Inaugural Brittle Paper Literary Awards nominees unveiled

Brittlepaper Literary Awards 2017

Leading literary blog has unveiled its inaugural Brittle Paper Literary Awards. is one of the most influential spaces in the African literature scene. Started in August 1, 2010, the blog gives a snapshot of the scene with interviews, essays, fiction and poetry from some of the best writing established and upcoming on the African continent and its diaspora.

The blog has unveiled its first award to reward writers and poets who have been producing work with its Brittle Paper Literary Awards worth up to US$1,100 in cold hard cash to its winners. The awards come in five categories: Fiction, Poetry, Nonfiction, Essays/Think Pieces, and the Anniversary Award for works published on their blog. The winners in the fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction and essays/think pieces categories will receive $200 each, while the winner of our Anniversary Award will receive $300. The full list of nominees and their pieces are;


  • A Door Ajar, Sibongile Fisher, Short Story Day Africa: Migrations (South Africa)
  • A Short History of Zaka the Zulu, Petina Gappah, The New Yorker (Zimbabwe)
  • God’s Children Are Little Broken Things, Arinze Ifeakandu, A Public Space (Nigeria)
  • Ships in High Transit, Binyavanga Wainaina, Expound (Kenya)
  • Triptych: Texas Pool Party, Namwali Serpell, Triple Canopy (Zambia)
  • Farang, Megan Ross, Short Story Day Africa: Migrations (South Africa)
  • Squad, Linda Musita, Enkare Review (Kenya)
  • Tea, TJ Benson, Short Story Day Africa: Migrations (Nigeria)
  • The Upright Revolution: Or Why Humans Walk Upright, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Jalada (Kenya).
  • Beautiful, Helon Habila, Adda (Nigeria)


  • Pythagoras Theorem, Nick Makoha, Adda (Uganda)
  • application for asylum, Safia Elhillo, Frontier Poetry (Sudan)
  • Credo to Leave, JK Anowe, Expound (Nigeria)
  • Your Body Is War, Mahtem Shiferraw, Hermeneutic Chaos Journal (Ethiopia / Eritrea)
  • A Series of Solitudes, Fiston Mwanza Mujila, Enkare Review (DR Congo)
  • How to Paint a Girl, Gbenga Adesina, The New York Times Magazine (Nigeria)
  • Water, Koleka Putuma, PEN South Africa (South Africa)
  • I Ask My Brother Jonathan to Write about Oakland, and He Describes His Room, Yalie Kamara, African Poetry Prize (Sierra Leone / USA)
  • Metamorphosis, Romeo Oriogun, Brittle Paper (Nigeria)
  • The Colour of James Brown’s Scream, Kayo Chingonyi, African Poetry Prize (Zambia)


  • Africa’s Future Has No Space for Stupid Black Men, Pwaanguloongi Dauod, Granta (Nigeria)
  • Working the City, Bernard Matambo, Transition (Zimbabwe)
  • How It Ends, Troy Onyango, The Magunga (Kenya)
  • Out of Europe—Traveling with the Caine Prize in Germany, Rotimi Babatunde, Caine Prize Blog (Nigeria)
  • Fugee, Hawa Jande Golakai, Safe House/Granta (Liberia)
  • Naijographia, Bethuel Muthee, Enkare Review (Kenya)
  • Uniben Boy in Berlin, Oris Aigbokhaevbolo, Brittle Paper (Nigeria)
  • Since Everything Was Suddening into a Hurricane, Binyavanga Wainaina, Granta (Kenya)


  • Penpoints, Gunpoints, and Dreams: A History of Creative Writing Instruction in East Africa, Billy Kahora, Chimurenga (Kenya).
  • In the Shadow of Context, Kola Tubosun, Enkare Review (Nigeria)
  • Poverty Porn: A New Prison for African Writers, Richard Oduor Oduku, (Kenya):
  • An Architect of Dreams: On Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s Devil on the Cross, Tope Folarin, Los Angeles Review of Books (Nigeria):
  • When We Talk about Kintu, Ellah Allfrey, Brittle Paper (Zimbabwe / UK)
  • Writes of Passage, an Urban Memoir: How a Pan-African Journal and American Glossies Put Bongani Madondo on the Write Path, Bongani Madondo, The Johannesburg Review of Books(South Africa)
  • The Labours of the Months: Of Work and Its Refuseniks, Rotimi Babatunde, Praxis (Nigeria)
  • All Your Faves Are Problematic: A Brief History of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Stanning, and #BlackGirlMagic, Sisonke Msimang, Africa Is a Country (South Africa)


For a work published on Brittle Paper that embodies their vision of the dynamism of literature.

  • Love Is Not Apolitical, Andile Ndlovu, fiction (South Africa)
  • Because Your Body Took the Wrong Way Home, Wale Owoade, poetry (Nigeria)
  • Schoolyard Cannibal, Nana Nkweti, prose-poetry (Cameroon)
  • We’re Queer, We’re Here, Chibuihe Obi, essay (Nigeria)
  • The Weight of Silence, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, fiction (Nigeria)
  • Gay Wars: The Battle of the Bitches (or The Tops and Bottoms of Being Out in Nigeria), Rapum Kambili, essay (Nigeria):
  • You Sing of a Leaving, JK Anowe, poetry “Not Guilty,” Abifatah Shafat, fiction (Somalia)
  • Nwangene, Nzube Ifechukwu, creative nonfiction (Nigeria)
  • Kampala Love Spell (A Westerner’s Preparation), A. Awosanya, poetry (Uganda/ Nigeria/ USA)
  • How to Buy a Soul, Michael E. Umoh, fiction (Nigeria)
  • The Fear of Tomorrow, Yejide Kilanko, fiction (Nigeria)

The winners will be announced on 23 September, 2017. To get the list of the stories and their citations please click here.

By James Murua

This blog is run by James Murua a Nairobi, Kenya based lover of books.

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