The inaugural edition of the Kalemba Short Story Prize is open for submissions. Organised by Ukusefya WORDS, it is a yearly prize awarded to outstanding unpublished fiction written by Zambian nationals, living either within or outside the country. The winner, whose identity will be revealed at a ceremony in Lusaka on March 1, 2018, gets a cash prize of US$1,000.
Submission Deadline is December 15, 2017.
Here are key details:                              
  • Entries must be between 2,000 – 5,000 words.
  • Entries should be submitted in a PDF or Word document, preferably PDF under title of the story.
  • The author’s details should be included on the entry form.
  • The author’s details must not be given anywhere on the uploaded document. All entries are judged anonymously.
  • All entries should be submitted in Arial 11 point font and 1.5 line spacing.
  • The submission should be fiction.
  • There are no restrictions on setting, genre or theme.
  • Entrants agree as a condition of entry that Ukusefya WORDS may publicise a story that has been entered or shortlisted for the Prize.
  • Ukusefya WORDS will have the unrestricted right to publish the winning story.
  • Copyright of each story remains with the writer.
For further inquiries, you can contact info@ukusefya.
Find out more on eligibility HERE.
Download the entry form HERE.


Zambia’s best-known writer at the moment is one of the finest short story writers on the continent as well as one of its leading prose stylists: Namwali Serpell, whose “The Sack” won the 2015 Caine Prize and whose “Triptych: Texas Pool Party” was the subject of a feature by us early this year and was shortlisted for the inaugural Brittle Paper Award for Fiction.
James Murua’s Literature Blog has some context to the Zambian literary scene.
While Serpell is the flavour of the moment, she’s not the only Zambian writer out there of course. There is Ellen Banda-Aaku with novels like Patchwork (2011) and Madam 1st Lady (2016) to her name as well as numerous books for children as well as short stories featuring in publications galore. Also there is Binwell Sinyangwe has the Quills of Desire (1996) and A Cowrie of Hope (2000) and the “original Zambian writer” Wilbur Smith who has written well, all the novels.
The good people at the Ukusefya Words recognised that maybe an intervention was due and they know this as they are the publishers of the best-selling book Insoselo na Mapinda: Ancient Bemba Wisdom.
Do submit.

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