Stop Press: Kwani? 06
Kwani? goes Continental, goes young
Kwani? 06 will be the first edition in the journal’s eight-year life devoted exclusively to African writers under the age of 30. A call out made in late 2009 yielded hundred of short stories from around the continent. The stories bring to their readers a mix of talents, insights and concerns that makes it hard to draw any broad thematic conclusions. What is clear in all the stories selected for publication is the clarity with which the young writers perceive he world around them; an apocalyptic vision on a Nairobi highway wrapped in precise prose, a prodigal son in Lagos unwanted at an uncle’s funeral, a ménage a trois that tells us in unforgiving narrative about migration into South Africa. If the vividness and surfeit of imagination is an indication of where things are going, there is a big future for this continent's literature. The selectors and judges of the short stories all had the same verdict – there is immense talent out there on the continent. Hence, Kwani? 06 breaks rank with the first five anthologies, and is published specifically to search for and encourage young writers.
Here are excerpts from some of the winning short stories that will appear in Kwani? 06 in December 2010...
1st Prize : Farah Aideed goes to Gulf War
By Mehul Gohil
Mehul's story of an impossible relationship between a young Asian man and an African girl is told with authority, a dystopian image of where failure to reach across race and community might lead the world. A first time writer, his mastery of prose and originality of insight, detail and sumptuous complexity drove his story to the top of the short story writing competition pile.
2nd Prize : All in the Family
By Brenda Mukami Kunga
Brenda Mukami, whom friends describe as a gentle medical student, surprised all who knew her by evoking a realistic story about the grinding life of a girl who statistics of affluence and poverty says should have the best of life but does not. Her story, which came second in the Kwani? short story competition, is the work of a major writer in the making.
Once it happened that a man, who had turned government informant during the civil war, went to visit his next-door neighbours, in order to make sure that government soldiers arrested them before they had time to escape.
Kwani? 06 Redux
In November 2010, after the Kwani? 06 editors selected the final stories for the issue, we continued to receive stories of great quality. In addition, after receiving several hundreds of short stories from all over Africa, there remain stories that didn't quite make the Kwani? 06 cut because...
foreign gods, incorporated(an excerpt)
Okey Ndibe's just finished manuscript, foreign gods, incorporated, is set partly in New York City, where a gallery caters to a new class of collectors with a taste for foreign gods and other sacred objects. The novel's protagonist, a Nigerian-born cab driver in New York who is grappling with...
Farah Aideed goes to Gulf War
The pages of Mein Kampf have aged into freckles of yellow-brown. Soft purple blotches tint the words, the bones of its spine have disintegrated and now straps of cello-tape hold everything together that I am going to read sitting reclined in a hot steamy bathtub.
And in my bathtub sits...
All in the Family
Brenda Mukami Kunga
We're rich. I don't mean comparatively, as in vis-à-vis the sixty per cent of the population living on less than a dollar a day. And we're not the boohoo rich those dim-witted radio presenters try to sell every day. You know, the "I'm rich because I was privileged...
Reply to Vain Jango Letter
I had to show them. That stupid old shit of a father - who used to say I was his good gero, ati how I would go to Oxford! Yaani, be a doctor. But after uprooting his coffee, didn't he become an over-aged Mungiki? Said the girls had to leave school.
Did I sleep in his house again?
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