Six writers from three African countries have been shortlisted for the 2021 Toyin Falola Prize. The prize awards a single writer between the ages of 15 and 35 a cash prize of up to $2,500 for a short story.

Named after celebrated historian Toyin Falola, the prize is administered by literary magazine Lunaris Review. The 2021 edition was themed “Africanfuturism.”

The shortlist of six was derived from an earlier longlist of eleven writers. It comprises three Nigerians, two South Africans, and one Burundian.

See the shortlist below:

  1. “Superposition” – Justin Clement (Nigeria)
  2. “IphophoLe Vezandlebe” – Tshepiso Mabula (South Africa)
  3. “Sinmot” – Blessing Nwodo (Nigeria)
  4. “Should have Listened to Mother” – Mandisi Nkomo (South Africa)
  5. “Hunger for Crystals” – Ernestine-Vera Kabushemeye (Burundi
  6. “Eavesdroppers” – Mary-Ann Egbudom (Nigeria)

The judges praised the quality of the shortlisted stories, providing specific commentary on each story:

Our judges have praised “Iphopho Le Vezandlebe” for its excellent narrative and intriguing weaving of time that allowed the story to move several bodies and minds effortlessly through loops of time. Justin Clement’s story, “Superposition,” received effusive mentions for its character-development strategies and the way it deftly shifts scenes in the mind of the readers. “Sinmot” by Blessing Nwodo also stood out for the vivid world it builds, a world crafted not only to upend familiar understanding of power dynamics but provoke readers into reconsidering popular understanding of the present. “Should have Listened to Mother” by Mandisi Nkomo packs a lot into making highly remarkable characters around whom the plot pivots, “Hunger for Crystals” by Ernestine-Vera Kabushemeye wields a story whose own materials penetrate the characters, and “Eavesdroppers” develops a main character whose presence fills up the plot without consuming it.

The 2021 judges, which includes the South African author Nerine Dorman and Ghanaian author Akwasi Aidoo, will convene in the coming month to deliberate on a winner, who will be announced soon afterwards. The other five finalists will receive $200. Selected submissions for the award will be edited and compiled in a collection.

Congratulations to the authors!