The Mabati-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature will now be known as the Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature. The name change reflects the new parent organization of one of its sponsors. Mabati Rolling Mills of Kenya is now a subsidiary of the East-Africa based steel roofing conglomerate The Safal Group.

Despite the change in name, the objective of the prize remains the same. Founded in 2014, the award “has the express goal of recognizing writing in African languages and encouraging translation from, between and into African languages.”

The $15,000 cash award is split among four different winners. First place in fiction/non-fiction and poetry will receive $5000, respectively. Two runner-ups, in any genre, will receive $2,500 each. From 2022 forward, the prize will only consider previously unpublished works.

The winners will be announced at an award ceremony to be held in East Africa. The winning entries will be considered for publication in Kiswahili by Tanzania’s Mkuki na Nyota Publishers, who will then work with other regional publishers and book distributors to ensure maximum reach for the winning books. The winning poetry collection will be translated to English and published by the Africa Poetry Book Fund.

Deadline: June 30

Submission Guidelines:

  • Only one entry per writer per category may be submitted each year. Previous winners are not eligible for 2 years.
  • Manuscripts should not be less than 50,000 words for fiction and 60 pages for poetry
  • All entries must be in Kiswahili
  • Entries should be attached in Microsoft Word or Rich Text format, with the title of the story as the file name
  • The first page of the story should include the name of the story and the number of words
  • The entry must be typed in Times New Roman 12-point font with 1.5 line spacing
  • Send submissions as attachments
  • The email included with the submission attachment should include the following information: Legal Name, Pen Name, Telephone Number, Short Bio, Age, and Country of Residence
  • The subject line must include the words Kiswahili Prize 2022.

Submissions should be forwarded to [email protected]

The Prize is supported by Mabati Rolling Mills of Kenya (a subsidiary of the Safal Group), The Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs at Cornell University, the Africana Studies Center at Cornell University, the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies at Cornell University and the Ngugi wa Thiong’o Foundation.

For more details, go here.