Jennifer Makumbi
Jennifer Makumbi

The people in the running for the prestigious Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2014 were announced yesterday. The Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2014 shortlist includes ;

  • Ikanre, Adelehin Ijasan (Nigeria)
  • All Them Savages, Michelle Sacks (South Africa)
  • Let’s Tell This Story Properly, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (Uganda)

The East African in the running Jennifer Makumbi is a Ugandan novelist and short story writer who studied Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University. In 2012, her short story The Accidental Seaman was published in Moss Side Stories by Crocus Books. She will be remembered by some as the winner of the winner of the Saga of the Kwani Manuscript Project last year with her novel Kintu.

She lives in Manchester (God I hope she doesn’t support United; wait if she did this season is punishment enough) where she teaches Creative Writing at Lancaster University part-time as an Associate Lecturer. While some of us still haven’t seen Kintu, she is currently working on her second novel, Nnambi.

The Nigerian fellow Adelehin Ijasan isn’t just here so that his countrymen are annoyed that a Pan African prize dares not have one of their nationals. The Lagos born and bred gentleman is a medical doctor and ophthalmology resident. His first published work appeared in The Deepening. Subsequently, his short fiction has featured in magazines and websites including Membra Disjecta, Everyday Fiction (The Best of Everyday Fiction), The Tiny Globule, Takahe and On the Premises – where he came second in the short story competition in 2008.

Then there is Michelle Sacks. She is not the diversity candidate if her pedigree is to be analysed. The South African-born writer holds a Master’s Degree in English from the University of Cape Town, and has been shortlisted twice for the PEN Prize for Southern African Fiction. Her short stories have been published in the 2007 and 2011 editions of the JM Coetzee-judged anthology, African Pens, as well as in New Contrast and Akashic Books.

That’s some serious people in that list so anyone who entered the prize can’t complain about the quality of their work.