Scholastica Moraa wins 2022 Kendeka Prize for African Literature

The winner of the 2022 Kendeka Prize for African Literature announced September 24 is Scholastica Moraa (Kenya) for her short story titled “Chained”. According to a statement, in the same ceremony Adaoro Raji (Nigeria) was announced the first runner-up for her story Star Boy”, while Beverley Ann Abrahams, from Zimbabwe was the second Runner-up for her short story Isithunzi.

The winning stories were chosen after a rigorous process by a panel of three Judges chaired by Dr. Siphiwo Mahala, from South Africa. Also in the panel were Bisi Adjapon from Ghana and Faith Oneya from Kenya. In their statement, the judges had the following to say,Each and every writer who put their ideas on paper and submitted their story for consideration in this prize adds a unique voice to the African literary tradition. The wide range of themes, narrative styles and imagery tells of a continent undergoing a literary revolution. Scholars might not have coined a suitable name for it as yet, but these new voices are redefining the African literary tradition in their own terms.”

The winners were announced during the award ceremony held in the TAS TV studios in Thika. The overall winner will receive Kshs 100,000, while the second and the third prizes are Kshs 50,000 and 25,000, respectively. 

Moraa is a Kenyan author and poet. She is a graduate from Jaramogi University with a Bsc in actuarial science. She is the author of a collection of poems titled Beautiful Mess. One of her short stories “6 days to twenty” was longlisted in the Kendeka Prize for African Literature 2021. When she is not writing, she is deeply immersed in a novel or two. She loves travelling, making new friends, learning new languages and overthinking.

Raji works as a scriptwriter and content producer for Playroom Media, and earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Benin, Nigeria. Her fiction has appeared in Arlington Literary Journal, Midnight and Indigo Literary Journal, the Coachella Review, the Bookends Review and was on the Anthology list of the 2021 Toyin Falola Afrofuturism Prize.

Abrahams is a Zimbabwean teacher of English and Art & Design, a writer and activist against gender-based violence.  She has been published in two anthologies of international poets: “Ps:its poetry” (2020) and “Ps: its still poetry” (2021) She was published in a regional poetry anthology of Sadc female human rights defenders in 2021: “Mwala: The Rock

She was shortlisted for the Intwasa 2021 short-story competition, and is published in their second anthology of Zimbabwean short stories. Beverley is a single mother to four amazing children.

Dr Mahala is an academic, short story writer, novelist and playwright. He is a graduate of the University of Fort Hare, holds a Master’s degree in African Literature from Wits University, and a PhD. in English Literature from the University of South Africa. His debut novel, When a Man Cries, was published in 2007. He is the author of two critically acclaimed plays, The House of Truth (2016) and Bloke and His American Bantu (2021), two short story collections, African Delights (2011) and Red Apple Dreams and Other Stories (2019), and a biography, Can Themba: The Making and Breaking of the Intellectual Tsotsi (2022). He is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. 

Adjapon is the author of The Teller of Secrets, a Washington Post/Essence/Globe and Mail top 20 novel published in November 2021 by HarperCollins. The short story version, Of Women and Frogs, was nominated for the Caine Prize. Her second novel, Daughter in Exile, is forthcoming from HarperCollins March 2023. She has written for and been featured  in many publications including McSweeney’s Quarterly, Washington Post, Ms Magazine, Aljazeera, New York Times and Washington Times. She founded and ran the Young Shakespeare company for four years in America, and, as an International Affairs Specialist for the US Foreign Service, she won the Civil Rights Award for Human Relations. As an educator, she won an Excellence in Teaching award and is a member of The Who is Who of the best teachers in America. She divides her time between Ghana and America.

Oneya is a media practitioner, opinion columnist and creative writer. Her articles have appeared in several publications, including the Standard, African Woman Magazine, Daily Nation and the EastAfrican. Her short stories have been featured in several anthologies, the latest being Nairobi Noir (2020). Her children’s book, The Girl with a Big Heart (2018), was approved for use as a class reader by the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development.

 Faith holds a Master of Arts degree in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Kenya and a Master of Arts in Communication Studies from the University of Nairobi, Kenya. She also holds a Bachelor of Education (English and Literature) degree from the University of Nairobi, Kenya. She is a member of the Kenya Editors’ Guild and the Association of Media Women in Kenya. She’s also an editorial board member of Jahazi Arts Journal. 

Kendeka Prize for African Literature is an initiative by Andrew Maina, a Kenyan writer whose aim is to encourage Africans to write, and read more. The winner of the 2021 Prize was Jenny Robson, from Botswana for her story, Water For Wine. Fatima Okhousami from Nigeria was the first runner-up for her story, The Women of Atinga House, while Okpanachi Irene Ojochegbe, from Nigeria was the second runner-up for her short story, Au Pair.

The Prize is run by an Advisory Board chaired by James Murua. Other members are Dr. Tom Odhiambo, Muthoni wa Gichuru, Mercy Kiragu, Patrick Gatobu, William Mureithi, Lucas Wafula and Andrew Maina. 


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