Kwani? Manuscript Prize Longlist
The Kwani? Manuscript Project, a new one-off literary prize for unpublished fiction from African writers, is delighted to announce a longlist of 30 from 280+ submissions:
A Night Without Darkness (Nigeria)
Across the Mongolo (Cameroon)
Azanian Bridges (South Africa / UK)
Becoming God (Nigeria)
Born Different (South Africa)
Carnivorous City (Nigeria)
Diary of a Criminal (Botswana)
Dinner-time @ the Dictators (Kenya)
Kwani? Confidential ’13: Again Year Zero In Kenya Republic
Kenya Confidential '13 Highlights
In 2008, Kwani Trust published Kwani? 05 Part 1: Maps and Journeys and Kwani? 05 Part 2: Revelation and Conversation. Kwani? then collaborated with The GoDown Arts Centre and photographers Boniface Mwangi and Yasuyoshi Chiba and other photographers on the visual narrative, Kenya Burning., chronicling the post election violence. In addition, we published Wambui Mwangi’s short story Internally Misplaced and a mini-compendium title of stories related to the 2008 violence, After The Vote.
In March 2008, the two Kwani? issues went into production after the signing of the Peace Accord; before the Constitution was finalized and implementation started, and as IDPs were set up. Later in 2010, Kwani? travelled with the Kenya Burning, Picha Mtaani and Kigezi Ndoto Tours respectively to collect material from the effects of the 2008 post election violence. Between that and the 2nd half of 2012, Kwani? observed the Coalition Government and Kibaki’s 2nd Term, and last year started commissioning on the emergent campaigns, the new money trails, the ‘13 elective scenarios, the tall tales, spectacles and reinventions that came with the new polls. By the end of 2012, Kwani? started rethinking all this through image, text, map, journey, elegy and verse.
The old biggies from the pre-2007 electoral atmosphere remain even as other larger political animals emerge with Devolution and County Governments, and later in the year Kenya turns 50. To capture all the issues that we think pertinent to this election just as we did in 2008 through the publications afore-mentioned, we have built an online platform to showcase all this, an elections content hub that highlights all the material we are putting together, a mini-Kwani? e-book on the elections in late April 2013, and the Kwani? ‘elections’ issue in August 2013.
We have partnered with Pawa254 in commissioning over 100 citizen journalists, writers and photographers sending reports from different poll centres all over Kenya. These will be posted through SMS messages, text, image and social media on the Kwani? Elections platform, Kwani? Confidential ’13. These will eventually be complemented with essays, creative non-fiction, memoir, images, illustrations, poetry and fiction.
2012 Kwani? Litfest
Conversations with Writers and Artists from The Horn
The fourth edition of our biennial gathering of writers, poets, literary academics and theorists from the continent kicks off between 9th – 16th December, 2012. Titled Conversations With The Horn: Writers, Artists In Exchange, this year’s festival will host Somali poet Hadraawi, London-based Somali novelist Nadifa Mohamed, Sudanese-English novelist Jamal Mahjoub & Eritrean writer and historian Alemsegad Tefsayi to share their work with writers from other parts of the continent. These include Egyptian writer and activist Nawal El Sadaawi & Nigerian and Ghanaian novelists, Helon Habila and Kojo Laing. They will also be joined by writers from Mozambique, Namibia, and Cameroon.
Writing a Novel
Kwani Trust has approached 4 contemporary African novelists of varying styles and approaches to give their take on writing novels. The articles by Aminatta Forna, Leila Aboulela, Ellen Banda-Aaku and Helon Habila have been publishing over the last 4 weeks. The final article in the series by Helon Habila has been published in two parts. Last week in Part 1, Habila shared experiences of writing his first novel Waiting for an Angel in Lagos and showed how the time and place you are writing from can influence the structure and form of your novel. Here in Part 2, Habila explores ways of using conflict to engage readers in your story.
