FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
24 May 2019 Short Story Day Africa is extremely proud to have first discovered and published two of the five stories shortlisted for the 2019 Caine Prize for African Writing – for the second time since the project's inception. “All Our Lives”, by Tochukwu Emmanuel Okafor (Nigeria), won the 2018 Short Story Day Africa Prize, while “Sew My Mouth” by Cherrie Kandie (Kenya) was one of the shortlisted stories. The Short Story Day Africa judges described Okafor’s “All Our Lives” as wry, cleared-eyed, humorous and compassionate; and Kandie's "Sew My Mouth as providing a powerful and painful account of the silencing (literally) of lesbian love in urban Nairobi. In 2014, both Okwiri Oduor's "My Father's Head" and Efemia Chela's "Chicken" were shortlisted for the Caine Prize, with Oduor going on to win the prize. 2018 saw Stacey Hardy's "Involution" shortlisted.
Both the shortlisted stories are published in our 2018 anthology, ID: New Short Fiction from Africa, a powerful collection that showcases the multiple ways in which African writers see themselves and their communities, and the depth, variety and innovation of their interpretations. From Benin to Ethiopia, from Morocco to South Africa, the stories here reveal uncomfortable and fascinating truths about who we are. In a world of rising nationalism and factionalism, of increasingly crude and reductive notions of identity, these stories insist on the complexity, intimacy and interconnectedness of African identities. ID: New Short Fiction from Africa is published in partnership with New Internationalist.
Short Story Day Africa, which operates according to the mantra “Subvert, Reimagine, Reclaim!”, is a project that runs on a shoestring budget, the ingenuity of the team, and a lot of (volunteer) love. The team enables writing that wouldn’t ordinarily be considered for publication the opportunity to be recognised by offering rigorous editing and mentoring processes that identify raw talent and hone it. They also pioneer the short story in Africa as a legitimate and vivid form of literary expression.
SSDA has discovered new and talented authors, whose daring and beautiful writing has yielded critical acclaim. Longlisted writers have gone on to win or be short- or longlisted for the Short Sharp Stories Prize, the Commonwealth Writers Prize, the Caine Prize for African Writing, and more. We hope to continue to do the same. We are thrilled for Toch and Cherrie, two deserving, gifted and hard-working writers, and want them to know we already consider them winners.
ID: New Short Fiction from Africa is available worldwide. All proceeds from sales go towards funding the project.