The longlist for the 2023 Kendeka Prize for African Literature is out. The list includes 6 writers from Kenya, 3 from Nigeria, and one each from Botswana, Cameroon, South Africa, and Malawi.
The Kendeka Prize is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short story either fiction or creative non-fiction. The prize was initiated by Kenyan writer Andrew Maina and its aim is to encourage Africans to write and read more. The Prize is run by an advisory board chaired by Prof Kamau Goro and includes Dr. Tom Odhiambo, Muthoni wa Gichuru, Patrick Gatobu, William Mureithi, Lucas Wafula, and Andrew Maina.
The overall winner of the 2022 Prize was Scholastica Moraa (Kenya) for her short story titled “Chained”. The 2021 prize winner was Jenny Robson (Botswana) for her story “Water For Wine”.
The 13 stories in this year’s longlist were chosen by a rigorous selection process. The panel of three judges includes the chair Natasha Omokhodion-Kalulu Banda from Zimbabwe along with Richard Ali from Nigeria and Pasomi Mucha from Kenya.
Selected from 25 African nations, the 13 longlisted stories are:
1. We Came for Mangoes by Hussani Abdulrahim (Nigeria)
2. What Ails this Country by Tom Sewe (Kenya)
3. Matlhalerwa by Keabetswe Molotsi (Botswana)
4. The Lance Corporal’s Door by Shedrack Opeyemi Akanbi (Nigeria)
5. The Collector of Tears by Evalyne Muliwa (Kenya)
6. The Straw Traveler by Mathew Kipsang (Kenya)
7. Waiting on Sirius by Dismas Komollo Okombo (Kenya)
8. Muzukulu by Muruli Muhande (Kenya)
9. The Old Batman T-Shirt by Victor Williams Lawson (Nigeria)
10. Stolen Years by Yanjanani l. Banda (Malawi)
11. African Man Living Under a Rock by Brian Guserwa (Kenya)
12. At the End of the Day by Justice Jostino Ripinga (South Africa)
13. Neutralised by Joseph Akwa Takor (Cameroon)
A shortlist of six stories shall be announced on September 26, while the top three winners shall be announced during the award ceremony to be held on October 7 at Fourteen Falls Leisure Lodge, Thika, Kenya. The first prize is Kshs 100,000, while the second and the third prizes are Kshs 50,000 and 25,000 respectively.
Congrats to the longlisted writers and good luck!