For more details, please see: The Island Prize 2022-2023
Submissions for the inaugural The Island Prize opened in September of 2021. By the time the submission window ended in mid-December, we had received more than 120 entries from all over Africa. There is a myth that there is only one type of storytelling in Africa. We can say with confidence that this is not the case. The submissions we saw were not only written in a variety of styles, but also included different genres and subjects, depicting people and experiences from all walks of life. You need only look at the shortlist to see a sample of these! However, before we get to the shortlist, we must thank our volunteer readers who spent many hours going through submissions and who helped to whittle them down to a longlist of ten. At this point the judges – Karen Jennings, Obinna Udenwe and Hilda Twongyeirwe – began reading the manuscripts and were pleased to note that the ten longlisted authors came from all over the continent, with the following countries represented: Zambia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa and Algeria. After careful reading, the judges were able to agree unanimously on the five manuscripts selected for the shortlist.
And here are the winners:
WINNER OF THE ISLAND PRIZE 2022
“Glass Tower” by Sarah Isaacs
“A Darkness with Her Name on It” by Doreen Anyango
The other three novels could not be separated and so we have three in third place.
“Single Minded” by Marina Auer
“Sand Roses” by Hamza Koudri
“Delightful Cage” by Joyce Odera
Continue reading to find out more about this year’s winners: The Island Prize 2022 Winners
A Darkness with Her Name On It by Doreen Anyango (Uganda)
Single Minded by Marina Auer (South Africa)
Sand Roses by Hamza Koudri (Algeria)
Glass Tower by Sarah Isaacs (South Africa)
Delightful Cage by Joyce Nwankwo (Nigeria)
Congratulations to the writers!
For details about the prize see: The Island Prize
For details about the shortlist announcement see: The Bookseller
For more information, please see: Brittle Paper
“As African writers, we are often faced with a double dose of challenges. Firstly, getting published within African countries can be incredibly difficult because local publishers are often constrained by finances. Secondly, for many writers getting published overseas is almost impossible because the rest of the world has certain ideas of what an African story should be. Having experienced these challenges first-hand – being told that a novel is ‘too African’ or ‘not African enough’ – I know how important it is that stories from Africa be given a wide variety of platforms so that they can be shared at home and abroad without the need to fit certain moulds. I am proud to be part of The Island Prize for a Debut Novel from Africa – a competition where the judges are African and where the winners have an opportunity of being published both in the UK and in South Africa. This is one step towards bridging the gap between here and there, us and them. In fact, it is through prizes like these that authors across the continent can gain the confidence to tell stories as they wish. The hope is that, with time, such stories will become appreciated across the globe, without first being labelled as an exception or a surprise.”
— Karen Jennings
For more details and the submission form, please see: