Diane Awerbuck

Diane Awerbuck

The Short Story Day Africa prize has been announced. Short Story Day Africa for the uninformed brings together writers, readers, booksellers, publishers, teachers and school children from all over the globe to write, submit, read, workshop and discuss stories – and foster the love of reading and writing African fiction. They also run a prize where writers can show their mad writing skills.

This year’s competition encouraged wild imagination and new frontiers with the theme ‘Terra Incognita’. Writers were urged to delve into the genres of speculative fiction: horror, fantasy, dystopian, sci-fi, alternative history and magical realism. The prize this year has been sponsored by; Books Live; All About Writing; Paige Nick; Louis Greenberg; The Caine Prize for African Writing; and Modjaji Books.

The judges Jared Shurin, Richard de Nooy and Samuel Kolawole decreed that the following were the winners:

1st Place – “Leatherman” by Diane Awerbuck (South Africa)

2nd Place ­– “Ape Shit” by Sylvia Schlettwein (Namibia)

3rd Place ­– “In the Water” by Kerstin Hall (South Africa)

Honourable Mention – “The Corpse” by Sese Yane (Kenya)

Kolawole, who was the chair of the judging panel, stated that, “The winning entry is among the most engaging pieces of short fiction I have read this year. A tale of longing and dark adventure, “Leatherman” draws the reader into its rhythm and mystery through scalpel sharp details and sly wit. A deserving winner.”

It’s clearly been a great one for Diane Awerbuck who was shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African writing earlier in the year. Her story Phosphorescence was also in the list of the top twenty stories written by South Africans in twenty years of that country’s independence.

This Short Story Day Prize is fast becoming a very important prize as last year’s winner Okwiri Oduor went home with the Caine Prize for African writing. Number three on the day Efemia Chela with Chicken was also shortlisted for the Caine Prize.