African fiction prize chooses longlist

The Kwani? Manuscript Project, a new one-off literary prize for unpublished fiction from African writers, has announced a longlist of 30 titles, whittled down from 280 submissions.

Authors from Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Ghana, Cameroon, Uganda and Liberia are on the list, with the winners to be chosen by a judging panel chaired by Sudanese novelist Jamal Mahjoub and including Granta magazine deputy editor Ellah Wakatama Allfrey. The names of the longlisted authors are hidden from the judges.

The top three manuscripts will be announced at the end of June, winning prizes totalling KSH 525,000 (c.$6,000/£4,000).

Founded in 2003, Kwani Trust is a Kenya based literary network dedicated to developing quality creative writing and promoting creative industry through the publishing and distribution of contemporary African writing. It publishes a literary journal, titled Kwani?

It will publish three to five of the prize's longlisted manuscripts by April 2014, appointing an in-house editor to work with the authors through this process.

Executive director Angela Wachuka said: "This prize speaks to a core pillar of our institution; the identification, development and production of literary talent... This prize aims to increase opportunities for contemporary writers on the continent and elsewhere when it comes to the novel."

The longlist in full:

A Night Without Darkness (Nigeria)
Across the Mongolo (Cameroon)
Azanian Bridges (South Africa / UK)
Becoming God (Nigeria)
Born Different (South Africa)
Carnivorous City (Nigeria)
Diary of a Criminal (Botswana)
Dining with the Dictators (Kenya)
Ghettoboy (Kenya)
Homebrew (Botswana)
Invincible Nubia (Kenya / Norway)
Monsoon and Miracle (Kenya / UK)
My Mother’s Breasts (Zimbabwe)
One Day I Will Write About This War (Liberia)
Penny for an Orphan (Nigeria)
Pilgrims from Hell (Tanzania)
Ramseyer’s Ghost (Ghana)
Saturday’s People (Ghana / US)
Stay with Me (Nigeria)
Taty Went West (South Africa)
The Blacks of Cape Town (South Africa)
The Colour of Oil (Nigeria)
The Haggard Masturbator (Kenya)
The Inheritors (Cameroon)
The Kintu Saga (Uganda / United Kingdom)
The Mad Brigadier (Ghana)
The Water Spirits (Kenya)
They are Coming (Zimbabwe / US)
Useful Knowledge for the World Class Detective (Zimbabwe)
Zephyrion (Kenya)