Jacana Literary Foundation (JLF), in partnership with The Other Foundation, has announced a 19-strong shortlist for the R25,000 Gerald Kraak Prize, selected from over 500 entries. The nominated works—a total of 23 pieces of fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction by the 19 writers—will appear in the third Gerald Kraak Anthology, titled The Heart of the Matter, forthcoming from Jacana Media in May 2019.
Here are the shortlisted works and writers:
‘Obiageli’, by Prosper O. Anuforo (Nigeria), which explores the humiliation of a fisherman and the anger, grit and pride of his wife.
‘The First of Their Kind’, by Lillian Akampurira Aujo (Uganda), is feminist sci-fi; inventive dystopian fiction that examines corruption, abuse of power and elitism in a post-men world.
‘The Shape of Abnormal Things’, by Nonso Anyanwu (Nigeria), who writes of a love struck couple of teenagers and their brief romance.
‘Last Night in Asaba’, by Chiké Frankie Edozien (Nigeria), cements the writer’s status as a sensitive writer of fiction.
‘A Sickness Called Longing’, by Chukwuebuka Ibeh (Nigeria), is a haunting and subtle story about loneliness, vulnerability, masculinity and ageing.
‘Limbo’, by Innocent Chizaram Ilo (Nigeria), is a delightful and inventive story about a lesbian scarecrow.
‘The Impossibility of Home’, by Idza Luhumyo (Kenya): Nairobi comes to life as a city of shattered dreams and enduring hopes. It is a searing exploration of disability and desire. You will fall in love with its one-legged protagonist.
‘The Passover’, by Caleb Okereke (Nigeria), is an audacious tale of migration, longing, exploitation and nihilism. It combines elements of speculative fiction and realism in a way that defies categorisation.
‘The Masked Dance’, by Nigel Mpemba Patel (Malawi), tells of a gender fluid initiate in a triumphant coming of age tale.
‘Semen in the Sun’, by Jarred Thompson (South Africa), is a coming-of-age tale about university students in Johannesburg navigating manhood and finding love in the city.
‘Of Mothers and Men’, by OluTimehin Adegbeye (Nigeria), is a sensitive memoir casting new light on questions of rape, secondary victimisation and motherhood.
‘Monstrous’, by Megan Ross (South Africa), is a compelling and harrowing exploration of post-natal depression and love.
‘This Hell of a Body’, by Eugene Yakubu (Nigeria), is a complex polemic about intersex self-acceptance and love that also manages to burn with righteous outwardly directed rage.
‘Playlist of the Least Loveable’, by JK Anowe (Nigeria), on love, suicide and what it means to belong to a landscape of dysfunction.
‘Father’s Lessons’, by Bamidele Iyanuoluwapo (Nigeria), on fathers who insist their girls shall be as loved as boys.
‘Verdwaal’, by Lynne Kloot (South Africa), on children and violence and those who remain missing in South Africa as it was and as it is now.
‘A List of Things I Do Not Tell My Mother’, by Sarah Lubala (Democratic Republic of Congo/South Africa), on fear, sex and desire, as only Sarah Lubala can write it.
‘On My Coming Out’, by Chisom Okafor (Nigeria), is an affecting and elegantly written poem that speaks to desire, tradition and the enduring power of familial love.
‘City of Salts’, by Chisom Okafor (Nigeria), is a lyrical mediation on longing.
‘Pride’, by Deborah Seddon, is a beautiful ode to a father’s proud love.
‘My Sex Drive Is Self-reflective’, ‘Butchbottom’ and ‘Condition’, by Jarred Thompson (South Africa), is a trio of poems about desire.
The judges for the 2018/19 Gerald Kraak Prize are the South African memoirist and activist Sisonke Msimang, author of Always Another Country (2017) and The Resurrection of Winnie Mandela (2018); Makerere University law professor and feminist thinker Sylvia Tamale, author of African Sexualities: A Reader (2011); the South African journalist and nonfiction writer Mark Gevisser, author of Defiant Desire: Gay and Lesbian Lives in South Africa (1994), Portraits of Power: Profiles in a Changing South Africa (1996), and Lost and Found in Johannesburg: A Memoir (2012); and the Nigerian writer and literary journalist Otosirieze Obi-Young, deputy editor of Brittle Paper and an editor at 14.
The press release included an explanation for the absence of nominations in the photography category:
This year the anthology received very few photographic entries and, as such, none were shortlisted by the judges. The Gerald Kraak Prize and Anthology continues to accept entries from photographers, as well as all other visual arts practitioners, and encourages all visual artists and documentarians to submit.
We are especially delighted to see several Brittle Paper Awards winners and finalists: JK Anowe, winner for poetry in 2017; Megan Ross, winner for fiction in 2017; Sarah Lubala and Chisom Okafor, finalists for poetry in 2018; and Lilian Akampurira Aujo, finalist for our Anniversary Award in 2018.
The overall winner, and commendations in each category, will be announced at an award ceremony in May 2019, hosted by The Other Foundation in Johannesburg.
Brittle Paper congratulates the 19 finalists.