FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
6th December 2017 - Short Story Day Africa's theme for 2017 is "ID". This year, we sought innovative short fiction exploring identity, especially (but not limited to) the themes of gender identity and sexuality.
As always, the first round of reading was blind. However, due to the nature of the theme we felt it necessary to select readers who would read with both sensitivity and an open mind. The readers we chose are experienced editors and gender activists, who read alongside the SSDA team and board. The list this year features stories from all over the continent and diaspora. The writers approached the theme in a variety of ingenious ways. 'All Our Lives' follows nine young men trying to make it in Lagos; 'Limbo' takes a woman who works as a scarecrow on a journey of sexual discovery; a young Muslim woman questions the patriarchy and her own sexuality in 'Fever’; while 'The Piano Player' is an interesting reversal of the African going to America trope. Other stories on the longlist tackle notions of love, sexuality, the phenomenon of menstruation, otherness, and mental illness.
The shortlist - 1st, 2nd and 3rd place - will be announced early next year.
The resulting anthology from the longlisted entries, ID: New Short Fiction from Africa, will be edited by Helen Moffett, who will select her editing fellows as part of the SSDA/Worldreader Editing Mentorship, now in its second year. The collection is due for release in July 2018.
All of SSDA’s previous anthologies have received critical acclaim, with two stories from Feast, Famine & Potluck shortlisted for The Caine Prize for African Writing – with one, ‘My Father's Head’ by Okwiri Oduor, going on to win the prize. Terra Incognita and Water likewise received wide praise, including reviews from the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Sunday Times and the Financial Mail. Some of our previous collections are available to purchase here.
Updated 23 December 2017: Two stories on the original longlist had to be disqualified due to the simultaneous submissions rule. More details here. This list has now been updated to include the two new contenders for the prize.
The 2017 Short Story Day Africa Prize Longlist
1. 'Limbo' by Innocent Ilo - Nigeria
2. ‘All Our Lives’ by Okafor Tochukwu - Nigeria
3. ‘The Memory Games' by Mpho Phalwane - South Africa
4. ‘God Skin’ by Michael Yee - South Africa
5. 'Who We Were Then, Who We Are Now' by Nadu Ologoudou - Benin
6. 'Plums' by Kharys Laue - South Africa
7. 'Waiting' by Harriet Anena - Uganda
8. 'The Piano Player' by Agazit Abate - Ethiopia
9. 'A Brief Eruption Of Madness' by Eric Essono Tsimi - Cameroon
10. 'When the War Came Home' by Heran Abate - Ethiopia
11. 'Ibinabo' by Michael Agugom - Nigeria
12. 'Fever' by Alithnayn Abdulkareem - Nigeria
13. 'Unblooming' by Alexis Teyie - Kenya
14. 'Transubstantiation' by Genna Gardini - South Africa
15. 'Taba' by Adelola Ojutiku - Nigeria
16. 'The Things They Said' by Susan Newham-Blake - South Africa
17. 'The Geography of Sunflowers' by Michelle Angwenyi - Kenya
18. 'The House on the Corner' by Lester Walbrugh - South Africa
19. 'Blue in Green' by Chourouq Nasri -Morocco
20. 'Sew Your Mouth' by Cherrie Kandie - Kenya
21. 'South of Samora' by Farai Mudzingwa - Zimbabwe