Cassava Republic just launched a $30,000 Black Women’s Non-Fiction Manuscript Prize. Open to emerging and established Black women (cis, trans and genderqueer) writers globally, the prize will run till March 31.

Cassava Republic Press was founded in Abuja, Nigeria in 2006 with the aim of bringing high quality fiction and non-fiction for adults and children to a global audience. Cassava Republic’s mission with this prize is to reward and publish emerging and established Black women writers from across Africa and the Afro-diaspora.

The winner of the manuscript prize will secure a publishing contract with Cassava Republic Press and receive a $20,000 advance. The two runners-up will each receive a $5,000 advance and a publishing deal as well.

Funded by Alitheia Capital and Open Society Foundation Africa, the prize is part of Cassava Republic’s commitment to building on the long tradition of Black women writers as knowledge-makers and critical thinkers writing for broad audiences. While non-fiction books contribute significantly to the literary landscape, the space remains predominantly white and male-dominated, with non-fiction from marginalized voices usually relegated to memoir and autofiction.

This prize seeks to reimagine which forms of knowledge are considered “authoritative” by championing writing that collapses the boundary between “creativity” and “scholarship”. Through the prize, Cassava seeks to amplify and unearth the critical ideas that might otherwise remain unpublished or confined to academic circles or niche audiences.

Cassava’s Publishing Director, Bibi Bakare-Yusuf, remarked that this prize is central to Cassava Republic’s vision of being a global Black publishing institution connecting Africa and its diasporas:

We take immense pride in launching the Black Women’s Non-Fiction Manuscript Prize as we take steps to addressing a long-overlooked gap in the literary world. The prize builds on the long tradition of Black women writers as theorists and intellectual, and provide a platform for a range of writers from Africa and the Afro-diaspora to follow in the footsteps of luminaries such as Anna Julia Cooper, Amy Jacques Garvey, Claudia Jones, Noni Jabavu, Audre Lorde, May Ayim, Ellen Khuzwayos, bell hooks and Toni Morrison who have come before. This prize is part of Cassava Republic’s vision becoming a global Black publishing house, publishing books by Afro-descendent writers from across the world.

Submission Guidelines:

  • The prize is open to Black women writers aged 18 and over living anywhere in the world.
  • Submit 5 sample chapters and a pitch letter, which should include a synopsis and a full outline of all chapters.
  • Longlisted authors will then be asked to submit full manuscripts.

Submit here.

Deadline: March 31, 2024

Good luck to all applicants!