“An African writing prize judged by Africans”

– Akwaeke Emezi (chair 2018 Koffi Addo Nonfiction Prize)

The Center for African Cultural Excellence promotes contemporary African ideas through the arts and culture, specifically the Writivism Literary Initiative, which runs two literary prizes, coordinates an online mentoring programme, publishes annual anthologies, and curates an annual literary festival in Kampala (with outreach activities for schools, hospitals and markets), in collaboration with established writers, publishers, festivals, blogs, universities, nonprofits, philanthropists, podcasts, media outlets and other players in the African literary and arts community.

In collaboration with Black Letter Media, we publish at least one anthology of short stories and creative nonfiction every year, comprising entries longlisted for the two prizes we run for the two forms. We host a one month writing (editing) residency for winners of the two prizes, at Stellenbosch University.

In future, we intend to publish manuscripts by winners of the prizes, again in collaboration with Black Letter Media. We coordinate an online mentoring programme for longlisted writers in which they are paired with established writers to work on their stories for two months. The mentors are all committed African writers who dedicate their time to support emerging writers. We invite electronic submissions to the Writivism Short Story and Koffi Addo Creative Nonfiction Prizes between November 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018.


“It’s really wonderful to have an African organization hold a competition for African writers judged by African readers/writers. It’s something about gazes/lenses.”  

Akotowaa, 2017 Koffi Addo and 2018 Writivism Short Story prizes longlister

Writivism Literary Prizes

The Writivism Short Story and Koffi Addo Nonfiction prizes are awarded annually to emerging writers living in an African country, who have not yet published a single-authored book of creative writing.

Each winner:

  • takes home USD $500,
  • attends a fully funded one-month writing (editing) residency at Stellenbosch University (with a USD $500 stipend),
  • publishes their debut book with Black Letter Media,
  • is funded to attend the annual Writivism literary festival in Kampala,
  • publishes their winning story in the Writivism annual anthology, and
  • participates in the annual two-month online Writivism mentoring programme.    

Each shortlisted writer:

  • takes home USD $150,
  • is funded to attend the annual Writivism literary festival in Kampala,
  • publishes their shortlisted story in the Writivism annual anthology, and
  • participates in the annual two-month online Writivism mentoring programme.     

Each longlisted writer:  

  • publishes their longlisted story in the Writivism annual anthology
  • participates in the annual two-month online Writivism mentoring programme.  

The longlists of ten stories for each prize will be announced on March 1, 2019, followed by online mentoring (March 1 – April 30, 2019), shortlists of three stories for each prize announced on May 1, 2019, and the annual Writivism Literary Festival where the winners will be announced and the annual anthology unveiled, will take place between August 15 – 17, 2019

UPDATE: The judges for the prizes have been announced. The short story prize will be judged by Ugandan award-winning writer, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (chair), Ghanaian publisher and activist Kinna Likimani and Zimbabwean writer and editor, Emmanuel Sigauke, while the Koffi Addo Nonfiction Prize will be judged by Ghanaian novelist, Ayesha Harruna Attah (chair), South African poet, short story writer, memoirist and novelist Karen Jennings and Kenyan academic, Dr. Christopher Ouma.


There is no entry fee to the prizes. There are no themes for the prizes. 

The Writivism Short Story and Koffi Addo Prizes only accept hitherto “unpublished” entries from writers living in an African country, who have not published a single-authored book by August of the prize year. This includes self-publishing, even if only on one’s blog or social media micro-site, and all forms of creative work.

The age and citizenship of the emerging writer does not matter, we consider the nationality of the writer and residence in an African country during the prize year. In the instance that one’s story is shortlisted, or that they win a prize, we are only able to fund travel from an African country, to Kampala for the festival, and to Stellenbosch for the residency.

At the moment, we consider only works in the English language, and only accept translated work (into English) where the author and translator are the same person. In other words, submit a translated entry only when it is your own original composition in its first language, and you translated yourself, to English.

