The good people at the Commonwealth Short Story Prize have announced those who have made the shortlist for this years award. The five Africans on the list are Alexander Ikawah, Fred Khumalo, Lesley Nneka Arimah, Jayne Bauling and Muthoni wa Gichuru.
The prize which attracted nearly 4000 entries had Leila Aboulela, Fred D’Aguiar, Marina Endicott, Witi Ihimaera, Bina Shah and chair Romesh Gunesekera chosing the shortlist. The lists includes 22 stories from around the Commonwealth and the regional winners will be announced on 28 April. The regions are Africa, Asia, Canada and Europe, the Caribbean and the Pacific.
South African Fred Khumalo already has novels, Bitches’ Brew (2005) and Touch My blood: The Early Years (2006) published. He is no stranger to the award scene as a runner-up for the Nadine Gordimer Short Story Award in 1991 and runner-up for the Bertrams V.O Literature of Africa Award in 1996. His The Oneness of Two in Three manuscript received an honourable mention in the inaugural European Union Literary Awards in 2004 and in 2005 his novel, Bitches’ Brew was joint winner of the same award. His vast experience makes his story Legs of Thunder a front runner in my opinion.
The other South African on the list is South African Jayne Bauling whose novels for young adults have won the Macmillan Writer’s Prize for Africa, the Maskew Miller Longman Literature Award and the Sanlam Gold Prize for Youth Literature. The most recent, Dreaming of Light, was chosen for the 2014 IBBY Honour List. Her short stories for adults and youth have been published in various anthologies. Her story ‘Flight’ was shortlisted for the 2012 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. This years story is Left.
Also not new to this award thing is Kenyan Alexander Ikawah who was nominated for the same story in 2013 although he failed to go home with the big prize. The entry he hopes to give him glory is called April with Oyundi. The other Kenyan on the list Muthoni wa Gichuru won the Jomo Kenyatta Foundation Literature Prize Youth Category in 2011 for her first published novelBreaking the Silence. Her short story ‘Boys and Girls’ will be published in Fresh Paint Volume 2, an anthology by AMKA Space for women writers.
Nigerian Lesley Nneka Arimah currently resides in the US is working on a novel and a collection of short stories and her entry is Light.
Note: Amina Farah has been listed under Canada but she is a Somali writer who calls Toronto home and has roots in Nairobi, Kenya. We shall shamelessly claim her is she wins in her region.