Bengono Essola Edouard. Photo/Nchanji Melvin

Bengono Essola Edouard. Photo/Nchanji Melvin

Bengono Essola Edouard is the winner of the Bakwa Short Story Competition 2017.

Bakwa magazine, the leading online literary and cultural magazine in English in Cameroon, which has been at the forefront of cross-cultural exchange, intends to celebrate emerging writers from Cameroon by giving them the opportunity to submit stories which, inasmuch as embrace realism, also highlight fantasy, science fiction, magic realism, romance, epic, political allegory and satire.

The Bakwa Short Story Competition is a one-off short story competition for Cameroonians residing in Cameroon or elsewhere in the world, who are 39 years and below. Entries could be in either English or French between 3000 – 5000 words. The winner would receive FCFA 100,000, while the runner-up will receive FCFA 50,000. The best stories submitted for the competition will subsequently be published in an anthology in 2017.

In December, the Bakwa Short Story Competition shortlisted had Bad Lake by Nkiacha Atemnkeng, Brrrrrrrrr by A. Bouna Guazong, De passion et d’encre by Bengono Essola Edouard and Scrap Hunters by Dipita Kwa. They were shortlisted by Jean-Claude Awono, Donna Forbin and Babila Mutia, Edwige-Renée Dro, writer and translator, and Dr. Madhu Krishnan, lecturer at Bristol University.

The Goethe Institut in Yaounde, Cameroon hosted the award ceremony for the winners of the prize February 25, 2017. The ceremony also counted as the beginning of a Quarterly & Mobile Reading Series courtesy of Bakwa Magazine.

As there was an equal number of stories written in English and French, for the shortlisted stories, Dr. Madhu Krishnan and Edwige-Renée Dro decided to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the stories in each languages in order to choose the strongest story in each category.

With the winner known, he went to the front of the podium and collected his prize from Uwe Jung. He would be followed by the runner up Nkiacha Atemnkeng.

With the prize ceremony part of the evening done and dusted, those who were gathered could begin the discussions which were fruitful.