African Writers Award Shortlist Released | Abeiku Arhin, Chibuike Ogbonnaya, Aisha M. Umar and Others Win

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Shortlists for the 2018 African Writers Award have been released by the respective judges. The judges of each category have left a comment regarding the entries. Short stories, Flash fiction and Poetry have 10 shortlisted entries respectively, while Children’s literature has 5. Below are the shortlisted entries and their authors:


Children’s Literature:

For this edition, there were few entries for children’s literature compared to the other genres. This shows that there is a dearth of Children’s literature writers from Africa. Perhaps, it is worth considering. – Nahida Esmail, Tanzania

The shortlists for this genre are:

  • Onyekachi Eberechi Grace (Nigeria) for ‘Freedom Is at the Bank of the River.’ 
  • Manu Herbstein (Ghana) for ‘Roise-Awa.’ 
  • Maryam Awaisu (Nigeria) for ‘Ms Joana’s Rules.’ 
  • Jo Allen (Kenya) for ‘Who Can Stop the Rain.’ 
  • Anierobi Ginikachi Maria (Nigeria) for ‘Destined for Greatness.’ 

Short Stories:

“I believe that the best short stories have the power to change minds, to rethink attitudes, and build empathy by asking the readers to walk in other’s shoes through the breathing of life and emotion into the characters. The 2018 African Writers Awards’ shortlisted stories look beneath the veil of femininity and sexuality. They challenge gender politics and bash at the rough grip societal norms have on the African girl child. Like a thousand voices coming from every nuke, dark crack and sealed door, they give voice to every African woman who has for long been buried under the rug of society.” -Nyashadzashe Chikumbu, Zimbabwe

The shortlists are:

  • Nana Ama Gyemaah Otuahene (Ghana) for ‘The merchandise.’ 
  • Temwani Mgundu (Malawi) for ‘A Dance in the Dark.’ 
  • Odimegwu Onwumere (Nigeria) for ‘My Mother’s 4th pregnancy.’ 
  • Misak Workneh (Ethiopia) for ‘Anathema.’ 
  • Munira Hussein (Kenya) for ‘The power of the Wind.’ 
  • Philani A. Nyoni (Zimbabwe) for ‘Celestial Incest.’ 
  • Aisha M. Umar (Nigeria) for ‘Binle’s Emerald. ‘ 
  • Benson Mugo (Kenya) for ‘Dawn.’ 
  • Mazuba Mwiinga (Zambia) for ‘Till Death.’ 
  • Mema Daisy Ojukwu (Nigeria) for ‘A Woman Now.’ 

Flash Fiction: 

We received a lot of entries in this category. Below are the shortlisted 10.- Edith Knight, Kenya

They are:

  • Eliza Mabungu (South Africa/Mozambique) for ‘A Breath of Fresh Air.’ 
  • Maryhilda Ibe (Nigeria) for ‘Fragments.’ 
  • Scholar V Akinyi (Kenya) for ‘The Red Affair.’ 
  • Abah Linus Ajene (Nigeria) for ‘Favour’s Favours.’ 
  • Chibuike Ogbonnaya (Nigeria) for ‘A Tempered Destiny.’ 
  • Farrah Bhajee (Kenya) for 6 ‘Flavours of Breast.’ 
  • Edoizem Miracle (Nigeria) for ‘Me in the Mirror.’ 
  • Esther Enewerome (Nigeria) for ‘Resonance.’ 
  • Grace Ojogbane David (Nigeria) for ‘Death is An Innocent Girl.’ 
  • Jude Imereti (Nigeria) for ‘The Sad Suffering Smiling Spouse.’ 


The criteria for the selection include:

– works that followed submission guidelines of providing a bio and an accompanying picture of poet
– works graded on evocativeness such as use of imagery, use of figure of speech, “Africanness” in words used and context, concise word usage (some works were prose in verse), rhythm, etc
– some male poets were not selected due to the poet personae they used. For a topic as sensitive as gender and in particular, the girl child, the male author cannot be seen as telling the girl child story but rather amplifying it by playing a supportive role or educating other men as to their responsibilities. – Kolabomi Adeko, Nigeria

The shortlists are:

  • Petronella Nyirenda (Zambia) for ‘Beauty.’ 
  • Oscar Sogli (Ghana) for ‘Dowry of Education.’ 
  • Chiamaka Pamela Ofoma (Nigeria) for ‘Reachout.’ 
  • Kofi Acquah (Ghana) for ‘Young and Green.’ 
  • Joseph Olamide Babalola (Nigeria) for ‘Penned.’ 
  • Abeiku Arhin Tsiwah (Ghana) for ‘Sometimes Being Beautiful [a Girl] is the Only Way to Escape Fire.’ 
  • Adedokun Amar-Sobur (Nigeria) for ‘Cornrows.’ 
  • Bijou Mwaura (Mauritius) for ‘Know Your Worth Girl Child.’ 
  • Chiamaka Onu-Okpara (Nigeria) for ‘A Battle Cry to be Read Loudly and Softly.’ 
  • Jesutoni Akoni (Nigeria) for ‘Obinrin.’ 

The winners will be announced during the 2018 African Writers Dinner/Awards. This will hold at the International Conference Centre, Abuja at 5:30 PM. The winners will also receive their awards during the event.

Anthony Onugba,
Chief Judge,
2018 African Writers Award

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To find out more about the 2018 African Writers Conference, Click here.
To find out more about the 2018 African Writers Awards, Click here.

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