Kenyan Shortlisted For Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize For African Literature

A Kenyan is among five other East African authors shortlisted for the 2022 Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize For African Literature competition.

The Prize is supported by Safal Group, through its member companies Mabati Rolling Mills in Kenya and ALAF in Tanzania, the Africana Studies Center at Cornell University, and the Ngugi wa Thiong’o Foundation.

The Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature was founded in 2014 by Dr Lizzy Attree and Dr Mukoma Wa Ngugi to recognize writing in African languages and encourage translation from, between, and into African languages.

Isaac Ndolo becomes the first Kenyan listed in the competition since 2020. He was listed in the fiction category.

“Many of the manuscripts that competed for the Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature in 2022 were so good that it made the judges’ work very difficult to decide which works should be awarded as first-place winners,” said The chairman of this year’s judges panel, Professor F.E.M.K. Senkoro.

“In fact, almost all the manuscripts reviewed by the judges deserved victory in one way or another, but since there must be a winner in this kind of competition, the judges unanimously decided on the names of the shortlisted and from which the winners will be announced.”

Among those listed for the prestigious prize include:

Dunia na Watu Wake – Ahmad Simba Mwaita (Tanzania), 

Wimbo wa Hatima – Isaac Ndolo (Kenya) 

Ujanajike- Dotto Daudi Rangimoto (Tanzania) in the Fiction Category

MzogaUnaonukia – Lenard Mtesigwa (Tanzania) 

Mamangu Nipe Wosia – Salum Makamba (Tanzania) 

Uswahilini- Ally Bakari Mchanyato (Tanzania) for the Poetry Category.

The prize will be awarded to the best-unpublished manuscripts in the categories of Fiction, Poetry, Memoir, and Graphic Novels.

The total proposed awards of USD 15,000 (Kshs 1,861,500) will be divided as follows:

1st Fiction/Non-Fiction Prize – USD 5,000;

1st Poetry Prize – USD 5,000; and Runner-up Prize (any genre) – USD 2,500.

In addition to the prizes, winning entries will also be considered for publication by Mkukina Nyota Publishers in Tanzania, while the winning poetry will be translated into English and published by the Africa Poetry Book Fund.

The winners will be announced on January 25,  in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

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