Update: A previous version of this blog indicated that Redscar McOdindo K’Oyuga won the poetry prize. The prize givers have since withdrawn his award after it emerged that he was a serial plagiarist.
The inaugural Nyanza Literary Festival 2016 winners announced at the Kiboko Bay Resort in Kisumu County, Kenya on 27th August 2016 is Troy Onyango
The Nyanza Literary Festival was set to happen in Kisumu city on the shores of Lake Victoria on August 27th, 2016. The plan for the events on the lakeside town was to have a workshop during the day and an award ceremony later in the evening. The workshop would assist those who wished to learn more about the writing craft in poetry, prose and screen/theatre. The awards would be given for the same categories.
The day started with the workshops with training from the likes of Irungu Mutu who is an authority in the theatre/screen category at the Kiboko Bay Resort.
The highlight for the writers who can come in from as far as Kigali and Nairobi was the prize giving ceremony where people would be going home with US$1,000. Those in the running in the prose category included Winnie Ochieng for Moonscape, Nancy Linda Ilamwenya for No Escape, Nixon Otieno for The Sacrifice, Calvin Kodalo for This Story Ends in a Hospital and Troy Onyango for his story For What Are Butterflies Without Their Wings?
The poetry category had three shortlisters and they were Redscar McOdindo K’Oyuga whose poem was For crying out life and other poems, Daniel Many Owiti for I Shall Not Kill My Father and other poems and Charles Omondi for Tell Me the Truth and other poems.
The plays weren’t enough to the judges to make a fair judgement as they were a handful. Even with those few, they felt that The Exodus and other poems by Fabian Omoke Ombui and Weeping and other poems by Abukutsa Moses were worthy of favourable mentions.
There were two prizes to be given therefore in the prose and poetry categories this year thus. All finalists in the Fiction and Poetry Categories will be published in an online journal later this year.
“We had an incredible group of finalists, which proved that the Nyanza/Western region has plenty of talent. Our goal is to build a community similar to that of the Southern Writers in the United States, while at the same time working with all artists throughout the country and the continent,” Jakki Kerubo, the founder or NALIF, noted.
Going home with the big cheques would be Redscar McOdindo K’Oyuga for poetry and Troy Onyango for prose.
Redscar would incidentally be winning the Okot p’Bitek Poetry in Kampala, Uganda a few kilometres away in his absence at the same time. He was also incidentally third in the Babishai Niwe Poetry Prize on the Friday. It was an clearly a weekend to be remember for the Nairobi resident.