Raïssa Kamaliza

Raïssa Kamaliza is the winner of the The Huza Press Prize for Fiction 2016 announced at a ceremony in Kigali, Rwanda on March 18, 2017.

Huza Press Prize for Fiction 2016 announced the winner of the most prestigious prize in Rwandan writing at a colourful ceremony in the nation’s capital. This year’s winner Raïssa Kamaliza won it for her short story Echoes of love. The winner was announced by the judges who were in attendance and they were Paula Akugizibwe, Zukiswa Wanner, Richard Ali, and Felwine Sarr. Unfortunately, the prize winner who is currently doing a master’s degree in economics and finance in Italy was unable to attend; she was ably represented by her sister Dr Kansayisa Grace.

Raïssa was born and raised in Kigali and graduated with bachelor’s degree in applied statistics from the University of Rwanda. She entered the prize to test her writing ability and did her best without dreaming of winning it. The budding writer who believes that writing is not a hobby but a need for her sees this prize win as an amazing confidence boost. For her efforts she got a cash reward of US$1,000.

Richard Ali, Zukiswa Wanner, Dr Kansayisa Grace, and Paula Akugizibwe
Richard Ali, Zukiswa Wanner, Dr Kansayisa Grace, and Paula Akugizibwe

No one went home emptyhanded that evening as all shortlisted writers just like the winner get to be mentored by some of the best writers on the continent. All of them will participate in regional literary festivals like Writivism, and Storymoja. Those who made the shortlist announced in February include Dominique Uwase Alonga, Isaac Barclay, Alfonsina Kayitesi, Mutsinzi Eric, Rutwaza Ganza Leon Leandre, Rwabahizi Arnaud, Landry Ndoli Subira, Denyse Umuhuza, and Lucky Grace Isingizwe. These names, I suspect, will be the ones we shall be hearing from where writing from the East African country is concerned in the future so I suggest that you note them.

The evening included the launch of anthology of writers from those who were in the shortlist for the first cycle of the prize. The anthology named Versus and Other Stories which looks very handy.