The shortlists for the 2018 Brittle Paper Awards have been announced. Established in 2017, it is to recognise the finest, original pieces of writing by Africans published online. In making the announcement, the organisers said that as a celebration of all that is good and new in the internet and social media world of African literature, the Brittle Paper Awards draws attention to literary innovation in the 21st century.
“In this year’s shortlist, experimental poetry stands side by side with interviews and collections of tweets as powerful modes of expressing Africa in writing,” said the statement containing the announcement.
The $1,100 cash prize is split across five categories: the Brittle Paper Award for Fiction ($200), the Brittle Paper Award for Poetry ($200), the Brittle Paper Award for Creative Nonfiction ($200), and the Brittle Paper Award for Essays & Think Pieces ($200). The Brittle Paper Anniversary Award ($300) is reserved exclusively for writing published on Brittle Paper.
The 31 shortlisted pieces were published online between 31 July 2017 and 31 August 2018 and available for free. Selection was based on aesthetics, formal innovation, significance, and impact. Preference was given to work that inspired readers to see African writing differently while kindling important conversations and debates.
All five shortlists reflect the state of contemporary African literature. They explore questions of history, race, power, privilege, contemporary poetry, photography, and push the boundaries on style, form, and genre.
The key decisions on shortlists and winners are made by Brittle Paper’s core editorial team, consisting of Dr. Ainehi Edoro, Assistant Professor of English at University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Otosirieze Obi-Young, fiction writer and literary journalist based in Nigeria.
Brittle Paper is a literary platforms dedicated to African writing and literary culture. The website covers latest news and updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle.
The winners will be announced on Monday, November 19, 2018.
The Brittle Paper Award for Creative Nonfiction ($200)
“On Meeting Toni Morrison,” by Sarah Ladipo Manyika (Nigeria), in Transition
“The Miseducation of Gratitude,” by Sibongile Fisher (South Africa), in Selves: An Afro Anthology of Creative Nonfiction,
“How to Gossip About African Writing in Geneva,” by Oris Aigbokhaevbolo (Nigeria), in Catapult
“Chapter Thirty-Three,” by Binyavanga Wainaina (Kenya), in Brittle Paper
“A House for Mr Soyinka,” by Kola Tubosun (Nigeria), in Popula
“Home Means Nothing to Me,” by Tinashe Mushakavanhu in collaboration with Nontsikelelo Mutiti and Simba Mafundikwa (Zimbabwe), in Chimurenga
The Brittle Paper Award for Essays & Think Pieces ($200)
“History Through the Body or Rights of Desire, Rights of Conquest,” by Panashe Chigumadzi (Zimbabwe), in The Johannesburg Review of Books
“Verse Africa: The Malleable Poetics of Some Contemporary African Poets,” by Matthew Shenoda (Egypt), in World Literature Today
“A Stranger in ‘the Village,’” by Bongani Madondo (South Africa), in The Johannesburg Review of Books
“Preserving and Writing History,” Ayesha Harruna Attah (Ghana) in Conversation with Gaamangwe Joy Mogami (Botswana), in Africa in Dialogue
“The Colonizer’s Archive Is a Crooked Finger,” by Emmanuel Iduma (Nigeria), in Catapult
“James Baldwin in Rhodesia,” by Percy Zvomuya (Zimbabwe), in The Johannesburg Review of Books
The Brittle Paper Award for Poetry ($200)
“A List of Things I Do Not Tell My Mother,” by Sarah Lubala (South Africa & Congo), in Apogee Journal
“A Field, any Field,” by Itiola Jones (Nigeria), in The Offing
“Origin Myths,” by Megan Ross (South Africa), in The Single Story Foundation Journal
“On the Isle of Lesbos,” by Tsitsi Jaji (Zimbabwe), in Harvard Review
“I Like to Think I’d Yet Manage to Weave Words into Poems,” by Chisom Okafor (Nigeria), inExpound
“Summer Night Spent Cosplaying Ashanti & Ja Rule Or Something Else Resembling Happiness,” by Momtaza Mehri (Somalia & UK), in Frontier Poetry
The Brittle Paper Award for Fiction ($200)
“Moon Secrets,” by Lauri Kubuitsile (Botswana), in The Single Story Foundation Journal
“The Man at the Bridge,” by Kiprop Kimutai (Kenya), in As You Like It, republished in The Johannesburg Review of Books
“Involution,” by Stacy Hardy (South Africa), in Migrations: New Short Fiction from Africa
“Our Husband Grief,” by Christine Odeph (Kenya), in Migrations: New Short Fiction from Africa(as “My Sister’s Husband”), republished in Brittle Paper
“All Our Lives,” by Tochukwu Emmanuel Okafor (Nigeria), in ID: New Short Fiction from Africa, republished in The Johannesburg Review of Books
The Brittle Paper Anniversary Award ($300)
“An African in London and Other Reflections on African Literatures,” by Richard Oduor Oduku (Kenya), Memoir
“Why I No Longer Use the Term ‘Game’ for Bushmeat,” by Chika Unigwe (Nigeria), Think Piece, first posted on Facebook
“Bantu’s Swahili, or How to Steal a Language from Africa,” by Kamau Muiga (Kenya), Essay
“The Nervous Conditions of the Mother Tongue,” by Mapule Mohulatsi (South Africa), Essay, first published in Selves: An Afro Anthology of Creative Nonfiction
“On Postcolonial Theory,” by Shailja Patel (Kenya), Tweets
“Facebook Writers and Other Trivia,” by Alaaka Tobi (Nigeria), Essay
“Jambula Tree,” by Lillian Aujo (Uganda), Poetry
“For What Are Butterflies without Their Wings,” by Troy Onyango (Kenya), Fiction