We are super excited to announce the longlisted stories for our anniversary anthology+prize! After three intensive rounds of blind reading from the hundreds of stories that we received, we have our long list! Submissions came from around Africa: Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Benin Republic, and Ghana. We’ve finally long-listed 23 stories!
Stories that met our submissions criteria were sent to our team of experienced writers and editors: Emem Alexandra, Peter Ngila, Hymar David, Nnamdi Juddy Atupulazi, and Damilola Adeleke, along with Syncity NG’s Creative Director, Mystique Syn Osuchukwu and Anthology Editor, Ama Udofa. They whittled down the stories to 43 entries after repeated readings. Further reading and reviewing yielded our 23-writer long list.
When reading the stories, we winced, chewed pens; cheered. There were many clichéd stories, as well as stories that made us grin from ear to ear, stories that made us roll our eyes, and stories that started with promise but failed to deliver.
We had to make a lot of hard choices in compiling this long list. We fought gallantly for the stories we felt had promise even though we read them all blindly. We felt a certain kind of kinship to the stories that successfully made it to this long list, and had an e-memorial for those that did not. We are proud to be associated with these stories that have come to us. These are new African voices that we can’t wait to amplify.
As Emem Alexandra noted, “reading a story is like peeking into the mind of the writer. If beauty is truly about what’s on the inside, then the beautiful ones have indeed been born.”
So, here: the 2019 Syncity NG Anniversary Anthology+Prize long listed stories (in no particular order):
- A Memorial Service in Honour of our Daughter, Sister and Cousin, by Frances Ogamba
- A Zanga Hero Never Dies, by Ezeani Chuks
- So Call Me Happiness, by Gideon Chukwuemeka Ogbonna
- Breaking Point, by P Ochieng Ochieng
- Taming the Spirit, by Maureen Onyeziri
- It’s Raining in Our Hearts Like it’s Raining in This Town, by Esomnofu Ebelenna
- This too Shall Pass, by Erhu Kome Yellow
- Westgate, by Alex Nderitu
- We are the Breaths of The Fathers, by Mayor Prosper Ihechi
- If there will be a Next Time, Please Return Promptly, by Nelson C.J
- An Orijin a Day, by Munukayumbwa Mwiya
- A Half-Formed Thing, by Adefolami Ademola
- Salt Paper, by Wisani Buti Mushwana
- Colourful Things, by Godwin Uche Uwadilachi
- This Story Has no Good End, by Chizoma Emeka Joshua
- Morpheus, by Haku Jackson
- Fighting Shadows, by Dhee Sylvester
- Distorted, by Ihezie Eberechukwu Christiana
- Diagnosis, by Chiedozié
- Womanhood, by Mubanga Kalimamukwento
- The Umbra, Hajaarh Muhammad Bashar
- The Alternative, by Aguajah Ifeanyi Ajah
- By the 6th Second, by Ufuoma Kwale
Our anthology prize is guest-judged by Leye Adenle, author of Easy Motion Tourist and When Trouble Sleeps, and Mukoma wa Ngugi, author of The Rise of the African Novel: Politics of Language, Identity and Ownership.
Congratulations to the longlisted writers! (But keep your fingers crossed for the shortlist!). Watch this space for more details about the anthology. You just might read an anthology entry that we loved but didn’t make it to the long list when next you visit our blog!