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2021 Kiswahili prize for Africa literature shortlisted

The Mabati-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for Africa Literature has announced the 2021 shortlisted manuscripts.

Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Mabati-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for Africa Literature, Abdilatif Abdalla, while announcing the nominees, said its judges undertook a rigorous exercise to select the best shortlists across different entry categories.

He expressed satisfaction in the high caliber of submissions that value and promote African literature.

Speaking during the announcement at a Nairobi hotel, Abdilatif Abdalla said the quality of work submitted and breaking of geographical barriers to take literature work beyond African borders is a strong statement that African literature continues to grow dramatically in quantity and in recognition.

The 2021 prize judging process is being undertaken by Prof. Aldin K. Mutembei, Dr. Salma Omar and Dr. Joseph Nyehita Maitaria.

The shortlisted works and authors are Fiction: Kirusi Kipya – Halfani Sudy (Tanzania), Bweni la Wasichana- Lucas Lubango (Tanzania) and Kido Kanzu ya Ukubwa -Hafidh Athumani (Tanzania); Poetry: Chemchemi jangwani- Moh’d Omar Juma (Tanzania), Malenga wa Masasi- Msusa Mohamedi Msusa (Tanzania) and Sinaye Baba- Mfaume Hamisi Mfaume (Tanzania); Play: Sinaubi- Mbwana Kidato- Anaishi Afrika Kusini (Tanzania).

The overall winners will be announced at the awards ceremony slated for 27th January 2022 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The prize will be awarded to the best unpublished manuscript or book published within two years of the award year across the categories of fiction, poetry and memoir, and graphic novels.

The total proposed awards of 15,000 US dollars will be divided as 1st Fiction/Non-fiction prize- $5,000 ,1st Poetry prize- $5,000 and Runner-up Prize any genre- $2,500.

In addition to the prize, winning entries will also be considered for publication by East African Education Publishers in Kenya and Kiswahili by Mkuki na Nyota Publishers in Tanzania while the winning poetry will be translated to English and Published by the Africa Poetry Book Fund.

The Prize is supported by Mabati Rolling Mills of Kenya, ALAF Tanzania, The Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs at Cornell University, the Africana Studies Centre at Cornell University and the Ngugi wa Thiong’o Foundation.

The shortlist for the one-off 2021 special prize for youth writing science fiction and speculative fiction in Kiswahili, the Nyabola Prize, targeting writers aged between 18 and 35, was announced on November 17, 2021.

By Hamdi Mohamud

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