Four writers have made the 2020 shortlist for the K & L prize. They are:

Audrey Obuobisa-Darko (Ghana), for her story,
Araba

Kanyinsola Olorunnisola (Nigeria), for his story,
Abija, the Architect of Mayhem

Izuchukwu Udokwu (Nigeria), for his story,
The New Colours

Yvonne Nezianya (Nigeria), for her story,
The Wonders of Spirits

The prize was founded by New Zealand-Nigerian writer, Myles Ojabo, and it is awarded to the best piece of unpublished fiction by an African. The 2020 prize was based on the theme of ‘Africanfuturism’.

The judges would certainly have preferred to enjoy the stories and not judge them. It was not an easy task. One of the judges, Arthur Chigbo Anyaduba, an academic with the University of Winnipeg in Canada, states that ‘…judging isn’t a fair business at all. As a judge, I have played a harsh God over the imaginative works of poor folks whose only crime have been in sharing their stories’. He describes the stories as a piece of imaginative wonder: remarkable depth of imagination, mellifluous narrative. ‘The stories stay with you long after you move on with your life. The stories pushed the limits of the imagination and expanded the horizon for speculating the past, the present and most especially the future’.

The other judge, Dione Joseph, the founder of Black Creatives New Zealand, points out that the stories demonstrate an exercise in developing one’s own voice, shifting from description to dialogue and reaching into our ancestral knowledge to look into the future. ‘I commend all the writers who shared their story on this year’s theme of Africanfuturism and can only encourage them to continue developing their craft’.

The longlist of ten that featured writers from Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon was released last month. Their stories have been published in the new K & L anthology, Black Skin, No Mask. The winner of the 2020 K & L prize will be announced in July.

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