The Mozambique based Festival Fim do Caminho Literary Prize 2106 got entries in the dozens this year. The theme of the competition this year was Crime in Mozambique.
Festival Fim do Caminho (this is Portuguese, in English it the The Mossuril Film Festival) is an annual film festival held in Mossuril, Mozambique Island and Nampula, headquartered in Mossuril. The festival, which is in its third year and runs from August 19-22, has this time round opted to include literature as one of its core offerings. This is why it made perfect sense that they should inaugurate this new writing competition.
The competition’s organisers say they have been inundated with submissions. “We had no idea there were so many crime writers in Mozambique,” says British novelist Lisa St Aubin de Teran, founder of the Mozambique-based NGO Teran Foundation, the charity behind the competition.
Participants ranged from award-winning writers to unpublished authors. The average age of each participant was 26, with new male and female voices as young as 18 submitting their stories.
Their short stories feature tales of gangs in the capital Maputo to echoes of bandits, con artists and corrupt officials. The anthology of shortlisted finalists – planned for publication in early 2017 in Portuguese and English – will bring dozens of unknown lusophone African writers to world readers.
The inaugural theme, Crime in Mozambique, was in homage to the Swedish creator of the Wallander novels, Henning Mankell, who lived in Mozambique for more than 10 years and was a director at Maputo’s Teatro Avenida. Mankell passed away in October 2015.
“Crime fiction is among the top three most popular genres in the world. If we have Nordic Noir and Los Angeles Noir, why not African Noir, or Nairobi or Accra Noir? This massive and magnificent continent of Africa teems with a rich panoply of cultures, all of which can act as intense and absorbing backdrops for stories,” Kwei Quartey, the Ghanaian author of the Inspector Darko Dawson novels, told Festival Fim do Caminho.
The competition is funded and supported by the Miles Morland Foundation.