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The nine writers shortlisted for the 2017/18 Short Story Day Africa Prize.

Short Story Day Africa’s presence on the literary scene is revitalising. Founded in 2011, the organisation launched a themed competition in 2013 that has evolved, by its fifth year, into the leading prize for short fiction on the continent. The prize went to Kenya’s Okwiri Oduor in 2013, South Africa’s Diane Awerbuck in 2014, South Africa’s Cat Hellisen in 2015, South Africa’s Sibongile Fisher in 2016, and most recently, Nigeria’s Emmanuel Tochukwu Okafor for the 2017 year.

The Short Story Day Africa Prize and workshops have offered important opportunities for writers on the continent, and most importantly, a space where their work is recognized based on the only thing that should matter: quality. Their works are collected in anthologies: Feast, Famine & Potluck (published 2014, for the 2013 prize), Terra Incognita (published 2015, for the 2014 prize), Water (published 2016, for the 2015 prize), Migrations (published 2017, for the 2016 prize), and ID (published 2018, for the 2017 prize).

SSDA’s emphasis on quality manifests in the way that stories from their anthologies have been honoured by other awards. Three have been shortlisted for the Caine Prize: Okwiri Oduor’s “My Father’s Head” and Efemia Chela’s “Chicken,” from Feast, Famine & Potluck, in 2014, with the former winning it, and Stacy Hardy’s “Involution,” from Migrations, in 2018. Three have been shortlisted for the inaugural Brittle Paper Award for Fiction: Sibongile Fisher’s “A Door Ajar,” TJ Benson’s “Tea,” and Megan Ross’ “Farang,” which won it—all from Migrations.

Brittle Paper has traditionally reviewed stories on the Caine Prize shortlists, and this year, we introduced our annual review of the Brunel Prize poems. We will now also be reviewing the top three short stories announced by the Short Story Day Africa Prize, yearly. In coming weeks, we will bring you reviews of the winner Emmanuel Tochukwu Okafor’s “All Our Lives” and the joint runners-up Agazit Abate’s “The Piano Player” and Michael Yee’s “God Skin.”

Congratulations, once more, to the three writers.

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, an academic, literary journalist, and Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review, Transition, and in an anthology of the Gerald Kraak Award 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. 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 cities in Nigeria. 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. He has completed a collection of short stories, YOU SING OF A LONGING, and is working on a novel. He is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. When bored, the boy 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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