It is exciting to note that the Toyin Falola Prize, now in its second year, continues to pace itself in its goal as a driver of creativity. While we announced earlier that the following long-listed entries are selected from 495 eligible submissions received, what we’ve not added is that the number of ineligible submissions is overwhelming.
The decision to be particularly stringent with regard to the submission guidelines wasn’t an easy one, since we had to let go of many entries, but was of uttermost importance if we are to maintain the integrity and vision of the Prize, as well as to ensure it is deservedly awarded.
Listed (only numerically) below are the 11 stories that have made the long list:
1) “Hold Day” – Nana Adwoa Tweneboah Amponsah-Mensah /Ghana
2) “Iphopho Le Vezandlebe” – Tshepiso Mabula / South Africa
3) “Scars Without a Wound” – David Okigbo / Nigeria
4) “Breaking the System” – Adewunmi Aboyade / Nigeria
5) “Sinmot” – Blessing Nwodo / Nigeria
6) “Inside the Eye” – Racquel Anyango / Kenya
7) “Eavesdroppers” – Mary Ann Egbudom / Nigeria
8) “Should have Listened to Mother” – Mandisi Nkomo / South Africa
9) “Lotanna Rising” – Michael Nwanolue / Nigeria
10) “Hunger for Crystal” – Ernestine-Vera Kabushemeye / Kenya
11) “Superposition” – Justin Clement / Nigeria
It is refreshing to note that majority of the stories from the pool where this longlist has emerged performed beyond expectations when the call was made for creative writers to speculate narratives that creatively envision African futures. From the position of our judges, we know that these stories have not only alerted us to the immeasurably talented cohort of writers working within and outside of the continent but have also acquainted us with the ways they are pushing the boundaries of how to imaginatively conceive a future for the continent.
To say this is exciting is to understate the importance of these stories and their writers, in this present moment and for the continent. As noted by the judges, Nerine Dorman and Akwasi Aidoo, the diverse submissions are between strong and excellent in their use of dialogues, imagination, and writing, all of which have culminated in enthralling reads.
We, at LUNARIS, are excited to share this longlist with you and to assure you about the prospects of the Toyin Falola Prize in promoting through curatorial initiatives and narratives that redefine Africa against divisive molds. While we all anticipate other subsequent announcements, congratulations to the long-listed writers.