By Ellen Banda- Aaku (on behalf of the Judging panel 2014 Writivism Short Story prize).
It was a pleasure to read all the stories on the long list. The themes of the stories were varied however many reflected in different ways the realities of life in our societies. Spousal abuse; the apathy of civil servants; the torment of living to a very old age; were some of the themes tackled in the stories. Some authors were stark in their presentation of these issues whilst others were more subtle. All in all the writers showed some creativity and originality in their choice of themes or in the way they addressed them.
There was also a significant disparity in the standard of writing with some regions submitting stronger stories overall than other regions. This meant that it was a challenge for the judges to decide on one winner from the regions where the submissions were of a high standard.
In a competition like this which is geared towards new unpublished writers, a disparity in the standard of writing between the entries is expected. It is however encouraging to note, from the number of entries submitted to the prize, that there are so many aspiring writers on the continent. In writing competitions every entrant is a winner for having added a story to their writing portfolio. So to the writers who have not made it on this occasion bear in mind that stories can be reworked and submitted for publishing or entered into a competition on another day. The secret is to keep up the passion for writing and to persevere.
To the stories that made the short list, congratulations are in order.
And the shortlisted stories are:
Click on the stories above to read them, and remember after reading all of them, to vote your favorite by commenting beneath it. The most voted story will win the Third Place Writivism Short Story Prize announced on the 21 June 2014 at The Writivism Festival in Kampala.