Nairobi is expected to host the Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature in January 2024.
The prize, founded in 2014 by Dr. Lizzy Attree (Short Story Day Africa) and Dr. Mukoma Wa Ngugi (Cornell University), has the express goal of recognizing writing in African languages and encouraging translation from, between and into African languages.
Over the last seven years, the Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature has supported Kiswahili authors whose manuscripts have been published with others in the pipeline of being published. In 2022, for its 7th edition, 263 manuscripts were submitted.
The Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature is reminding applicants that the deadline for submissions of manuscripts for its 8th edition is June 30, 2023.
The prize aims to spark conversation around Kiswahili literacy, raise awareness of published Kiswahili manuscripts, and encourage writers from East Africa and worldwide who write in Kiswahili to submit their manuscripts and participate in the competition.
The prize, formerly known as The Mabati-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for Africa Literature re-branded its name to reflect the parent organization and main sponsor, the Safal Group Limited, with its member companies Mabati Rolling Mills (MRM) in Kenya and ALAF (ALAF) in Tanzania. The Safal Group is Africa’s largest supplier of Building Solutions.
The Safal-Cornel Kiswahili Prize emulates Safal Group’s strong support for education and its impact in supporting African literature. In January this year, the winners of the 2022 Awards were unveiled at a special ceremony in Dar es Salaam where His Excellency Majaliwa Kassim Majaliwa, Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania was the guest of honor.
This year, the overall prize will be awarded to unpublished manuscripts across the categories of fiction, poetry, memoir, and graphic novels. As from 2022, previously published books will not be considered. The total proposed awards of 15,000 USD will be divided as follows: The top Fiction/Non-Fiction Prize will be awarded 5,000 USD; top Poetry Prize will be awarded a similar amount of 5,000 USD while the two Runner-up Prizes will be awarded 2,500 USD each in any of the genres written.
The winning entries will be considered for publication in Kiswahili by Mkuki na Nyota Publishers (Tanzania), who will then work with other regional publishers and book distributors to ensure maximum reach for the winning books. The winning poetry will be translated to English and published by the Africa Poetry Book Fund.