Press Releases
Kwani Trust to host 2014 Etisalat Prize for Literature winner

Press Releases

Kwani Trust to host 2014 Etisalat Prize for Literature winner


2014 Etisalat Prize for Literature winner, Songeziwe Mahlangu (Penumbra) 

For the second year running, Kwani Trust has collaborated with the Etisalat Prize for Literature award to host Africa’s newest literary honoree.  Writer Songeziwe Mahlangu, author of Penumbra will be in Nairobi on Sunday, May 3rd for an afternoon of readings and conversations at the Kwani? Sunday Salon.

The South African author is the winner of the 2014 Etisalat Prize for Literature, the first ever pan-African prize celebrating first time writers of published fiction books. The Prize aims to serve as a platform for the discovery of new creative talent out of the continent and invariably promote the burgeoning publishing industry in Africa.

Kwani? Sunday Salon will feature readings and a conversation with Songeziwe as well as host a tête-à-tête with veteran Kenyan writer, Henry Ole Kulet. His novel Vanishing Herds (Longhorn Publishers) won the 2013 Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature. Mr. Kulet has published several books and has over 30 years experience writing about contemporary Maa culture. There shall also be readings by Caine prize winner Yvonne Owour, historian Ngala Chome and Kwani? Trust Managing Editor Billy Kahora from the latest edition of the Chronic, a collaborated effort between Kwani and Chimurenga to imagine ‘new cartographies’.

Thursday, April 30th will see the launch of the Africa Poetry Library (APL) at the Goethe-Institut. The APL is an initiative of the Africa Poetry Book Fund. Local partners include Kwani Trust and the Goethe Institute. It is a collaborative venture to establish accessible and user-friendly small poetry libraries on the African continent to support aspiring and established poets and to give them access to contemporary poetry in books and journals. For more information please see


5pm, Thursday, April 30th, Goethe-Institut, Maendeleo House: The launch of the Africa Poetry Library will feature poetry performances, readings from the Kwani? Poetry anthology and a panel discussion led by, JKS Makokha, Stephen Partington and Phyllis Muthoni on the state of contemporary Kenyan poetry.

Commonwealth Writing Prize 2015 and Kwani Manuscript Prize Winner, Jennifer Makumbi, holding a literary conversation with journalist, Kingwa Kamengcu, at a recent Kwani? Sunday Salon.

3pm, Sunday, May 3rd, Kwani? Trust Office Gardens, Riverside Drive: Kwani? Sunday Salon features readings and conversations with 2014 Etisalat Prize for Literature winner, Songeziwe Mahlangu and celebrated writer, Henry Ole Kulet. They’ll be poetry performances, live music and readings from the new Chimurenga Chronic.

For further information, images or interviews, please contact: For more information on the Etisalat Prize for Literature please email:

Notes for Editors:

Kwani Trust: Established in 2003, Kwani Trust is a Kenyan based literary network dedicated to developing quality creative writing and committed to the growth of the creative industry through the publishing and distribution of contemporary African writing, offering training opportunities, producing literary events and establishing and maintaining global literary networks. Our vision is to create a society that uses its stories to see itself more coherently.

Etisalat Prize for Literature: The Etisalat Prize for Literature is the first ever pan-African prize to applaud first time writers of published fiction. The Etisalat Prize was founded in June 2013 and has a board of patrons which include some of Africa’s finest intellectuals. Submitted works must be the writer’s first fiction book of over 30,000 words and published within the last twenty-four months. The winner of the prize receives £15,000 and will attend the Etisalat Fellowship at the prestigious University of East Anglia. 

Songeziwe Mahlangu: Songeziwe Mahlangu was born in Alice in 1985. He is the author of a novel called Penumbra. He matriculated from Dale College in King William's Town, and now lives in Cape Town.   

Billy Kahora: Billy Kahora is the managing editor of Kwani? He also writes fiction and completed an MS.c in Creative Writing with distinction at the University of Edinburgh as a Chevening Scholar in 2007. He has a Bachelor of Journalism degree and post-graduate diploma in Media Studies from Rhodes University. His short story, Treadmill Love, was highly commended by the 2007 Caine Prize judges. He edited ‘Kenya Burning’, a visual narrative of the Kenya post-elections crisis published by the GoDown Arts Centre and Kwani Trust in March 2009. Billy was a Regional judge for the 2009 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize as well as the 2013 Etisalat Prize for Literature. His short story, The Gorilla’s Apprentice, was shortlisted for the 2014 Caine Prize for African writing.

Yvonne Owour: Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor was born in Nairobi, Kenya, and educated at Jomo Kenyatta University and the University of Reading. She received the 2003 Caine Prize for African Writing for her short story, “Weight of Whispers.” Her first novel, Dust was shortlisted for the 2015 Folio Prize. Yvonne is former Executive Director of the Zanzibar International Film Festival.

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