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Sarah Waiswa at the Gerald Kraak Award ceremony last night. She is a co-winner for her photography collection “Stranger in Familiar Land.”

The Ugandan-born Kenya-based photographer Sarah Waiswa and the Kenyan writer Farah Ahamed have been named co-winners of the inaugural Gerald Kraak Award. The announcement came at the award ceremony in Johannesburg last night.

Sarah was chosen for her photography collection titled “Stranger in a Familiar Land” and Farah for her fiction, “Poached Eggs.” They will be sharing the R25,000 prize money.

The award, a collaboration between The Jacana Literary Foundation and The Other Foundation, is named in honor of the late South African activist Gerald Kraak, who devoted his life to fighting for LGBTI issues, gender and social justice issues.

After four months of reviewing 400 submissions, the panel of judges—Eusebius McKaiser, Sylvia Tamale, and the chair Sisonke Msimang—had earlier decided on a 14-name shortlist which “represent a new wave of fresh storytelling” in fiction, photography, poetry and academic writing.

The shortlisted works appear in an anthology titled Pride and Prejudice, which saw its launch at the ceremony.

The organisers’ logo.

Sarah Waiswa is a Ugandan-born Kenya-based documentary and portrait photographer with an interest in exploring identity on the African continent, particularly the New African Identity. She has degrees in sociology and psychology. “Stranger in a Familiar Land” won her the Recontres d’Arles 2016 Discovery Award. Here is what the judges said about it at the shortlist announcement:

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.

Farah Ahamed is a co-winner for her story “Poached Eggs.”

Farah Ahamed‘s stories have been published in The Massachusetts Review, Thresholds, Kwani?, The Missing Slate and Out of Print. She has shortlisted for the SI Leeds Literary Prize, DNA/Out of Print Award, Sunderland Waterstones Award, Asian Writer Award. Her winning story, “Poached Eggs,” was highly commended by the 2016 London Short Story Prize. Here is what the Gerald Kraak judges said about it:

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.

Congratulations to Sarah Waiswa and Farah Ahamed! Brittle Paper wishes them the best.

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, journalist, & Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. The recipient of the inaugural The Future Awards Prize for Literature in 2019, he is a judge for The Gerald Kraak Prize and was a judge for The Morland Writing Scholarship in 2019. He is Nonfiction Editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is Curator at The Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His work in queer equality advocacy in literature has been profiled in Literary Hub. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He has an M.A. in African Studies and a combined honours B.A. in History & International Studies/English & Literary Studies, both from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He taught English in a private Nigerian university. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

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