The Mabati Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature Shortlist 2017 was announced by the board chair, Abdilatif Abdalla on December 4, 2017.
The Mabati Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature was founded in 2014 by Dr. Lizzy Attree (Caine Prize Director) and Dr Mukoma Wa Ngugi (Cornell University) to recognise writing in African languages and encouraging translation from, between and into African languages. The project is supported by Mabati Rolling Mills, Cornell University, East African Educational Publishers, Mkuki na Nyota Publishers, and The Africa Poetry Fund.
The 15,000 dollar prize is awarded to the best unpublished manuscripts, or books published within two years of the award year, across the categories of fiction, poetry and memoir, and graphic novels. The winning entries are published in Kiswahili by East African Educational Publishers (EAEP) and Mkuki na Nyota Publishers. And the best poetry book published in English translation by the Africa Poetry Book Fund. In 2016, the winners of the prize were Idrissa Haji Abdalla and Hussein Wamaywa for prose and Ahmed Hussein Ahmed for poetry.
The shortlisted works and authors for this year’s prize are:
- Patrick Emanuel – Hali Halisi (poetry)
- Ally Hilal – Mmeza Fupa (fiction)
- Hassan Omar Mambosasa – Nsungi (fiction)
- Mwalimu Mbatiah – Kibweta cha Almasi (fiction)
- Richard Atuti Nyabuya – Umalenga wa Nyanda za Juu (poetry)
- Dotto Rangimoto – Mwanangu Rudi Nyumbani (poetry)
The judges of the prize selecting the winning manuscript this year are Ali Attas, Daulat Abdalla Said, and Ken Walibora.
Ali Attas is the author of literary and scholarly books used throughout the East African educational system that includes critical work, dictionaries, and plays. He is a former Kiswahili editor at Oxford University Press, Nairobi, and a former producer for BBC Swahili. He currently teaches Kiswahili and English at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan.
Daulat Abdalla Said is Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Kiswahili at The State University of Zanzibar. She has a Master of Arts in Kiswahili and a Bachelor of Arts in Education.
Ken Walibora obtained his PhD in Comparative Cultural Studies at The Ohio State University, in the United States. He is a prolific Kiswahili fiction writer and poet with a literary oeuvre exceeding fifty titles and has won several awards.
The award ceremony will be held in Nairobi, in January of 2018.