Previous winners of the Brittle Paper Awards. L-R, Upper Row: Hawa Jande Golakai, JK Anowe, Sisonke Msimang, Chibuihe Obi, Megan Ross; Lower Row: Sibongile Fisher, Stacy Hardy, Panashe Chigumadzi, Shailja Patel, Itiola Jones.

The 2019 Brittle Paper Awards are open for nominations. Currently in its third year, the Awards were established to mark our seventh anniversary in 2017. They are our way of highlighting the best pieces of online literary writing by Africans: an avenue to showcase the range of thinking, stylistic innovation, and exploration of subjects happening on the literary scene. We consider them an opportunity to celebrate writers who are leveraging digital technology for creative work, and of course the platforms that publish their work.

The Awards come in five categories: the Brittle Paper Award for Fiction ($200), the Brittle Paper Award for Poetry ($200), the Brittle Paper Award for Creative Nonfiction ($200), the Brittle Paper Award for Essays & Think Pieces ($200), and the Brittle Paper Anniversary Award ($300), which is exclusively for writing published on our site. The shortlists are decided, by our editorial team, based on quality, significance, and impact.

The 2017 Awards shortlisted 48 pieces: 10 each for the Fiction and Poetry categories, eight each for the Creative Nonfiction and Essays & Think Pieces categories, and 12 for the Anniversary Award. The winners:

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  • The Award for Essays & Think Pieces went to South Africa’s Sisonke Msimang, for “All Your Faves Are Problematic: A Brief History of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Stanning, and the Trap of #BlackGirlMagic,” published on Africa Is a Country
  • The Award for Poetry went to Nigeria’s JK Anowe, for “Credo to Leave,” published on Expound
  • The Award for Creative Nonfiction went to Liberia’s Hawa Jande Golakai, for “Fugee,” published in print in Safe House: Explorations in Creative Nonfiction (2016) and online on Granta
  • The Award for Fiction went to South Africa’s Megan Ross, for “Farang,” published in Short Story Day Africa’s Migrations: New Short Fiction from Africa
  • The Anniversary Award went to Nigeria’s Chibuihe Obi, for “We’re Queer, We’re Here”

Read their winning pieces HERE.

The 2018 Awards shortlisted 31 pieces: five for the Fiction category, six each for the Poetry, Creative Nonfiction, and Essays & Think Pieces categories, and eight for the Anniversary Award. The winners:

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  • The Award for Essays & Think Pieces went to Zimbabwe & South Africa’s Panashe Chigumadzi, for “History Through the Body or Rights of Desire, Rights of Conquest,” published on The Johannesburg Review of Books
  • The Award for Poetry went to Nigeria’s Itiola Jones, for “A Field, any Field,” published on The Offing
  • The Award for Creative Nonfiction went to South Africa’s Sibongile Fisher, for “The Miseducation of Gratitude,” published in Selves: An Afro Anthology of Creative Nonfiction (2018) and online on Enkare Review
  • The Award for Fiction went to South Africa’s Stacy Hardy, for “Involution,” published in print in Short Story Day Africa’s Migration: Short Fiction from Africa and online on The Caine Prize website
  • The Anniversary Award went to Kenya’s Shailja Patel, for “On Postcolonial Theory,” which first appeared on Twitter

Read their winning pieces HERE.

GUIDELINES

A. ELIGIBILITY

  • All kinds of essays and think pieces, poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction by Africans, or about African literary culture, are eligible
  • Such works published on any platform, literary or pop culture or otherwise, are eligible
  • Eligible works must have first appeared online between 1 September 2018 and 22 September 2019. Works published in print before this window but which appear online within it are eligible
  • Eligible works must be available for free online. Availability is necessary as the Awards are an invitation to the literary community to consider nominated pieces
  • Works in online anthologies can be nominated provided the anthologies are accessible for free
  • We can only consider works in the English language

B. HOW TO MAKE A NOMINATION

Send an email to [email protected] with the header “BPA 2019 Nomination.” The email is to contain only the following:

  1. Category for consideration. (Which our editors could change if we think otherwise.)
  2. Title of the nominated piece.
  3. Name of nominated author.
  4. Link to nominated piece. In the case of an anthology, include the link to the anthology.

Here is a sample nomination email:

BPA 2019 NOMINATION

CATEGORY: Poetry

TITLE: A Field, any Field

AUTHOR: Itiola Jones

LINK: [insert link]

C. THINGS TO NOTE

  • A nomination email may contain as many nominations as the sender wishes
  • One can nominate their own work; the identity of the nomination sender has no bearing on our consideration
  • The nomination period is from 23 September 2019 to 23 October 2019
  • All nomination emails will be acknowledged in the week after the deadline
  • The shortlists will be announced in November 2019
  • The winners will be announced in early December 2019

For enquiries, please email [email protected]