Sisca Julius. Photo from K & L Prize.

The inaugural K & L Prize, awarded for unpublished short fiction inspired by historical events in Africa, has gone to South Africa’s Sisca Julius for her story “Honey Bee.” The $1,000 prize, which considers short stories between 1,000 and 2,000 words by writers between 18 and 25 years of age, was founded last year by the New Zealand-based Nigerian novelist Myles Idoko, author of Black River: An Account of Christmas Preacher (2018).

Julius is 23 and studying Afrikaans, Creative Writing, Anthropology and Heritage Studies at Sol Plaatje University, South Africa. She writes in Afrikaans and English. “I love writing in the dialect of the coloured people of South Africa, who mix Afrikaans, English and Khoi languages,” said Julius, who described her winning entry as “a narrative about the way her people of South Africa were stripped of their language.” She “think[s] in Afrikaans,” but “inasmuch as I love Afrikaans, I long to cloak my mouth in clicks like my grandmother and her mother. I am afraid that the Nama language will become extinct in South Africa, and if you lose your language, you lose your culture.”

The prize was judged by the writers Zana Bell and Uchechukwu Umezurike, who also revealed the other three shortlisted stories:

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  • “The Many-Faced God” by Melody Anthony
  • “The Secrets of Water Bodies” by Mazpa Ejikem
  • “When Sullen Faces Gnaw at You” by Okechi Okeke

“The stories that made it to the finals are quite impressive,” Umezurike said. “These stories, the four of them, are so different—each poignantly told with its own strengths,” Bell added.

The longlisted short stories will be published in the prize anthology, Histories of Yesterday.

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Brittle Paper congratulates the winner and the finalists. 

All inquiries about the K & L Prize should be forwarded to [email protected].