Cameroonian writer Howard Meh-Buh Maximus wins the 2022 Afritondo Short Story Prize for his short story “Grotto,” described as “a tender story about friendship and the ephemeral nature of young love.”

Maximus was announced winner at a virtual awards ceremony held on March 30. He emerged winner from a stacked finalist cohort that included Mauritian writer Sabah Carrim, South African writer  Lynsey Chutel, and Nigerian writers Raheem Omeiza and Somtochukwu Ihezue.

Just in its third year, the Afritondo Prize has already gained clout as one of the continent’s most prestigious honors spotlighting new/emerging voices. It awards a cash prize of $1,000 to an unpublished work of fiction (between 3,000 and 5,000 words) by an African/Black writer. Four finalists receive $100 each.

Each year, submissions are centered on a theme. The 2022 edition was themed “Spirituality.” The judging panel was chaired by the Nigerian author Pemi Aguda and included the South African novelist Masande Ntshanga and Zambian novelist Natasha Omokhodion-Banda.

Howard Meh-Buh Maximus grew up in Southwest Cameroon. His writing has appeared in The Africa Report and Catapult Magazine. He is the recipient of many literary honors including a Morland Foundation Scholarship, a Kalahiri Short Story Prize, and a finalist for the Alpine Fellowship.

Regarding his win, Howard told Brittle Paper:

“I have always wanted to apply to Afritondo but had never gotten around to it. The organizers of the prize are doing great work in the literary scene in Africa, and I am honored to be a winner of this prize.”

Previous winners of the prize include South Africa’s Jared Thompson for “A Good Help is Hard to Find (2020),” and Ethiopia’s Desta Haile for her story “Ethio-Cubano (2021).”

The 2022 winning story, along with those longlisted, will be published in a print anthology.

Congratulations to Howard!