Congrats to the six poets and fiction writers who have been shortlisted for the 2022 Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature. Prizes are awarded to unpublished manuscripts written in Kiswahili and comes with a cash prize and publishing opportunity.

Of the six shortlisted writers, five are Tanzanian, and one is Kenyan. The Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize was established in 2014 to make space for writers creating work in Kiswahili. Co-founders Dr. Lizzy Attree and Dr. Mukoma Wa Ngugi see the prize as filling a gap in an African literary culture that is centered on European languages.

The fiction prize comes with a cash award of 5,000 USD. The cash award for the winning poetry manuscript is 2,500 USD. The winning fiction manuscript will be published by celebrated Tanzanian press Mkuki na Nyota, whereas poetry will be published by the Africa Poetry Book Fund.

Fiction Shortlist

Dunia na Watu Wake by Ahmad Simba Mwaita (Tanzania)

Wimbo wa Hatima by Isaac Ndolo (Kenya)

Ujanajike by Dotto Daudi Rangimoto (Tanzania)

Poetry Shortlist

Mzoga Unaonukia by Lenard Mtesigwa (Tanzania)

Mamangu Nipe Wosia by Salum Makamba (Tanzania)

Uswahilini by Ally Bakari Mchanyato (Tanzania)

The judging panel, chaired by Prof F.E.M.K. Senkoro, includes Dr. Magdaline Nakhumicha Wafula of Moi University, and Dr. Hamisi Babusa of Kenyatta University, Kenya. Prof. Senkoro said that submissions came from all over East Africa and were impressive in terms of quality.

Support for the prize comes from Safal Group, through its subsidiaries Mabati Rolling Mills of Kenya, and ALAF Tanzania, the Africana Studies Center at Cornell University, and the Ngugi wa Thiong’o Foundation.

Congrats to all the shortlisted writers! The winners will be announced on January 25.