For at least 60 years the African novel has deconstructed, and even transversed, ideas and imaginaries of self, culture, society and nation across the continent. A self-reflexive continuum, shifting chameleon-like; a receptacle of letters, morphing through the cry of the griot, everyman’s diatribe, madman’s claim of truth or the politician’s manic address. An oracle.
It is the precursor to many contemporary urban African genres and forms. From the ubiquitous FM station, the graffiti of rage, the new painter’s electronic brush, the characters of transnational cable T.V. and the growing fan-tribes of European soccer. The African novel determined Us, created an autonomy of expression and became the said curse of dictators.
To celebrate the African novel and its adaptability and resilience, Kwani Trust announces a one-off new literary prize for African writing. The Kwani? Manuscript Project calls for the submission of unpublished fiction manuscripts from African writers across the continent and in the Diaspora.
Beyond the foundations laid by Soyinka, Ngugi and Mahfouz, in remembrance of Yambo Ouologuem’s pre-colonial quest and Mariama Bâ’s bending of form, to the urban journeys of Meja Mwangi, the precocious post-everything of Kojo Laing and the musical rhythms of Ahmadou Khrouma. This prize seeks to recognize the possibilities of form in an ongoing genre that has re-emerged in the work of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Alain Mabanckou, The Kwani? Manuscript Project is a conversation, an ill guised attempt at growing its own list. For there is no greater celebration of emergent forms than in publishing our own, thanks to those who have existed before us and helped us believe. We look forward to your submissions
The top 3 manuscripts will be awarded cash prizes:
In addition Kwani? will publish manuscripts from across the shortlist and longlist, including the three winning manuscripts, as well as partnering with regional and global agents and publishing houses to create high profile international publication opportunities.
Click here for deadline details and submission guidelines
Winners will be announced in December 2012 at the Kwani? Litfest.