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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, an academic, and Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review ("Mulumba," 2016), Transition ("A Tenderer Blessing," 2015), and in an anthology of the Gerald Kraak Award ("You Sing of a Longing," 2017), for which he was shortlisted. His work has further been shortlisted for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship in 2016 and a Pushcart Prize in 2015. He attended the 2018 Miles Morland Foundation Creative Writing Workshop facilitated by Giles Foden. He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of themed e-anthologies of writing and visual art exploring different aspects of Nigerianness. The first, Enter Naija: The Book of Places (October, 2016), focuses on Nigerian cities. The second, Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (June, 2017), focuses on professions in Nigeria. He studied history and literature at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is currently completing a postgraduate programme in African Studies, and teaches English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. When bored, he just Googles Rihanna.

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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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