Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi.
Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi.

We have a winner. The winner of the inaugural Kwani? Manuscript Prize is Ugandan Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi for her novel The Kintu Saga. The writer will be going home with the win as well as 300,000 Kenyan Shillings (equivalent $3500).

2nd place has been awarded to Liberia’s Saah Millimono for One Day I Will Write About This War and 3rd place to Kenya’s Timothy Kiprop Kimutai for The Water Spirits. Millimono will receive 150,000 KShs and Kimutai gets 75,000 Kshs for his 3rd place.

Winner Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi said:
“It is hard for me to express my joy because sometimes language can be limited – even for a writer. When you have been writing as obsessively and for as long as I have, winning a competition like this one is like stepping out in the sun after a protracted period in the dark.”

The winners were selected from a shortlist of seven by a high-profile panel of judges chaired by award-winning Sudanese novelist Jamal Mahjoub and including Deputy Editor of Granta magazine Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, leading scholar of African literature Professor Simon Gikandi, Chairman of Kenyatta University’s Literature Department Dr. Mbugua wa Mungai, editor of Zimbabwe’s Weaver Press Irene Staunton and internationally renowned Nigerian writer Helon Habila.