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Image from AFREADA.

With the 2019 Africa Writes Festival coming in July, AFREADA magazine has announced its third annual contest in partnership with the UK’s biggest African literature event. The AFREADA x Africa Writes Competition will see participants develop a story about social class based on a passage from the festival co-headliner Chigozie Obioma’s second novel An Orchestra of Minorities.

The deadline is 31 May 2019.

Chigozie will be discussing his latest novel, An Orchestra of Minorities; a story about a young man who sacrifices everything to win the woman he loves. Now the woman he loves certainly loves him back, but one issue stands in the way:

‘Have you considered that my daughter here is a soon-to-be pharmacist?’

‘Yes, sir.’

‘Have you considered that she is now completing her bachelor’s in pharmacy and will proceed to do her MPhil in the UK?’

‘Yes, sir.’

‘Have you considered, young man, what kind of future you, an unschooled farmer, will have with her?’

This dialogue is a perfect snapshot of one of the central themes in this book. Chinonso and Ndali fall in love but she is from an educated and wealthy family – and he is not. We are inviting writers, anywhere and everywhere, to grab hold of this conversation and use it to explore the perceived importance of social class across Africa and beyond.

We only have two rules – the word limit is 500 words and the story must include this dialogue in its entirety.

Your unschooled farmer doesn’t have to be called Chinonso, just like the father in this conversation doesn’t have to be a wealthy Igbo Chief. You decide where your story is set. You decide whether the father’s questions are rhetorical or sincere. You decide what comes before and after this conversation. But whatever you decide, you only have six weeks to turn your thoughts into a prize-winning submission – the deadline is Friday, 31 May. 23:59 BST.

In June, AFREADA will publish selected entries for the public to vote on the final three. On 27 July, Obioma’s headline event date, the winner will be announced. The winner will receive £100, with the two finalists getting £50 each.

ENTER FOR THE COMPETITION HERE.

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Otosirieze is deputy editor of Brittle Paper. He is a judge for the 2018/19 Gerald Kraak Prize and the 2019 Miles Morland Writing Scholarships. He is an 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 the curator of 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 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 combined English and History at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is completing a postgraduate degree in African Studies, and taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. 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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