The Kendeka Prize for African Literature has announced the five finalists for its 2022 edition. They are: Adaoro Raji (Nigeria) for “Star Boy,” Beverly Ann Abrahams (Zimbabwe) for “Isithunzi,” Scholastica Moraa (Kenya) for “Chained,” Ola W. Halim (Nigeria) for “Ashes on Platters of Gold,” and Joe Nyirenda (Zambia) for “Until Mushrooms Sprout.”
The prize, which was founded last year by Kenyan writer Andrew Maina, grants annual awards to the best piece of unpublished short story, either fiction or creative non-fiction.
The 2022 judging panel is chaired by Siphiwo Mahala from South Africa and includes the Ghanaian novelist Bisi Adjapon and Kenyan author Faith Oneya.
The finalists were selected from an earlier named longlist of thirteen writers. The ultimate winner will receive a cash award of Kshs 100,000, with the runner-ups receiving Kshs 50,000 and 25,000, respectively.
The winners will be announced at an award ceremony to be held on September 24 at TAS TV studios in Thika from 3-4 PM East African Time. The ceremony will be live on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and on TAS TV.
Congratulations to the finalists. You can read their biographies below.
“Star Boy,” Nigeria
Adaora Raji works as a scriptwriter and content producer for Playroom Media, and earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Benin, Nigeria. Her fiction has appeared in Arlington Literary Journal, Midnight and Indigo Literary Journal, the Coachella Review, the Bookends Review and was on the Anthology list of the 2021 Toyin Falola Afrofuturism Prize.
Beverley Ann Abrahams
Beverley Ann Abrahams is a Zimbabwean teacher of English and Art & Design, a writer and activist against gender-based violence. She has been published in two anthologies of international poets: PS: It’s Poetry (2020) and PS: It’s Still Poetry (2022). She was also published in a regional poetry anthology of SADC female human rights defenders in 2021: Mwala (The Rock).
She was shortlisted for the Intwasa 2021 Short Story Competition, and is published in their second anthology of Zimbabwean short stories. Beverley is a single mother to four amazing children.
Scholastica Moraa is a Kenyan author and poet. She is a graduate from Jaramogi University with a Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science. She is the author of a collection of poems titled Beautiful Mess. One of her short stories ‘“6 days to twenty” was longlisted in the Kendeka Prize for African Literature 2021. When she is not writing, she is deeply immersed in a novel or two. She loves traveling, making friends, learning new languages and overthinking.
Ola W. Halim
“Ashes on Platters of Gold,” Nigeria
Ola W. Halim writes from a small village in Edo State, Nigeria. His work has been shortlisted for the Gerald Kraak Prize 2022, the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2021, and nominated for the Pushcart and Caine Prizes. He is a 2022 Laddership Fellow for Emerging African Authors. Ola is interested in telling stories less frequently told.
“Until Mushrooms Sprout,” Zambia
Joe Nyirenda is a 26-year-old male Zambian living in Lusaka, Zambia. He is an avid reader and passionate writer. His short story, “The Red Scarf,” was shortlisted for publication in a local anthology in 2020, titled Sister Wives and Other Short Stories, by Myaambo Cooperative. In 2021, his other short story, “The Last Supper,” was shortlisted for publication by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in a themed anthology on reimagining its sustainable development goals in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, titled Beans without Korkor? And Other Stories.