Short Story Day Africa has announced the longlist for the 2019/2020 prize. The list of 21 writers spread across nine countries, from Cameroon to Zambia.

The list is interesting in that, for the very first time, it contains two previous winners of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize for Africa Region (2019 winner Mbozi Haimbe and 2020 winner Innocent Ilo) and former Brittle Paper contributor Kanyisola Olorunnisola.

Founded in 2013, the prize is annually awarded to an African citizen or African in the diaspora. First prize winners get $800 while the second prize winner get $200 and the third $100. They also release an anthology of the longlisted stories based on the theme of the year’s submissions.

The theme for the 2019 submission is Disruption.

Author and founder of SSDA Rachel Zadok praised the imaginative prowess of the longlisted writers.

We looked for writing that had, at its core, that special something that is difficult to define but that shines through and sticks with the reader. The longlisted stories all tackle the theme of ‘Disruption’ in ingenious ways and represent a range of genres, from Innocent Ilo’s imaginative exploration of a post-apocalyptic African village, to Victor Forna’s stylistic take on the destruction of humanity. Masiyaleti Mbewe’s brutal tale of Apartheid and climate change through the eyes of a time-traveling cyborg sits alongside Genna Gardini’s diverting allegory of companionship and an escaped exotic pet. There are many other wonderful takes on the theme and we believe each story on the list has something new to offer to the African literary world.

Short Story Day Africa 2019/2020 Longlist

  • ‘A Defiant Departure’ by MacSmart Ojiludu – Nigeria
  • ‘Another Zombie Story’ by Kanyinsola Olorunnisola – Nigeria
  • ‘Armando’s Virtuous Crime’ by Najwa Bin Shatwan translated in to English by Sawad Hussain – Libya
  • ‘Before the Rains Came’ by Nadia Ahidjo-Iya – Cameroon
  • ‘Before We Die Unwritten’ by Innocent Ilo – Nigeria
  • ‘Between the Hard Earth and Dry Heaven’ by Melusi Nkomo – Zimbabwe
  • ‘Dɔrə’s Song’ by Victor Forna – Sierra Leone
  • ‘Enough’ by Nicholas Dawn – South Africa
  • ‘The Fishtank Crab’ by Genna Gardini – South Africa
  • ‘The Girl Named Uku/phaza/mi/se/ka’ by Philisiwe Twijnstra – South Africa
  • ‘The Girl Who Always Laughed’ by Doreen Anyango – Uganda
  • ‘Kin’ by Masiyaleti Mbewe – Zambia
  • ‘Laatlammer’ by Julia Louw – South Africa
  • ‘Lycaon Pictus’ by Liam Brickhill – Zimbabwe
  • ‘The Mother’ by Jacob M’hango – Zambia
  • ‘Objects in the Mirror Are Stranger Than They Appear’ by Kevin Mogotsi – Botswana
  • ‘Shelter’ by Mbozi Haimbe – Zambia
  • ‘The Sound of Betrayal’ by Idza Luhumyo – Botswana
  • ‘Static’ by Alithnayn Abdulkareem – Nigeria
  • ‘Waiting to Die’ by Yefon Isabelle – Cameroon
  • ‘When the Levees Break’ by Edwin Okolo – Nigeria

The shortlist and winners will be announced in 2021. Brittle Paper congratulates the writers!