Desta Haile was announced the winner of the Afritondo Short Story Prize 2021 at a virtual ceremony on Friday, March 2, 2021.
Afritondo, a new platform that aims to connect with and tell the stories of African and black minority populations across the globe, is the founder of the Afritondo Short Story Prize. The first winner of the prize was South African writer Jarred Thompson.
For 2021, the theme for the competition was identity. Making the callout for stories, the award stated, “Recent global events such as the Black Lives Matter protests have again brought issues of race and prejudice to the fore. In this vein, we invite you to submit stories on the theme of “identity”. As always, we want to be surprised and thoroughly entertained, so feel free to play around with the theme. A good story for this prize will offer novel insight into the theme, explore characters in refreshing and imaginative ways, and challenge the art of storytelling.”
The judging panel for the award announced on September 30, 2020, comprised Edwige-Renée Dro, Kiprop Kimutai, and Maneo Mohale. On January 27, they announced the longlist for the competition from the 363 entries from 20 countries; the shortlist was revealed on March 3.
The winner was revealed at a ceremony with the judges, the shortlistees, and bibliophiles in attendance on Zoom this past Friday evening. The judges revealed the winner to be Desta Haile.
“Oh, my goodness thank you so much! Thank you so much,” gushed Haile on her story being announced the winner. “That is such a wonderful surprise. Weeee! Thank you. It’s such an honour really.”
Desta Haile who represents both UK and Eritrea goes home with the US$1,000 prize money.