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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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OTOSIRIEZE is a writer, literary journalist, former academic, and Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. A judge for the 2019 Gerald Kraak Award, he is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective which has published two volumes: WE ARE FLOWERS and THE INWARD GAZE. He is the curator of ART NAIJA SERIES, a sequence of themed e-anthologies of writing and visual art exploring different aspects of Nigerianness: ENTER NAIJA: THE BOOK OF PLACES (October, 2016) focuses on cities in Nigeria; WORK NAIJA: THE BOOK OF VOCATIONS (June, 2017) focuses on professions in Nigeria. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition, and has been shortlisted for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship and the Gerald Kraak Award, both in 2016, and a Pushcart Prize in 2015. He attended the 2018 Miles Morland Foundation Creative Writing Workshop. 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. He combined history and literature at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. When bored, the boy just Googles Rihanna. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts editing and writing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze.

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