Kenyan writer Idza Luhumyo has been announced winner of the 2021 Short Story Day Africa Prize, with Mbozi Haimbe from Zambia and Alithanayn Abdulkareem from Nigeria coming up as first and second runners-ups. Luhumyo won for her short story “Five Years Next Sunday while Haimbe and Abdulkareen with their short stories “Shelter” and “Static,” respectively. Luhumyo is the first Kenyan to win the award since Okwiri Odour’s inaugural win in 2013.
In its eighth year, the Short Story Day Africa Prize, with a total cash value of $1,100, recognizes the best short story submitted for Short Story Day Africa’s themed anthologies. The prize is credited with paving the way for future award-winning authors.
The 2021 anthology is themed “Disruption.”The judges said they were “impressed with the calibre and imaginative reach of the stories – especially as the topic was set before the world as we knew it changed so dramatically and disastrously.”
Luhumyo will receive a cash award of $800, while Haimbe and Abdulkareem will receive $200 and $100 each. Their stories, alongside the other longlisted ones, will be appear in the anthology Disruption: New Short Fiction from Africa, due out in September 2021, from US-based publishers Catalyst Press.
All three stories are captivating in different ways. Luhumyo’s story is described as “an intense, multi-layered story featuring a rain queen that invokes and upturns all the familiar tropes about drought, the hair of African women and its supposedly aphrodisiac powers, corruption and greed, love and betrayal.”
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