-month entry period, an editorial panel, headed by Nigerian author Chuma Nwokolo, will select the top twenty five entries, which will then be:

  1. Published in the first ever Illustrated Anthology on Modern African Folktales.
  2. Serialised in several newspapers around the continent

Storytelling Performances

A key component of the Re-Imagined contest is reviving African storytelling customs. Storytellers will perform the stories selected for the anthology across the continent in schools, literary festivals and communities. The stories will also be used as part of an art therapy programme as a way to understand and help communities resolve the deep divisions that are at the root of modern day conflicts and social unrest and inequalities. By creating safe spaces that use a traditional art form that is familiar across communities in Africa, stories can help communities not only reclaim the stories of their pasts, but also to heal traumas and re-imagine their futures.

For more information, click here.

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Brittle Paper is not responsible for the organization or further promotion of this contest, neither do we have a stake in its popularity. Address any inquiry to the contact included in the post. 

Post image by  The Integer Club via Flickr

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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