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6 months ago, we announced the call for submissions for the inaugural edition of the Gerald Kraak Awards. In honor of South African activist, who devoted his life to fighting for LGBTI issues, writers and visual artists who explore themes of gender, sexuality, and human rights are to send in their work.

After 4 months of reviewing a whooping 400 submissions, the panel of judges, which includes Eusebius McKaiser,  Sylvia Tamale, and Sisonke Msimang—who is the chair—decided on a 14-name shortlist.

In a statement issued last week, The Jacana Literary Foundation—in partnership with The Other Foundation— announced that the shortlisted authors were “drawn from a range of African countries.” Both essays and photographic works explore “topics of gender, human rights and sexuality on our continent” and “represent a new wave of fresh storytelling.”

 

Here is the list of shortlistees:

1. Poached Eggs by Farah Ahamed (Fiction, Kenya)

“A subtle, slow and careful rendering of the everyday rhythms of domestic terror that pays homage to the long history of women’s resistance; yet with wit and humour and grit, the story also sings of freedom, of resistance and the desire to be unbound.”

2. A Place of Greater Safety by Beyers de Vos (Journalism, South Africa)

“Covers, with empathy and real curiosity and knowledge, underground issues that are seldom discussed in the South African LGBT+ movement – homelessness, poverty, as well as attraction and violence.”

3. Midnight in Lusikisiki or The Ruin of the Gentlewomen by Sindiswa Busuku-Mathese (Poetry, South Africa)

“This poem hums with sadness and sings with anger. It is full of the sort of melancholy that marks the passing of something very important. It provides an opportunity to connect the themes of gender this collection takes so seriously, with issues of poverty and political corruption.”

4. Two Weddings for Amoit by Dilman Dila (Fiction, Uganda)

“A fresh piece of sci-fi, written in a clear and bright way, that surprisingly draws on covert and subversive love.”

5. Albus by Justin Dingwall (Photography, South Africa)

“The choice of exquisitely beautiful high-fashion models to represent people with albinism – who are so often depicted as unattractive, as others – is just breath-taking. It makes its point and leaves you wanting more.”

6. For Men Who Care by Amatesiro Dore (Fiction, Nigeria)

“A complex and thoughtful insight into a part of elite Nigerian life, as well as the ways in which buying into certain brands of patriarchy can be so deeply damaging – and have direct and unavoidable consequences.”

7. Resurrection by Tania Haberland (Poetry, Mauritius)

“An erotic poem that is powerful in its simple celebration of the clit.”

8. Intertwined Odyssey by Julia Hango (Photography, South Africa)

“A solid and thought-provoking collection. The range of poses force questions about power. The photos make the lovers (or are they fighters?) equal in their nakedness and in their embodiment of discomfort.”

9. Dean’s Bed by Dean Hutton (Photography, South Africa)

“An important contribution to conversations about bisexuality, attraction, age and race.”

10. On Coming Out by Lee Mokobe (Poetry, South Africa)

“Literal and lyrical, this powerful poem draws one in through its style and accessibility.”

11. You Sing of a Longing by Otosirieze Obi-Young (Fiction, Nigeria)

“A thoroughly modern epic but with bones as old as time. This is a story of love and betrayal and madness and music that is all the more beautiful for its plainspoken poignancy. Yet there is prose in here that steals your breath away.”

12. The Conversation by Olakunle Ologunro (Fiction, Nigeria)

“Provides valuable insight into issues of intimate partner violence, family acceptance and the complexity of gender roles in many modern African contexts.”

13. One More Nation Bound in Freedom by Ayodele Sogunro (Academic, Nigeria)

“An informative piece that gives a crisp and ‘objective’ voice to the many themes that cut across this anthology.”

14. Stranger in a Familiar Land by Sarah Waiswa (Photography, Kenya)

“This collection of photos showcases the best of African story-telling. The images take risks, and speak to danger and subversion. At the same time they are deeply rooted in places that are familiar to urban Africans. The woman in this collection is a stand-in for all of us.”

Congrats to the shortlisted authors. Whether they win or not, their work will be published in an anthology titled Pride and Prejudice. The winner will be announced in May 2017 at an award ceremony.

 

 

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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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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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