Conflict and Form: Giving Shape to Your Writing
Part 2: Creating Conflict
How then do we impose a suitable form on a novel? How do we hold a story together, not so rigidly that it feels like a block of ice, not too loosely that it lacks form, but fluidly, pulling and pushing, rather like a balloon filled with water? The first thing to note is that everything, almost everything that goes into a novel can contribute to its final form. Read More
Conflict and Form: Giving Shape to Your Writing
Part 1: Giving Shape to One’s Universe
I wrote most of my first novel, Waiting for an Angel, in Lagos, Nigeria, and if you have been to Lagos the fractured, discontinuous style of the narration would make sense to you immediately. Lagos in the 1990s, under the military dictatorship, was a large, sprawling suburb of hell – this is not an exaggeration.Read More
Ten Pieces of Advice for the Writing Life
Read to become a better writer. This sounds like “eat to become stronger” and in a way reading is the food of the creative process. Read for all the reasons a reader reads but also read for inspiration, read to be influenced, read in order to pick up tricks and techniques, read in order to answer the questions, “How on earth did the author pull this off? How on earth did he/she get away with this?” Writing is an extension of reading and the quality of your reading will be reflected into your writing. Read More...
The Spark of Life: Where Novels Come From
For every writer the idea for a novel starts in a different place. Some writers like to begin with a concept, a conundrum or a situation, a what if? Some with a story or plot line. Yet others begin with a character. When people who want to write ask me, as they often do, where my ideas come from I generally say that I start with a character, because I see myself as a character-led writer. That remains largely true, but then you might equally ask where does that character come from? Where does it all begin?.Read More...
Planning Your Writing and Editing Time
Kwani Trust’s literary prize for African writing is a great incentive to start writing that story that has been growing in your head for years now or to pull out that work in progress novel. Bear in mind that a manuscript submitted to a literary prize actually gets read – in order to select a winner - whereas there is no guarantee that a manuscript sent to a publisher will be read. So start writing! Read More.
Our flagship publication, Kwani?, is a journal founded by some of Kenya’s most exciting new writers and has 6 print editions to date, each containing more than 300 pages of new journalism, fiction, experimental writing, poetry, cartoons, photographs, cutting edge academic papers, ideas, literary travel writing & creative non-fiction.
Kwani? 06, isan anthology of short fiction and poetry by Kenyan And African writers born after September 1978. Farah Aideed Goes To Gulf War by Mehul Gohil is a dystopic paean that explodes our obsessions with mono-Kenyan identity and binary understanding of Nairobi (Nairobbery vs Green City...
Our pocket-sized series; Kwanini?, contains bite-sized stories told by the best contemporary writers and artists in Africa - Chimamanda Adichie, Yvonne Owuor, Binyavanga Wainaina, Parselelo Kantai, Richard Onyango and Enock Ondego.
How To Write About Africa
" Always use the word 'Africa' or 'Darkness' or 'Safari' in your title. Subtitles may include the words 'Zanzibar', 'Masai', 'Zulu', 'Zambezi', 'Congo', 'Nile', 'Big', 'Sky', 'Shadow', 'Drum', 'Sun' or 'Bygone'. Also useful are words such as 'Guerillas', 'Timeless', 'Primordial' and 'Tribal'....
The Kwani? Fiction, Poetry and Creative Non-Fiction Series include titles such as The True Story of David Munyakei by Billy Kahora, Kizuizini by Joseph Muthee, Tale of Kasaya by Eva Kasaya, a re-issue of The Stonehills of Maragoli by Stanley Gazemba and To Be A Man.
To Be A Man, poetry anthology
" ...I do not want
to be crippled
before I can walk,
to be shoved
in the face of machismo
to take it up
in the name of being a man..."
Ndanu Mungala ( Breaking through)
"...Now she falls,
And now she bleeds.
The camera takes it all in.
It is seven...
A new series of photography books was launched in 2009 with the publication of Kenya Burning, focusing on the post election violence. Upcoming titles in this series include 24 Nairobi, a title documenting various aspects of life in the city within 24-hour span.
8 Nairobi photographers and writers present a celebration of their city through the themes of Death, movement, spirituality, nightlife, and music - through the lens of a camera. This collection also offers a selection of photographs of different aspects of Nairobi life. Accompanying this is an...