Simbarashe Steyn Kundizeza, Mali Kambandu, and Ruby Excel.

The shortlist for the 2024 Island Prize is out! Representing Zimbabwe, Ghana, and Zambia respectively, the shortlist includes the writers Simbarashe Steyn Kundizeza, Ruby Excel, and Mali Kambandu.

Set up in honor of South African author Karen Jennings’ Booker-longlisted novel An Island, the Island Prize is administered by Jennings in partnership with her publishers Holland House Books (UK) and Karavan Press (South Africa). In addition to a cash award of £500, £300, and £200 for first, second and third place respectively, the top three manuscripts will be considered for publication, and their authors introduced to an agent.

Check out the shortlist below:

Freelance by Simbarashe Steyn Kundizeza (Zimbabwe)

Lyrics to the Colour Red by Ruby Excel (Ghana)

When The Shadows Call by Mali Kambandu (Zambia)

This year’s judges include Karen Jennings, Sudanese writer Reem Gaafar, and Wasafiri Magazine‘s editor and publishing director Sana Goyal. According to Jennings, this year’s competition was especially tough:

Over 140 unpublished novels were entered, from all parts of the African continent, comprising a wide range of subjects, genres, and styles; the sheer diversity in all aspects has been exciting and heartening to see. A longlist of 9 novels was selected, and now we have our final three: two women and one man, from Ghana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe – a political thriller, an examination of politics and love, and a story of murder and finding a place in a changing society. The authors all share an inspiring commitment to their craft, their countries, and the continent.

Congrats to the shortlisted writers! The winner will be announced soon. Stay tuned!