From our ancestors’ first forays through the continent, to the contemporary diaspora spread around the world, people are eternally moving in, out and about the African continent. Not everyone leaves out of their own volition, and not everyone comes with the best intentions: nevertheless, the story of Africa is the story of souls migrating, settling, unsettling, fleeing, seeking, resting, nesting and sharing stories, experiences and myths.
From herds of migrating animals to treks both physical and spiritual, from the comfort of ancient myth to the desperation of those currently fleeing their homes, Short Story Day Africa is looking for a crop of short fiction that will bring a fresh, urgent perspective to one of our most profound phenomena, and the basis of all our greatest stories.
Please read submissions guidelines and the terms and conditions of entry to the Prize below.
- 2015: Cat Hellisen is a South African-born writer of fantasy for adults and children. Her work includes the novel When the Sea is Rising Red and short stories in Apex, F & SF, Shimmer Magazine, and Tor.com. Her latest novel is a fairy tale for the loveless, Beastkeeper.
- 2014: Diane Awerbuck is a South African novelist. Her novel, Gardening at Night, won the 2004 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for the Best First Book (Africa and the Caribbean), and was shortlisted for the International Dublin IMPAC Award. In 2011, her collection of short stories, Cabin Fever, was published by Random House Struik, who also published her second novel, Home Remedies, the year after. She was shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2014, the same year that she won the Short Story Day Africa Prize.
- 2013: Okwiri Oduor was born in Nairobi, Kenya. Her novella, The Dream Chasers, was highly commended in the 2012 Commonwealth Book Prize, while her story “My Father’s Head” – first published by Short Story Day Africa in Feast, Famine & Potluck – won her the 2014 Caine Prize for African Writing, making her the third Kenyan winner of the prize after Binyavanga Wainaina in 2002 and Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor in 2003. Oduor is a 2014 MacDowell Colony fellow.
Terms and conditions of entry:
- Any African citizen or African person living in the diaspora*, as well as persons residing permanently (granted permanent residence or similar) in any African country, may enter.
- Writers may only submit one story for the competition. Repeat entries by the same writer will be disqualified.
- Writers are welcome to submit stories in any fiction genre.
- Stories must be between 3000 and 5000 words in length.
- Stories must be submitted in English. While you are free to incorporate other languages into your story, the story must be able to be understood fully by its English content.
- Stories must be submitted online between 1 June 2016 – 3 1 July 2016. The link to the submission form will be made live on 1 June 2016.
- To facilitate easy reading and judging, please format your stories according to the standard manuscript format stipulated below. Stories not formatted in this way are at the risk of being disqualified.
- Stories must not have been previously published in any form or any format.
- Simultaneous submissions are not welcome. Any story entered or published elsewhere during the course of judging or publication will be disqualified.
- You are welcome to enter under a pseudonym or nom de plume, as long as you also include your real name along with your entry.
- All entries will be judged anonymously, i.e. with names removed.
- The judges’ decision is final.
- By submitting a story the author attests that it is their own original work and grants non-exclusive global print and digital rights to Short Story Day Africa; non-exclusive digital rights to Worldreader to publish individual stories on Worldreader Mobile; and non-exclusive global print and digital rights to Short Story Day Africa, and non-exclusive digital rights to BooksLive for publicity purposes.
- By entering, the author agrees to allowing Short Short Story Day Africa to include their entry in an anthology should it be selected by the judges; and to working with editors to get their story publication ready.
- We will not share your personal information with anyone. We will, however, add you to Short Story Day Africa mailing list for the sole purpose of informing you of next year’s event.
* Citizens of African countries or former citizens who have given up citizenship for whatever reason, and second generation Africans whose parents are/were African citizens.
Standard manuscript format
If you submit manuscripts to publishers or agents, you’ve probably come across the demand that you use “standard manuscript format” (or “SMF”) for your submissions. It isn’t always spelled out what this means, however. Generally speaking, the term indicates that you should format your document with the following guidelines in mind:
- Type your document, using a single, clear font, 12-point size, double-spaced. The easiest font to use is Times New Roman, or a similar serif font.
- Include your name and contact information at the top left of the first page. Put an accurate word count at the top right. Put the title of your story halfway down the page, centred, with a byline underneath. Start the story beneath that.
- Please number the pages.
- Left-justify your paragraphs.
- Ensure there is at least a 1 inch or 2 centimetre margin all the way around your text. This is to allow annotation to be written onto a printed copy.
- Indent each new paragraph by about 1/2 inch or 1 centimetre, except for the first line of the story or the first line of a new scene.
- Don’t insert extra lines between your paragraphs. A blank line indicates a new scene.
- Put the word “End” after the end of your text, centred, on its own line.
It’s always worth checking the exact requirements of any publication or competition you submit to, but if they don’t specify any formatting requirements, or just say “standard manuscript format”, follow these guidelines.
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