Paul Kisakye

Paul Kisakye was announced the winner of the Sarraounia Prize for Young Adult Fiction 2020 on October 31, 2020.

The Sarraounia Prize for Young Adult Fiction is a new prize organised by the Arts & Culture programme at the Abdou Moumouni University in Niger in conjunction with Senegalese publishing house Amalion. It is aimed at ensuring there is more reading material for African young adults and to promote literature to help them better understand their world. They made a callout for the prize in July 2019.

The award is named after the political and religious and leader of the Azna subgroup of the Hausa referred to as the Sarraounia, which is Hausa for queen or female chief. The most famous of these was Sarraounia Mangou who led the fight against French colonial troops of the Voulet–Chanoine Mission at the Battle of Lougou (in present-day Nigeria) in 1899.

The winner for the first edition of the prize is Ugandan-born writer, editor, and writing coach Paul Kisakye. He is the author of Tech Explorers League, a series of sci-fi novels for children; and a non-fiction book Prodigal Love. He is an African Writers Trust Publishing Fellow and was shortlisted for the Writivism Short Story Prize in 2013 for his piece, Emotional Roller Coaster. His winning title is called The Rainmakers and has the following blurb;

Fifteen-year-old Tendo Katende was looking forward to the holidays and a break from schoolwork, but two weeks in he can’t stand the routine of playing video games all day long any more. Will the rest of the holiday be like this? Then a visit from an uncle he has never met before changes everything. Uncle Moses comes with a gift of a holographic video game like none Tendo has ever played before.

When strange happenings at the farm start causing havoc, mayhem and destruction, Tendo gets into serious trouble with his father, concerned about the game’s power. Is the new holographic game linked to the mysterious events at the farm? Does that mean Tendo needs to stop playing his super-fun, highly addictive video game if he is to save the farm? What if there are more sinister forces with vindictive agendas at work on the farm? Suddenly, the holidays are no longer boring, Tendo teams up with his friends to solve the mystery before the whole farm is destroyed.

The winner received a cash prize of 1,000 euros, and the winning entry will be published and disseminated by Amalion and its partners.