Current staff, volunteers, and partners of the Writivism Literary Initiative are not eligible for the prizes.

The Entry Manuscript

  • The story should be at least 2500 words, and maximum 3500 words.
  • The author’s name should not appear anywhere on the manuscript.
  • The manuscript should include a title page and word length of the entry, without the author’s personal details like name, address, email address, and country of origin.
  • Every writer can submit only one entry for each prize. A double submission to both the short story and nonfiction prizes is encouraged, but strictly only one entry for each.
  • All submissions must be made using this form. All information that we need will be asked for on the form.
  • The manuscript must be in Microsoft Word or Rich Text format (NO PDFs), typed in Times New Roman font, size 12 point, double-spaced.

There is no entry fee to the prizes. There are no themes for the prizes. 

Residency and Publication of debut manuscript

  • Submission to the prizes is built on the assumption that the entrant is working on a manuscript that we anticipate will be further developed during the one-month residency at Stellenbosch University, and published by Black Letter Media should they win.
  • We therefore expect, and require winners to have a complete draft of a manuscript within one month of winning the prize, so that arrangements for the writing (editing) residency can commence soon.
  • We are flexible and allow for a period of maximum two and five years after winning the prize to take up the residency and publishing opportunity respectively.
  • We require that the publishing rights for the debut manuscript of a winner of our prizes are by the fact of submission, offered to our publishing partner.
  • Where the publishing partner deems that a manuscript does not require substantial development, a winner’s work can be published without attending the residency.   

Other Conditions and Terms of Submission

  • We discourage simultaneous submissions. Between November 1, 2018 when the prizes open and March 1, 2019 (a period of five months), when the longlist will be announced, we request that entrants do not submit the stories elsewhere.
  • While we generally grant permissions for republication of stories published in our annual anthologies, within the first ten years of their longlisting for our prizes, we, as a condition require that the writer informs us of republication opportunities for the story, before entering a contract for the same. The same applies for translation rights.
  • Every writer whose story is longlisted is required to undergo a two-month mentoring programme with an established writer. They will also be required to further work on their stories with our editorial team.      
  • We expect to publish the annual prizes’ anthology within three years of the prize being awarded.

Ready to submit? Click here to access the submission form.

For more information about the prizes, consult our blog, www.writivism.org, about the annual festival, consult www.writivism.com, and about the Writivism network of African writers and literary activists, visit www.writivism.net. You can also email our managing editor at esther@writivism.com, the editor at sheila@writivism.com, and the front desk at writivismlegacy@gmail.com.

Previous Winners

2018: Short Story (Hopes and Dreams by Mbogo Ireri – Kenya)

2018: Koffi Addo Nonfiction (Belonging by Chisanga Mukuka – Zambia / South Africa)

2017: Short Story (Stolen Pieces by Munachim Amah – Nigeria)

2017: Koffi Addo Nonfiction (Meat Bomb by Charles King – South Africa)

2016: Short Story (Sundown by Innocent Acan – Uganda)

2016: Koffi Addo Nonfiction (Lost futures or A guide to losing love by YKO Tetteh – Ghana)

2015: Short Story (Caterer, Caterer by Pemi Aguda – Nigeria)

2014: Short Story (Out of the Blue by Saaleha Idrees Bamjee – South Africa)

2013: Short Story (Picture Frames by Anthea Paelo – Uganda / South Africa)

Annual Writivism Prizes anthologies

2017: And Morning Will Come and other stories (edited by Efemia Chela and Esther Mirembe) – Launching Soon. 

2016: Sundown and other stories (edited by Emmanuel Sigauke)

2015: Roses for Betty and other stories (edited by Emmanuel Sigauke and Sumayya Lee)

2014: Fire in the Night and other stories (edited by Sumayya Lee)

2013: Picture Frames and other stories (edited by Bwesigye Bwa Mwesigire)

Submit to the Writivism Short Story and Koffi Addo Nonfiction prizes.