After several weeks of intense reading, we’ve come up with a longlist.  Before you scan the list, take a moment to acknowledge our team of readers that generously volunteered their spare time to whittle down the sixty odd entries. I’d like to extend a special thanks to Henrietta Rose-Innes, Alé Steyn (Kwela Books), Lindsay van Rensburg (Kwela Books), Diane Awerbuck, Karina Magdalena Szczurek, Casey Dolan, Aoife Lennon-Ritchie (Lennon Literary Agency), Sheryl Kavin, Na-eemah Masoet (Modjaji Books) and Tiah Beautement.

The process of reading was an interesting one. First, we stripped the author’s name from the story and assigned a number. Each story went to two readers, who were asked to score it out of ten according to six criteria, such as whether it met the theme in some way, even if it was abstract. More importantly, we asked readers to go with their gut feeling. What was interesting is that the highest scoring stories were rated identically in almost every case. Great writing seemingly leaps out and punches you in the gut. It leaves you breathless. Like love at first sight, you don’t know what it is until you feel but when you feel it, you know.

We present nineteen stories that will make up the first Short Story Day Africa anthology. Congratulations to the authors. The longlist will now go through to our crack team of judges, and our ruthless and brilliant editor, Karen Jennings. Get ready for rewrites.

My Father’s Head by Okwiri Oduor

On Time by Achiro Patricia Olwoch

The Dibbuk by Manu Herbstein

Burning Woman by Michelle Preen

Choke by Jayne Bauling

The Broken Pot by Dilman Dila

From Gojjam to Nowhere by Ramonez Ramirez

Black Coffee without Sugar By Lauri Kubuitsile

Chicken by Efemia Chela

A Serving of Honey by Bryen Walter Kangwagye

Bloodline by Tarryn-Anne Anderson

Mogadishu Maybe by Njoku Chukwuemeka

Feast, Famine & Potluck by Katherine Graham

The House of the Apostate by Abdul-Malik Sibabalwe Oscar Masinyana

Looking by Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva

Ponta Do Ouro by Nick Mulgrew

44 Boston Heights, Yeoville by Catherine Jarvis

Fizz Pops by Hamilton Wende

Where is the tenderness? by Greg Lazarus


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