Young Mozambicans have inundated Festival Fim do Caminho with short story submissions.
The festival, that marks its third annual edition in 2016, says young writers responded to its “rallying cry for crime fiction with aplomb”, submitting more short stories than expected to its inaugural Festival Fim do Caminho Literary Prize on the theme, ‘Crime in Mozambique’.
An anthology of shortlisted finalists–featuring tales of gangs in the capital, Maputo, to echoes of bandits, con artists and corrupt officials–that will bring dozens of unknown Lusophone African writers to world readers, is planned for publication in 2017 in Portuguese and English.
“With more than 11000 crimes registered by the Mozambican police in 2014 alone, it is perhaps no surprise that so many young Mozambicans have shown a taste for crime writing,”Festival Fim do Caminho, whose third edition takes place in in the northern Mozambican city of Nampula in August 2016, says.
“We had no idea there were so many crime writers in Mozambique,” says British novelist Lisa St Aubin de Teran, founder of the Mozambique-based NGO, Teran Foundation, the charity behind the competition.
Each six-page entry narrates from the underbelly of one of the catapult-shaped, Southern African country’s urban centres; Maputo, Beira, Nampula, Chimoio, Xai Xai, Pemba, and Tete. While innovative detectives battle hardened criminals in some stories, detectives are nowhere to be seen as crime unfolds in others.
Saying participants ranged from award-winning writers to unpublished authors, Festival Fim do Caminho says “The average age of each participant was 26, with new male and female voices as young as 18 submitting their stories.”
“Crime fiction is among the top three most popular genres in the world. If we have Nordic Noir and Los Angeles Noir, why not African Noir, or Nairobi or Accra Noir? This massive and magnificent continent of Africa teems with a rich panoply of cultures, all of which can act as intense and absorbing backdrops for stories,” Festival Fim do Caminho quotes Kwei Quartey, the Ghanaian author of the Inspector Darko Dawson novels, as having observed.
The inaugural Fim do Caminho Literary Prize officially closed on May 15, 2016. The winners and shortlisted finalists–who the festival says will receive cash prizes and classic African novels–will be announced after June 15, 2016.
Festival Fim do Caminho says the literary forum will welcome Mozambican and Brazilian writers for public talks and readings while the film festival will feature a tailor-made programme of short films by Interfilm, as well as fiction and documentary films from or about Mozambique.