Gambian writers within the country and abroad have failed to make it to the mega African Writers Awards and the Wakini Awards for Children’s Literature, which are some of the most prestigious awards across the entire African continent.
The awards were established in 2018 by Writers Space Africa Foundation in partnership with the African Writers Development Trust, who have since then been holding the annual awards as the highpoint of the African Writers Conference. This year’s longlist were announced on 31 August.
The call for submission by writers started from 15 March to 1 July this year. A cash prize of $200 will be awarded to each winner along with a certificate. All submissions were also in English.
Both awards considered pieces by writers from various parts and regions of the continent, and received hundreds of entries, although each entry offered a unique perspective.
The entries in the African Writers Award were judged anonymously, and the judges included Nahida Esmail (Tanzania), Gankhanani Moffat Moyo (Zambia), Sabah Carrim (Mauritius), Nabilah Usman (Nigeria), Corona Cermak (Tanzania), Tamunomieibi Enoch (Nigeria), Patricia Peace Ejang (Uganda), Comfort Nyati, SDB (Zimbabwe), Temani Nkalolang (Botswana), Halieo Motanyane (Lesotho) and Namse Udosen (Nigeria).
The longlist for the African Writers Awards for creative nonfiction included ‘Becoming a Lazy Nigerian Youth’ by Oluwabukola Olabode (Nigeria), ‘Cape of Cubs’ by Trevor Abekah (Kenya), ‘Hills in the Background’ by George Paul (Tanzania), ‘Hope’ by Joy Jonathan (Nigeria), ‘Let my People Go’ by Britney Muoghalu (Nigeria) and ‘Number 27’ by Kendi Karimi (Kenya).
The rest of the longlist for the creative nonfiction were ‘Piece of Mwihoko’ by Isaac Kilibwa (Kenya), ‘Spero Spera’ by Praise Ebirim (Nigeria), ‘Swagger’ by NmaHassan Muhammad (Nigeria), ‘The Watch’ by Esther Diepiriye (Nigeria), ‘This Town’ by Ezimadu Ugorji (Nigeria), ‘Thunder makes us Cry’ by Shalom Kasim (Nigeria), ‘Tsulisime’ by Deborah Usidamen (Nigeria), ‘Wahala, Like Bicycle’ by Isaacoed Buchi Jamie (Nigeria) and ‘With the Eyes of the Soul’ by Marta Santos (Angola)
The longlist for the drama category included ‘Dusk To Dawn’ by Gloria Akayi Asoloko (Nigeria), ‘Fallen Empire’ by Dave Chukwuji (Nigeria), ‘Hello Lord!’ by Halieo Motanyane (Lesotho), ‘Homecoming’ by Chetachi Igbokwe (Nigeria), ‘Hope’ by Ogwuma Aduma (Nigeria) and ‘One Jungle, Multiple Shadows’ by Oluwatosin Tume (Nigeria), amongst others.
‘Breathe’ by Pepita Mwanga (Tanzania), ‘Delayed Dawn’ by Rigwell Addison Asiedu (Ghana), ‘Hope for the hopeless’ by Issa Haruna (Nigeria), ‘It’s not ours’ by Overcomer Ibiteye (Nigeria), ‘Mettle’ by Omotoyimbo Damilola (Nigeria), ‘Nigeria Flickering Hope’ by Victor Unwuchola, ‘Of what we said’ by Akal Mohan (Kenya), ‘Sunrises’ by Simbizo Faith (Tanzania) made it for the poetry category.
‘The Crest of Sanguine’ by Elias Denen Dodo (Nigeria), ‘The slums of Mbayani’ by Temwani Mgunda (Malawi), ‘The victor’s Psalm’ by Edmund Elume Nanne (Cameroon), ‘To etch light on a soul’ by Joshua Effiong (Nigeria), ‘Today’s is not yesterday’s twin’ by Richard Mbuthia (Kenya), ‘Waiting’ by Isabel Nowemigisha (Uganda) and ‘Weaved by Living Matters’ by Sia Morweng (South Africa) also made it for the poetry category.
Wakini Kuria Prize for Children’s Literature also received children’s literary pieces across Africa. The longlist were ‘Beans Can’t be vegetables’ by Ogbu Eme (Nigeria), ‘Bird’s Melody’ by Zola Dirwani (Zimbabwe), ‘Grandma’s Needlework’ by Joshua Robertson (Ghana), and ‘Hamood’s Wish Tree’ by NmaHassan Muhammad (Nigeria), amongst many others.