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Okwiri Oduor from Kenya whose short story, My Father's Head, won her the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2014.

Short Fiction Contest for Africans Calls for Submission

By Khalifa Hemed
Published March 21, 2017

Diane Awerbuck, a South African novelist whose book, Gardening at Night, won the 2004 Commonwealth Writers' Prize for the Best First Book (Africa and the Caribbean)Submission to the 4th annual Short Story Day Africa (SSDA) competition for short fiction opens on June 1 and closes on July 31.

SSDA says it is “looking for innovative short fiction that explores identity, especially (but not limited to) the themes of gender identity and sexuality.We hope to see work that seeks to break and redefine the strictures put onto our identities, as individuals and as peoples. Fiction that looks beyond the boundaries of expectation, and peers into the truest definitions of ourselves.”

This contest by SSDA, a non-profit organisation registered in South Africa, is open to any African citizen or African person living in the Diaspora, as well as persons residing permanently in any African country.

SSDA insists that one “may only submit one story for the competition. Repeat entries by the same writer will be disqualified.”

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Other terms are that Stories must be between 3000 and 5000 words, written in English, and in any genre of fiction.

Okwiri Oduor from Kenya whose short story, My Father's Head, won her the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2014.It does not hurt for one to familiarise oneself with the following terms on shortstorydayafrica.org website as one waits for the link to the submission form to go live on June 1:

  • While you are free to incorporate other languages into your story, the story must be understood fully by its English content
  • Stories must be submitted online via Submittable between 1 June 2017 – 3 1 July 2017. The link to the submission form will be made live on 1 June 2017
  • Stories must not have been previously published in any form or any format
  • Simultaneous submissions are not welcome. Any story entered or published elsewhere during the course of judging or publication will be disqualified
  • Include your real name along with your entry.

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  • By submitting a story the author attests that it is their own original work and grants exclusive global print and digital rights to Short Story Day Africa for one year, and thereafter agrees to seek permission to republish and when published elsewhere attributes first publication to Short Story Day Africa; non-exclusive digital rights to Worldreader to publish individual stories on Worldreader Mobile; and non-exclusive digital rights to BooksLive for publicity purposes, and
    Sibongile Fisher, a published poet and writer from Johannesburg, South Africa, won the Short Story Day Africa prize in 2016.
  • By entering, the author agrees to allowing Short Short Story Day Africa to include their entry in an anthology should it be selected by the judges; and to working with editors to get their story publication ready.

Cash prizes available include US$800 (overall winner), US$200 (Second prize) and US$100 (third prize).

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Previous winners of SSDA include:

  • Sibongile Fisher, a published poet and writer from Johannesburg, South Africa (2016)
  • Cat Hellisen, a South African-born writer of fantasy for adults and children (2015)
  • Diane Awerbuck, a South African novelist whose book, Gardening at Night, won the 2004 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for the Best First Book (Africa and the Caribbean) (2014), and
  • Okwiri Oduor from Kenya whose story, “My Father’s Head”, won her the 2014 Caine Prize for African Writing (2013).

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