Masande Ntshanga
Masande Ntshanga

Pen International is an association of writers, founded in London to promote friendship and intellectual co-operation among writers everywhere. The organisation has chapters in over 100 countries including Kenya which is run by a team of guys led by Khainga O’Okwemba.

This year the organisation introduced a new prize they called the New Voices Award to encourage new writing in the countries in which they operate and to provide a much needed space for young and unpublished writers to submit their work. It was open to unpublished writers aged 18-30 and had entries from over 87 countries including Kenya.

PEN has just announced the winner and the honours will go to South African Masande Ntshanga for his winning entry “Space.” He beat the other two shortlisted writers Claire Battershill (PEN Canada) and José Pablo Salas (PEN Mexico. English translation by Jennie Rothwell.)

I have read the story and I have to say that the writing is pretty decent although it took me quite a while to figure where he was heading with it. It speaks of the protagonist, a teenager in South Africa and his gang Thando and Thobela . The story will see them meet a man who isn’t a man but one sent down to Earth from a distant place. 

The gentleman wins a cash prize of $1,000 USD and his winning entry will be published in PEN International magazine.