So what is our take? In one word – fabulous. When we launched the competition in the last week of July, we didn’t know what to expect. Afterall, this is by no means the richest competition out there. More than the number of entries, what’s impressed us most is the sheer richness of the entries. Every story we read entertained and taught us something. The range, the creativity, and diversity spoke to the rich talent. life experiences, and storytelling traditions that are abundant on this great continent. As Teju Cole rightly says in his interview (published this month on Africa Book Club), it’s all about African realism. From love to poverty, corruption to religious betrayal, the stories that we received speak to life’s everyday moments, the highs and lows, as Africans go about their lives.
Three stories were selected as winners for this month. Winfred Karungi’s Friend Request is our winner of the month. It is a deep, well-crafted story about a young girl’s betrayal and path into the modern world of “customer-care”. James Whyle’s Stuff Like That was a close runner-up, and impressed us for its audacity. Afterall, how easy can it be to write a short story about a lawn mower of all things? Talk about watching paint dry! Confounding the odds, Whyle manages to create a piece that makes for interesting reading. With Stress!, our second runner-up, Mark Mngomezulu, delivers a masterpiece with his slice-of-life portrayal of a day in the life of a beggar in one of Africa’s cities.
Below is the full list of our winners and finalists. A huge thanks to all the entrants. Stay tuned for September’s stories.
- Friend Request (by Winfred Karungi) – Uganda
- The Game at Banana (by Macharia Mwangi) – Kenya
- Brother Armand’s Apostasy (by Ernest Bazanye Sempebwa) – Uganda
- The Bundle of Joy (by Mercy Dhliwayo) – Zimbabwe
- We Live Like This (by Mark Mngomezulu) – Swaziland
- Me and the Stalkers (by Jacinta N. Kabuchu) – Kenya
- Spilled (by Olusoga Omotolani) – Nigeria
- Torn Piece of A Diary (by Michael Adejonwo) – Nigeria
- Fall of A Rising Sun (by Michael Adejonwo) – Nigeria
For a limited time, you can read all the stories online at Africa Book Club so go ahead and let us know what you think. And if you are a writer, remember this is a monthly competition, so don’t forget to send in your entries for September.
About the Africa Book Club Short Reads Competition
The Africa Book Club “Short Reads” Competition is a monthly writing competition that features short stories drawn from contributors across the African continent. We accept unpublished fiction and creative non-fiction submissions, not exceeding 3,000 words, and whose setting and context are primarily set in Africa, or written by African authors.
We welcome entries that celebrate Africa’s diversity and rich story telling traditions – anything from fiction and non-fiction stories that reflect life on the continent to childhood memoirs and travel stories. For more about the competition, including eligibility criteria, prizes and entry process, click here.